Tree on the Hill is an old nursery rhyme of the type that’s called an Accumulative or Cumulative Rhyme. In cumulative rhymes a phrase is introduced in one verse and then repeated in subsequent verses, along with the newer phrases introduced in those verses. Each verse grows longer and longer. By the end it can be a real memory challenge to sing the whole thing.
Children love cumulative rhymes and songs! They have a lot of repetition, yet they build up a story, like The House that Jack Built. Kids love the repetition and the anticipation of the ending.
The best known cumulative rhyme in English is probably There Was An Old Woman Who Swallowed A Fly.
Tree on the Hill is a lesser-known one that you can recite with or to your children…
TREE ON THE HILL
On yonder hill there stands a tree;
Tree on the hill, and the hill stood still.
And on the tree there was a branch;
Branch on the tree, tree on the hill, and the hill stood still.
And on the branch there was a nest;
Nest on the branch, branch on the tree, tree on the hill, and the hill stood still.
And in the nest there was an egg;
Egg in the nest, nest on the branch, branch on the tree, tree on the hill, and the hill stood still.
And in the egg there was a bird;
Bird in the egg, egg in the nest, nest on the branch, branch on the tree, tree on the hill, and the hill stood still.
And on the bird there was a feather;
Feather on the bird, bird in the egg, egg in the nest,
nest on the branch, branch on the tree, tree on the hill,
and the hill stood still.
I read this rhyme in front of the computer screen with my daughter who’s in 1st Grade. It was perfect for her to read. There were a couple of words she needed help with, but the repetition was good for her reading skills.
Now I’ll be on the lookout for more accumulative rhymes to read with her. They’re fun and they’re good for her reading!
This article was posted on Sunday, January 27th, 2008 at 9:52 pm and is filed under Accumulative Rhymes, Australia, Countries & Cultures, England, English, English Nursery Rhymes, Languages, Nursery Rhymes, Tree on the Hill, Tree on the Hill, United Kingdom, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
One Response to “Accumulative Rhyme – Tree on the Hill”
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July 7th, 2017 at 4:33 am
There’s another version that begins with There was a tree stood in the ground,
The prettiest tree you ever did see; The tree in the wood and the wood in the ground, And the green grass grew all around (repeat).
There are 4 more verses: limb, bough, now on this bough there was a nest, and And in the nest there were some eggs.
It’s from The Real Mother Goose Book of American Rhymes published by Scholastic in 1993. The summary is more accurate: “A collection of well-known nursery rhymes with an American flavor.” Most are from British Isles.