Does Anyone Know a Song about Leroy and a Papaya Tree?

Angelica wrote:

We use to sing a song in school (1940s) with lyrics that went like this….”Leroy Leroy my boy be careful what you do, the tall papaya tree is much too high for you….so bring your basket down before you get a fall…”

Have you heard of it?

I sure would like it on CD.


If anyone can help with the lyrics or origins of this song, or if you know where to buy it on a cd, please let us know in the comments below.


Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Thursday, July 24th, 2008 at 1:11 pm and is filed under Australia, Bahamas, Children's Songs, Countries & Cultures, English, Jamaica, Languages, Questions, Readers Questions, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, USA, West Indies. 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.

24 Responses to “Does Anyone Know a Song about Leroy and a Papaya Tree?”

  1. huub de Vriend Says:

    It’s the song ‘leron leron’ from the filipines as published at mama Lisa’s website.
    I’ll send a midi file and a score of it.
    Huub de Vriend

  2. TomE2 Says:

    I learned that song about Leron and a papaya tree about 1956 at Pearl Harbor Kai elementary school in Hawaii. This is by memory. I might have reversed “trunk” and “branches.” I learned the Filipino words too but I would make a mess of that by now. We had a large papaya tree in our yard but it was plenty strong enough for me to climb.

    Leron Leron my boy,
    Be careful what you do.
    The tall papaya tree,
    is much too high for you.
    The trunk is far too thin.
    The branches are too small.
    So bring your basket down,
    before you get a fall.

  3. Robert McCormack Says:

    I recall singing that song in the fourth grade at Cherry Tree Grade School in WV in 1949 – 1950. The two room school included grades 1 & 2 in one room and grades 3 & 4 in the other room. That particular year the school we fed into was overcrowded so the fifth grade joined grades 3 & 4 at our school. The “Tall Papaya Tree” was a part of the 5th grade song book and I was delighted to be exposed to that beautiful little melody. Going from “Ten Little Tadpoles Swimming in a Pool” was quite an exciting advancement for me. It sill haunts me to this day.
    Robert McCormack

  4. Bruce Strand Says:

    I learned that song in the fifth grade, in 1950-1951 in Lubbock, Texas. Because the song was so short, we always sang it twice in succession. The music teacher accompanied us on a pump organ. The songbook had an illustration of a boy in midair falling from the tree. TomE2, above, got the words exactly as I remember them.

  5. James Phillips Says:

    We sang that song around 1956 in elementary chorus at Alexandria Elementary School, Alexandria, Alabama.
    Leroy, Leron my boy,
    Be careful what you do.
    The tall papaya tree,
    Is far too high for you.
    Thr trunk is much to thin,
    The branches are to small,
    So bring your basket down,
    Before you get a fall.

  6. Carol Achtman Says:

    I learned this song in 1950 at South Side Elementary School in Ft. Lauderdale. You can find it in the book “New Music Horizons” grade 5 copyright 1946 by Silver Burdett Company. I got my 2 copies of this book by searching

    I also especially like another song from this collection, “A Thwarted Romance”

    When night was glamorous
    A fellow amorous
    Went out to woo
    A pretty little maid etc.

    This song was recorded a few years ago by Peter Berryman

  7. Jake Baker Says:

    Oh tall papaya tree
    You are so straight and high
    Will you not take from me
    A message to the sky?
    Pray tell the golden sun
    I thank him for his light
    And when his work is done
    I’d like to say Good-night.

    Oh tall papaya tree
    You are so strong and proud
    This message take from me
    To any wandering cloud

    We sang this song in my elementary school in Rochelle, Illinois about 1962-1964.

  8. Modesta Marceleno DeLeon Says:

    We used to sing this song when I was in 3rd grade at Benito Juarez Elementary in West Dallas. Our teacher was Mrs Bobbitt. I have never forgotten it as she was one of my favorite teachers. Circa 1948-1949.
    Leron, Leron my boy
    Be careful what you do
    The tall papaya tree is much too tall for you
    The trunk is much too thin
    The branches are too small
    So bring your basket down
    Before you get a fall.

  9. Dawn Says:

    I heard my mother singing this song to my grandson. Sure brought back memories. Now I song it to him myself. Great diaper changing be still baby song. (His name is Lihau).
    Lihau Lihau my boy
    Be careful what you do
    The tall papaya tee
    Is much too high for you
    Its trunk is much thin
    Its branches much too small
    So bring your basket down
    Before you take a fall.

  10. Linda Says:

    I remember singing this song in elementary school in Cleveland, Ohio in 1961 or so. Oddly, I was singing it the other day for an older lady who is from the Philippines and she was absolutely thrilled. Googling Leron, Leron led me here. I’m in good company.

