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Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)

DigiTrad:
BARGES
CANOE PADDLE
EACH CAMPFIRE LIGHTS ANEW
GIRL SCOUTS TOGETHER
HERE WE ARE
I CAN SAIL
I LOVE THE DAFFODILS
MAKE NEW FRIENDS
OUR CHALET
PEACE I ASK OF THEE OH RIVER
RISE AND SHINE
TALL TIMBERS
WE ARE CALLED THE GIRL SCOUTS
WEAVE
WHEN E'RE YOU MAKE A PROMISE
WHO CAN SAIL


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Req:girl scout song-trees along black river/water (5)
Lyr Req: Ramblin' Man (Iowa Girl Scout song?) (2)
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Anybody remember 'Spider's Web' ? (10) (closed)
Lyr Add: Origins??? Scout Song Runboy (1)
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Help: Barges (2) (closed)
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(origins) Origin: Barges (9) (closed)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Barges


Theresa 01 Dec 98 - 12:02 AM
Joe Offer 04 Dec 98 - 04:20 AM
Debbie Vespo 17 Nov 99 - 05:07 PM
Marion 18 Nov 99 - 11:26 AM
Joe Offer 07 Nov 02 - 02:56 PM
sed 07 Nov 02 - 03:16 PM
Joe Offer 23 Jan 03 - 07:55 PM
GUEST 24 Aug 03 - 08:19 PM
GUEST 25 Aug 03 - 03:22 AM
running.hare 25 Aug 03 - 05:55 PM
bet 25 Aug 03 - 09:50 PM
LadyJean 26 Aug 03 - 12:36 AM
GUEST,Brynna 20 Oct 03 - 07:51 PM
LadyJean 21 Oct 03 - 01:09 AM
GUEST,Kendra 23 Oct 03 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,Kendra 23 Oct 03 - 02:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Oct 03 - 02:55 PM
GUEST 07 Nov 03 - 09:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Nov 03 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,Heidi 23 Jan 04 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Pearl GSBLC PA 26 Feb 04 - 10:05 AM
Jen M 26 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Emily (An ex-girl scout) 20 Mar 04 - 11:55 PM
GUEST,English GG 11 Apr 04 - 12:31 AM
GUEST,Kim 26 Jun 04 - 11:11 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jul 04 - 05:29 PM
Jen M 15 Jul 04 - 11:00 PM
Joe Offer 16 Jul 04 - 12:55 PM
Jen M 16 Jul 04 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Carol Lee 09 Aug 04 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,Jillian 06 Oct 04 - 10:38 AM
Joe Offer 06 Oct 04 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,why? 07 Oct 04 - 09:54 AM
Joe Offer 08 Oct 04 - 03:41 AM
GUEST,Jo Frey 16 Oct 04 - 01:18 AM
GUEST, Jo Frey 16 Oct 04 - 01:29 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Oct 04 - 02:47 PM
masato sakurai 16 Oct 04 - 09:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Oct 04 - 11:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Oct 04 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,GUEST Fozzie 31 Mar 05 - 08:38 PM
GUEST,Gwen 20 Jul 05 - 10:41 PM
GUEST,Mary May 22 Jul 05 - 11:53 PM
GUEST,Necole Hurley 24 Dec 05 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,An ex-girl scout 13 Mar 06 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,happy camper 14 Mar 06 - 12:48 AM
Anne Lister 14 Mar 06 - 06:45 PM
GUEST 20 Apr 06 - 04:56 PM
Joe Offer 21 Apr 06 - 01:30 AM
GUEST,Guest 21 Apr 06 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Katryna 14 May 06 - 04:10 PM
GUEST,Joanne Smith 13 Jul 06 - 05:51 PM
Joe Offer 13 Jul 06 - 07:36 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 14 Jul 06 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,Toni Trujillo (New Mexico) 10 Aug 06 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,"Nana" (my camp name) Washington State 30 Aug 06 - 01:02 AM
GUEST,....... 10 Nov 06 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,child of the 60's 11 Jan 07 - 03:35 AM
GUEST,Haley 29 Jan 07 - 11:01 PM
Joe Offer 30 Jan 07 - 01:15 AM
GUEST,Seiri Omaar 30 Jan 07 - 11:27 PM
GUEST 02 Feb 07 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,occasionalpiece 11 Apr 07 - 01:20 AM
Joe Offer 11 Apr 07 - 02:32 AM
GUEST,Teh Pippin 09 Jun 07 - 05:11 PM
Joe Offer 09 Jun 07 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,Alexandra 27 Jun 07 - 06:23 PM
GUEST,Sarah 10 Jul 07 - 06:32 PM
GUEST,Hannah 12 Jul 07 - 03:14 PM
Linda Mattson 16 Jul 07 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,Glen Arden Girl 21 Jul 07 - 02:03 AM
GUEST,Guest: Timbertall Girl 08 Aug 07 - 11:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Aug 07 - 12:43 AM
Joe Offer 09 Aug 07 - 02:29 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Aug 07 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,the princess jack 17 Aug 07 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,miribelle 30 Aug 07 - 09:49 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 07 - 06:44 PM
GUEST,celeste ellerby 13 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Oct 07 - 03:09 PM
Melissa 14 Oct 07 - 12:45 AM
GUEST,Kerry 20 Oct 07 - 05:44 PM
Joe Offer 21 Oct 07 - 12:10 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Oct 07 - 12:48 AM
Melissa 21 Oct 07 - 04:31 AM
Melissa 21 Oct 07 - 09:38 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Oct 07 - 09:57 PM
Joe Offer 22 Oct 07 - 01:41 AM
Melissa 22 Oct 07 - 02:08 AM
Joe Offer 22 Oct 07 - 02:48 AM
Melissa 22 Oct 07 - 04:17 AM
GUEST,AMY 03 Mar 08 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,A Girl Guide 25 May 08 - 09:02 PM
GUEST,Trisha - Daisy Ldr Troop 407 29 May 08 - 12:36 AM
GUEST,Sherry 30 Jun 08 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Hannah 09 Jul 08 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Linz 10 Aug 08 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,KTG 31 Aug 08 - 11:23 PM
GUEST 11 Oct 08 - 01:43 AM
Joe Offer 11 Oct 08 - 01:48 PM
GUEST 16 Oct 08 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,Guest; Sarah 05 Feb 09 - 03:52 PM
GUEST 14 Feb 09 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Spices (Ginger Rainwater) 28 Feb 09 - 06:15 PM
GUEST 24 Apr 09 - 02:15 AM
GUEST,Dean 24 Apr 09 - 03:16 AM
GUEST,Terri S 23 Sep 09 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,St. Louis Guest 18 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM
GUEST,Poetaster 01 Feb 10 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Saira's mom 09 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Guest maddy 19 Jul 10 - 11:03 AM
GUEST,GSGUEST 14 Aug 10 - 11:20 PM
GUEST,Kate 05 Jan 11 - 03:28 AM
GUEST,Annie 15 Jan 11 - 02:20 AM
GUEST,Jane Ann Liston 15 Jan 11 - 04:47 PM
Joe Offer 15 Jan 11 - 05:26 PM
GUEST,Jane Ann Liston 15 Jan 11 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,Heidi 29 May 11 - 09:51 AM
Joe Offer 29 May 11 - 05:16 PM
GUEST,Camp tahigwa 20 Aug 11 - 03:03 AM
GUEST,charlotte, camp sugar hollow 07 Oct 11 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,adkhkr44 21 Jan 12 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,me 25 Apr 12 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,The river rebel 28 Jul 12 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,anon 30 Dec 12 - 11:56 PM
GUEST,Dave Orleans 26 Oct 13 - 01:08 AM
GUEST,Aubree 02 Apr 14 - 05:04 PM
GUEST,Claire 03 Aug 14 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Jeff Muller 04 Nov 14 - 11:05 PM
GUEST,lyric req: That's My Land You're Walkin' On 28 Jul 15 - 09:48 PM
GUEST 21 May 17 - 03:37 AM
GUEST,bo 30 Jul 17 - 05:57 PM
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Subject: Origin of BARGES (Girl Scout Song)
From: Theresa
Date: 01 Dec 98 - 12:02 AM

Can anyone help me find the origin of "Barges"? It's been sung by American Girl Scouts and English Girl Guides for decades, and the lyrics are here in Digitrad. Several legends exist, but I'd like to find some factual information about its background. Thanks

Theresa
ThDanks@aol.com


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Subject: RE: Origin of Barges
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Dec 98 - 04:20 AM

Any Girl Guides here who can tell us the story?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of
From: Debbie Vespo
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 05:07 PM

I heard the story goes like this. There was a little girl who was confined to a wheelchair. All she could do was sit by her window and watch the barges go down the mighty Mississippi. She would imagine where these barges were going and wish she could go with them. I know there's more to the story, but that's all I remember.