  11. Clara Riley Says:

    In the third grade at Fullerton Elementary School in Houston, Texas after lunch in the school cafeteria and recess (play outside time), we had “music class” (which helped us relax so we could prepare to focus on the afternoon classes of subjects like geography, history, and science. Our Teacher permitted us to “request to sing the songs we liked best.” My absolute “all time favorite” was “LeRon” because, for some reason unbeknown to me at that time, the words resonated with me and somehow the message in the song expressed a mothers love and concern for her son as she cautioned him to be careful whilst he engaged in risky activities (climbing that tree with his basket in hand to retrieve those delicious papayas). I grew up to be a very doting and somewhat overprotective mom of two boys. Recently, that song came into my mind and I remember the “feelings I felt when singing that song back in the third grade … feeling the intent of the mother for her son’s safety.” Thinking about how the feelings felt then and the type of mother I became is interesting. I’ve had thoughts like “why did I have such strong emotional feelings about the message in the song.” Is it true that some of our characteristics and behaviors are “pre-programed” … to begin sprouting in childhood (then to blossom in adulthood) and why did I experience those feelings with that song and then grow up to experience the same feelings of doting and protectiveness for my own two beloved sons.
    By the way, when I resided in the Rio Grande Valley area of South Texas (bordering Mexico) I took “two papaya seeds” and planted them all the while thinking “these will never sprout, grow, develop, or produce papayas” … man … was I ever wrong. From those two seeds, two young trees sprouted and grew and grew and grew and grew. By the second year from planting, I had two very tall trees producing huge and delicious papayas.

  12. Grace Says:

    I remember this song in music class during 2nd or 3rd grade at Clark Air Force Base in early 80’s.

    Leon Leon my boy
    Be careful what you do
    The top papaya tree
    It’s much to high for you
    The branch is much to thin
    The trunk is much to small
    So bring your basket down
    Before you have a fall.

    For some reason this song never left me. I’m now 46 years old.

  13. Fran Says:

    I remember this song being sung in music class at Mt Pleasant Elementary School in Cleveland Ohio. It was a favorite of mine in (1948-49). I get very melancholy thinking back to it.

  14. Joe Says:

    I learned “ Leron , Leron, My Boy” in the fifties at Gracemount School in Cleveland, Ohio.

    Recently I sang it to an AT and T tech lady who I sensed was Filipino . She was past astounded.

  15. michael katz Says:

    We sang this in 5th grade at Hazeldell School in Cleveland in 1950. It has stayed with me and I managed not to break any bones until I was 78.

  16. Kenneth Hines Says:

    I went to several elementary schools in Ashland, Kentucky and Orange County, California. We sang this song at one or more of them. I remembered it well enough to find this site using some of the words. I am nearly 75 years old, so it made an impression!

  17. Carol Woodall Norman Says:

    I was looking for a link to this song – haven’t seen it since we sang it at Lisbon Elementary School in Dallas, TX, 1950’s. I think the name we used was “Leon”, not LeRon. I have been singing it lately, but wasn’t sure of the words; the comments have brought it all back!

    Another song I would like to have starts with something like: “Swaying beneath the mangos, dancers are weaving tangos”… I can’t remember any more words but the tune is in my head!

  18. Lisa Says:

    Hi Carol,

    I found this song below that’s called “In the Plaza”. It says it was originally a Mexican folk song and the English version was by Christine Turner Curtis. It’s from a concert bill entitled, “The 50th Annual May Festival Golden Jubilee (1894-1943).” PDF here. I hope this helps! -Lisa

    Swaying beneath the mangoes,
    Dancers are weaving tangos;
    Softly the lutes are sighing,
    And overhead with shining stars the sky is sown.
    Red heels are tapping, black eyes are snapping;
    On dresses silky fall petals milky.
    Swiftly the hours are flying;
    Too soon the balmy night of summer will
    be flown.

    Crimson, in gardens hilly,
    Blossoms the tiger lily.
    Pigeons will soon be winging;
    The little goats will soon be skipping
    in the dawn.
    The palm trees shiver, the banjos quiver.
    Gardenias creamy lend odors dreamy.
    Sadly the flute is singing;
    Too soon the lovely night of summer will
    be gone.

  19. Christopher Says:

    Here’s a field recording from library of congress, made at Visalia FSA camp, 6th August 1940. Tall Papaya Tree sung by Maggie Jean Allen (aged 10), miss Johnnie V. Allen (aged 14), and J.D. Allen on guitar.

  20. Georgia Says:

    I learned the song in 4th or 5th grade in the Philippines in the early 60s. I believe it is a Filipino song.

  21. Robert Says:

    I never learned the song about Leron, Leon, or whoever. I came to this site to find out if anyone remembered the lyrics to the song about the tall papaya tree as quoted by Jake Baker above. We sang it back in Ridgetop Elementary School in Austin Texas back in the mid 50s. It was a sweet relaxing tune for wiggly students. According to the Old Testament, trees can speak to each other, so maybe the trees can speak to clouds and clouds to the sun. Thank you, trees, clouds, and sun!

  22. jerry sam Says:

    Lisa, thank you! I recall “In The Plaza” a 6th grade graduation song. So beautiful and no one else I know remembers it. Jerry

  23. Sarahkate Says:

    jerrysam YES I recall “In the Plaza” along with many other Mexican (origins in Spain?) folk songs from grade school in Seattle in the mid 1950’s. There was a wonderful book just full of American and Mexican folk songs and in my fourth and fifth grade classes we loved those so very much we even sang them at recess. And MAMALISA I love love love your website! Thanks to all who are gathering the memories of childhood songs and singing and rhyming. Isn’t much of that these days in public schools. I am childless so I sing the ones I remember to my horses, my little dog, and my three mama chickens!

  24. Lisa Says:

    Thanks so much Sarahkate! <3

    -Mama Lisa

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