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Subject: RE: Origin of BARGES
From: Marion
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 11:26 AM

I learned this song in Girl Guides too. And the rumour at the time was that it was written by a Guide on her sickbed. I can't attest for the historicity of this, of course.

More popular among us was this version, presumably written by another little girl:

Out of my tent flap, glowing in the night
You can see the leaders' cigarette light
Silently flows the whiskey from its flask
As the leaders do go for a blast

Leaders, I would like to go with you
I would like to share your whiskey too
Leaders, are there boy scouts in your bed?
Are you prepared for the night ahead?

Do we need a new thread on songs for brats?

Marion


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 02:56 PM

The tune is here (click) at Guiding UK and soon will be added to Mudcat MIDIs. As far as I can determine, the Girl Scouts of the U.S. added it to the 1973 edition of their Sing Together songbook, and had not published it before. They list it as "Source Unknown." My sister, who sometimes forgets to admit she is nearly as old as I am, sang "Barges" at Camp Singing Hills in Southeast Wisconsin in 1960, but she thinks she may have learned it at Brownie Day Camp the year before.
-Joe Offer-
The UK Girl Guide parody is a bit tamer than the one posted above.

Out of my tent flap, looking through the night,
I can see Guiders gathered round the light,
Drinking wine and colouring their hair,
And was it me, or did they swear?

Guiders, I would like to stay with you,
I would like to have some privileges too.
Guiders, have you cookies that you hold,
Do you fight with Scouters, brave and bold?

Out of my tent flap, looking through the night,
I can see the Guiders, having a fight,
Somebody throws a pillow through the air,
And there goes someone's underwear.

Guiders, I don't want to stay with you,
You would probably leave me black and blue!
Guiders keep those cookies that you hold,
While you fight with Scouters, brave and bold!


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: sed
Date: 07 Nov 02 - 03:16 PM

It is a charming song and rather contagious. I learned it back in the seventies when I was performing in lots of schools in Alabama.


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Subject: ADD Version: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jan 03 - 07:55 PM

I found these lyrics in a couple of U.S. Girl Scout songbooks. The lyrics are just slightly different from what's in the Digital Tradition. Note that the Girl Scout version does not have the second chorus that's shown in the DT, and I really like that second chorus:
Barges, I would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges, on the river you may roam
On the river, always, you're at home
You'll find a link to the tune at the top of this page.
I'm still looking for source information on this song. The Girl Scouts say "source unknown."
-Joe Offer-


BARGES
(Source Unknown)

Out of my window, looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light;
Silently flows the river to the sea
And the barges too go silently
CHORUS
Barges, I would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with pirates, brave and bold?
Out of my window, looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light;
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red
You can see them flickering far ahead.
CHORUS

Source: Sing Together: A Girl Scout Songbook, Third Edition, 1973, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
Exact same lyrics are in Chansons de Notre Chalet, Fifth Edition (1971), published by Cooperative Recreation Service, Inc., Delaware, Ohio.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 03 - 08:19 PM

I learned the song at Sarah Heinz House Camp in the 1960's (it was considered an old song then!). It is not just a "girl scout song." The story I heard was that it was written by a little boy (sick? dying? crippled?) in Paris, about the barges he could see from his window on the River Seine.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Aug 03 - 03:22 AM

The version I learnt was the same as that above but the story I was told was that it was written by a jewish girl/boy confined in one of the safe houses in Holland. The treasure was other Jews escaping from Holland and the Pirates were the Germans who all too often caught them.

I was taught it at the same time as Donna Donna another song about the persecution of the Jews but I have no idea if it is true or not.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: running.hare
Date: 25 Aug 03 - 05:55 PM

The "ledgend" I heard was of a dieing boy who was room bound but had a veiw out over the river & sea behond. but with these varius 'versions' It seems more like urban-myths than origins!

As to parrodies the local version (which I no-longer pass down the generations, being a guider myself now ;)) goes like this:

"Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the Guiders Cigerette light,
Siently flows the whiskey to the glass,
As the guiders have their fun at last,
Guiders I would like to be with you,
I would like to share your whiskey too,
Guiders have you scouters in your beds?
Are You planning for nine months ahead???"

I have aso heard it sung with the whiskey flowing to the lips, as the guiders show off bums and t....omatoes!!!

I will be adding the other versions as exta verses :D
Thanks all.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: bet
Date: 25 Aug 03 - 09:50 PM

I learned this song around 1955 I think.   When I moved to the school I am now teaching in they had a really old out-dated series of books that they were teaching out of. I was delight to find this song in the 3rd or 4th grade book (I'm getting OLD) and can't remember the series name or with grade level but I'll look in the morning and get back to you. I don't really know the origin but it was an old song when I learned it in Scouts. bet
    Hi, Bet - I checked our School Songbook Index Permathread, and didn't find "Barges." We have indexed dozens of books, but no "barges" in any of them. If you can tell us the name of the book that has the song, I'd really appreciate it. This song has been a puzzle here for a long time. I've seen it in print only in Girl Scout songbooks.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: LadyJean
Date: 26 Aug 03 - 12:36 AM

I don't remember all of it, but I do remember part of the song we sang at Camp Riamo:
    "Campers, I would like to go with you!
    I would like to torture counselors too.
    Campers, are there pitchforks in your tent?
    Do you fight with counselors old and bent?"


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Brynna
Date: 20 Oct 03 - 07:51 PM

the story I have been told by many is that it's about a girl guide that was dying. She was in her hospital bed which had a view of the river, from there she watched the barges. She started writing the song but before she finished it she passed away, therefor that is why you humm the third verse. though I dont' know if many people do that anymore.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: LadyJean
Date: 21 Oct 03 - 01:09 AM

From Camp Riamo, Farmington PA

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the flashlights' flickering light.
Noisily go the campers to the john,
and the counsellors too go yelling on.
Campers I would like to go with you,
I would like to torture counsellors too.
Campers are there pitchforks in your tent?
Do you fight with counsellors old and bent?


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Kendra
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 02:07 PM

I'm a girl guide from Canada and we learned that the song was writen by a little girl who was dying and could only see the barges from her hospital window too. Although I dont know if it was a view of the river.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Kendra
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 02:08 PM

Oh and we do still hum the third verse


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Oct 03 - 02:55 PM

Story probably fakelore. But one to add a note of sadness to the singing by the girls.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 09:35 PM

BARGES


Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light
Silently flows the river to the sea
And the barges too go silently

chorus:
Barges, I would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold?

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red
I can see the barges far ahead

chorus

How I would love to sail away with you
As you sail across the ocean blue
but I must stay beside my window drear
As I watch you sail away from here.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Nov 03 - 09:39 PM

Nice version, guest. Any information about it? Seems to me that someone should come up with an author.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Heidi
Date: 23 Jan 04 - 01:20 PM

I don't remember all of it, but one year when I went to Camp Laurel (CT) my leader, learning that Barges was my favorite song, sang me a version meant for leaders. Here's the part that I remember and I would love if someone could tell me how the rest of it goes:

Out of my tent flap,
Looking in the night,
I can see the campers getting in a fight.
(forgot....)

Campers, I would like to go to bed,
I would like to rest my weary head.
Campers, You know you must obey the rules.
Oh why couldn't you go to summer school?

I remember there was a verse about "cots are flying right" but I forget if it was the first or last verse. In hindsight, I wish I remembered it, as I could have put it to very good use when I finally became a GS camp counselor myself...


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Pearl GSBLC PA
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 10:05 AM

I was told of the sick girl in a wheelchair watching the OHIO river go by out her window. (Maybe being from Western Pa a small change)

My own girls in the troop has used this tune to write many versions of thier favorite song but they allways sing the original first (both verses memorised) We have a FLUSHIEs version for backpacking, a cookie sale version, a counselor version for camp and a horseback version. They may have made up more by now.

counselors version

Out of my tentflap looking in the night
I can see the counselors flickering light
Curlers in her hair and cold cream on her face
She can scare a turtle to a very fast pace

counselors I would like to go with you
I would like to see the Boy Scouts too
Counselors have you candy in your hold
do you fight with campers brave and bold

Latrine version

out of my tentflap looking in the night
I can see the latrines flickering light
Sides are painted brown and hands around the side
I can smell someone left the lid open wide

(Chorus)
Flushies, I would like to take you
back to my camsite yes I do
Flushies there is room in my tent
and I would't make you pay any rent.

Squating dowm low and peeing in a hole
right next to me is a toilet paper roll
It's the worse I've ever smelled and the worse I've ever been
right now I could really use a latrine. (chorus)


See what versions your girls can come up with. Enjoy a couple of ours.
YIGGS Pearl


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Jen M
Date: 26 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM

Pearl, interesting- at Camp Trefoil (Near Butler PA) I was taught the sick girl in South Africa story.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Emily (An ex-girl scout)
Date: 20 Mar 04 - 11:55 PM

I heard it was a girl, confined to her bed, in a hospital a long time ago. I believe I head that she had cancer, or another long-term disease. She used to lie in her bed at night and look out the window to the river, near the part where it emptied into the ocean. She could see the barges and hear their horns blow. She wrote the song, but died before she could finish. The story says that a girl scout finished the song, thus making it a Girl Scout tradition. But that was just at my camp, in the Bay Area in 1998. We didn't make up new, humurous versions because it was always kind of a sad, serious, and beautiful song for us. I cannot guarantee the authenticity of my version of the origin, but this is what I heard it was.
-Emily


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,English GG
Date: 11 Apr 04 - 12:31 AM

Same again, as an English Girl Guide in the late 70's we were told by our Guider about a sick girl lyng in bed watching the barges etc but we didn't hum the last verse - I'm glad as it was always very poignant and sad enough and never failed to have all those late evening, glorious outdoors, ebbing campfire, tired kid emotions overwhelm me to tears as it was!


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Kim
Date: 26 Jun 04 - 11:11 PM

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the counselors having a fight
Suddenly there's a pillow in the air
And the stuffing and feathers go everywhere

Counsellors I would like to go with you
I would like to throw a pillow or two
Counsellors have you candy in your tent
Do you fight with boy scouts brave and bent

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the counselors having a fight
Suddenly there's a suitcase in the air
And the bras and undies go everywhere

Counsellors I would like to go with you
I would like to throw a suitcase or two
Counsellors have you candy in your tent
Do you fight with boy scouts brave and bent

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the counselors having a fight
Suddenly there's a body in the air
And the blood and guts go everywhere

Counsellors I would like to go with you
I would like to throw a body or two
Counsellors have you candy in your tent
Do you fight with boy scouts brave and bent


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 05:29 PM

All this, and still no information on the origins of this song?
O Great Girl Guide Guru in the sky, enlighten us!!
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Jen M
Date: 15 Jul 04 - 11:00 PM

the Our Chalet Songbook 1974 has Barges with no credit. The Sangam Songbook 1997 credits "From "Sing Together: A Girl Scout Songbook", 1973 while "Jubilee Songbook" 1993, Girl Guides of Canada, says it is public domain. Unfortunately, I allowed someone to borrow my Sing Together and never got it back so I can't tell if that book lists an author. The "sick girl" stories have been around since the 60's that I know of. I've requested info from the GS-USA, we'll see if they can answer.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 12:55 PM

Hi, Jen - as I said above, the earliest printed version I've seen is the 1973 Sing Together, which is the third edition of the book - no attribution given there. It's not in the first edition (1949). I don't have the second edition.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Jen M
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 06:13 PM

It seems that there was a legend about this song that it was written by the Girl Scout who was very ill in a hospital that overlooked a river. She wrote the song about barges she watched for many hours.

Here;s the response from National Girl Scout Headquarters.

In response to that legend, there is a letter from Mrs. John Rivoire, Assistant to Director, National Equipment Services, from May 4, 1977 that says, "According to our records, the words and music were by an unknown camp counselor. The song is in the public domain and…appears in Sing Together on p. 96….I'm sorry we can't confirm the charming story…"



Hope this answers your question.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Carol Lee
Date: 09 Aug 04 - 11:23 PM

I now live in a house in Memphis overlooking the Mississippi River and sang "Barges" as a Girl Scout some 35 years ago. Interestingly enough, not one of my acquaintances knows of this beautiful song. As I watch the barges at night (yes, out of my window) with their starboard and port lights making the crescent bend through Memphis, I sing the song with many fond memories of innocence, wanderlust and friendship.

Do today's Girl Scouts still sing "Barges?"


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Jillian
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 10:38 AM

Hi! I'm from Canada and we sang this lovely song at our summer camp. Our version goes like this:

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light.
Silently flows the river to the sea
and the barges do go silently.

   Chorus:
   Barges I would like to go with you
   I would like to sail the ocean blue.
   Barges have you treasures in your hold
   Do you fight with pirates brave and bold.

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light.
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red
I can see the barges from my bed.

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light.
steadily bound for a far away shore
I wonder what they're searching for.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 11:30 AM

Your last verse concludes it very nicely, Jillian. The usual two verses don't seem to be quite enough.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,why?
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 09:54 AM

I was looking for the origins of the song for a project when I came across your site. Why are other people interested? Is it just because it's a lovely song? Did anyone find the answers they were looking for elsewhere?

I'm desperate to know! tee hee!
Jillian


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 03:41 AM

Hi, Jillian - it's a song that's widely known, and yet we haven't been able to find any trace of its origin. A number of us here really enjoy tracing the roots of a song. So far, we've been unsuccessful on this one.
But we're not likely to give up. It's a fascinating puzzle.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Jo Frey
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 01:18 AM

I grew up a Camp Fire Girl (changed to simply "Camp Fire" while I was growing up), and we sang "Barges" every summer at Camp Kilowan,
near Falls City, Oregon (I attended from 1978-1989, missing only the summer of 1987).

We were told that this song was written by a little girl dying of leukemia in a hospital room overlooking the Columbia River.

Every night, from her bed, she would watch the barges go down the river, and she wrote the first two verses and the chorus.

After her death, her nurse wrote the final verse for her.

This is how WE sang it, in two-part harmony:

Out of my window, looking in the night,
I can see the barges flickering light.
Silently flow the waters to the sea,
And the barges, too, go silently.

chorus:
Barges, I would like to go with you;
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold?

Out of my window, looking in the night,
I can see the barges' flickering light.
Starboard shines green, and port is glowing red---
I can see your signals far ahead.

chorus

How I would love to sail away with you---
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
But I must stay beside my window drear
As I watch you sail away from here.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST, Jo Frey
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 01:29 AM

I made a mistake when posting last (that'll teach me to cut-n-paste instead of writing them from scratch!). The third verse of my version, reputedly written by the nurse of the dying girl, actually goes as follows:

How my heart longs to sail away with you---
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
But I must stay here by my window drear
As I watch you sail away from here.

Thanks for your patience... and thanks for having this discussion in the first place! It's neat to hear all the different versions! :D


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 02:47 PM

The dying, bed-ridden or wheelchair-bound child watching barges story has been told by several generations of camp story-tellers, as posted several times above, but no facts given to lift it above folklore.

Jen M (post above), following inquiry to National Girl Scout Hq., found that it was by an "unknown camp counselor." It seems that we can't get beyond that. No date was attached. Joe Offer's sister (post above) admitted to hearing it in 1960; that and a possible 1955 seem to be the earliest dates found.
Locale of the story varies from France and The Netherlands to South Africa to the Mississippi to Washington-Oregon. Any others?


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 09:31 PM

According to Brunnings' Folk Song Index, "Barges" is in Marion A. Roberts' Chansons de Notre Chalet (Delaware, Ohio; Co-operative Recreation Service, 1968).


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 11:09 PM

"Chansons de Notre Chalet" was put out by the Girl Guides of Canada as well as Cooperative Recreation Service: 3rd printing in 1962, 5th in 1971. Could not find date of first printing.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 11:37 PM

Scouts Canada current songbook-
"Campfire Song Book," Ca$9.99. Item # 20627.
Order through www.scouts.ca/inside.asp?cmPageID=236
Catalogue


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,GUEST Fozzie
Date: 31 Mar 05 - 08:38 PM

Hey...the post by (Guest) Jo Frey caught my eye...she and I attended Camp Kilowan for a number of the same years. I am a little older than her...my first summer there was 1973, and I went every year until 1984. I recall the same lyrics, word for word, but the story I remember about the third verse was that it was supposed to have been written by her mother, not a nurse, after the girl's death.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Gwen
Date: 20 Jul 05 - 10:41 PM

I learned this haunting song at Camp Newaygo (Michigan) in the 1970s. Since my oldest daughter has learned to talk, she has requested I sing it to her every night. She is now nine (this song has staying power!) The lyrics to the version I learned are as follows:

Out of my window, looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light.
Lighting up the water from the river to the see
As the barges to go silently.

Barges, I would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, do you carry any gold
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold.

Starboard shines green and port is glowing red
As the barges do go far ahead.
Lighting up the water from the river to the sea
As the barges do go silently.

Chorus repeats

I think that when I sing this song to both of my school- (and camp-) age daughters they can feel the good spirit of Camp Newaygo channelling through the melody.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Mary May
Date: 22 Jul 05 - 11:53 PM

Hi there. I love seeing all the various histories of this wonderful song. I grew up as a Guide and am now a Guider here in Canada. The version of the story we learned growing up is very similiar but based out of London England. In the version I learned it was a British Girl Guide dying of leukemia and watching the barges on the Thames from her hospital bed. We still hum the third verse as a tribute to this unknown girl. It is a beautiful song and my two girls who are now in Guides themselves love to sing this song. I have yet to meet a Girl Guide who didn't love it!


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Necole Hurley
Date: 24 Dec 05 - 07:32 PM

I was looking for the origins to another GS song and found this thread. I know it's an old thread, but I wanted to add one piece of the legend as I'd been told at an international Wider Opportunity (now Destination) in North Carolina in 1993. All of the Scouts and Guids present knew the basic story, but the additional part that was added was that the girl's parents had four verses (I'll search for what I know as the fourth) and had separated them across the country with the hope that the four verses wouldn't be sung as one song (or in the "written" order) as their daughter never got to sing it.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,An ex-girl scout
Date: 13 Mar 06 - 08:54 PM

This was my favorite song from girl scout camp and I was just looking for it as my dad plays folk song on guitar. It was still being sung in the early 90's when I went to camp and the story was much the same. Our version, however, was a wheelchair bound girl on the St. Laurence (being from northern VT).


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,happy camper
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 12:48 AM

Here's the real story; I know because I was told it by the canoeing instructor, Paddly Whitmore, who knew everything. This was at Kamp Kwagmire. The song was composed by a one-time counsellor at that very camp, but before this counsellor could finish the last verse, he was surprised by the mad axe-murderer of Algonquin Park. The counsellor's body was never found, and on certain nights, it was said, he would come prowling around the camp looking for that last verse - or his head; there was some disagreement on that point.

Of course, I went to a boys' camp, which might explain some of the discrepancy between this true story and some of the other not-so-true accounts. Apparently girls had to be sheltered from the hard, cold facts. In those days, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Anne Lister
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 06:45 PM

I remember singing this as a UK Girl Guide, back in the 60s. I was sure I had a copy in print from then, but have just sorted through all of my songbooks and it's not there - not even in the Chansons de Notre Chalet.   I also remember the story of the dying child - I always thought of this child as being in the Netherlands, but that might just be because of canals and barges.

Wish I could come up with an origin!

Anne (Lister)


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 04:56 PM

I've sung this song at a camp many times. The story was that there was a little girl lying in her bed, watching the barges go by. She was bored and lonely a lot of the time, so she wrote this song to pass by her time. She wrote two verses, but halfway through the song she passed away from her leukemia, never got to finish the third one. I'm actually pretty sure there was no axe-murderer involved...


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 01:30 AM

No, the axe-murderer was only in the boys' version...

It's one of many songs that were written by counselors at camps I've attended (well, "Barges" was written at Girl Scout Camp Singing Hills, which my sister attended). It's really upsetting, 45 years later, to hear people say that the same songs were written by counselors at their camp. I know it's not true, since I personally knew the counselors who wrote those songs. Heck, I'm sure I wrote some of them myself - I just can't remember which ones.

-Joe Offer, who has been to camp about 40 of his 57 years-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 07:45 AM

I learnt this song as a New Zealand Girl guide in the early 1980's and now sing it often with my daughters. I too was told the story of the sick girl watching the barges on the Thames, in England and writing the song. I actually googled a seach (finding this site) as I was eager to discover its true origin....


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Katryna
Date: 14 May 06 - 04:10 PM

We sang this song at Camp Sealth in Washington. I'm not sure the exact year I heard it but must have been long before 1970 maybe even around 1965 or earlier.

I remember the girl was stuck by her window and wrote the song, after a few years of singing just the first two verses, one of the counselors said she had learned the 3rd verse and taught it to use.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Joanne Smith
Date: 13 Jul 06 - 05:51 PM

Hey,

We sung this song with my Brownies today - we heard it was written by a little girl who was about 12 and lived in Holland, she was confined to a wheelchair and couldnt get outside. It seems plausible to me as I know Holland pretty much relied on barge trade. We heard she's still alive and an adult now (but then, telling the Brownies she was dead wouldnt have been a good idea!)

But the last verse we sung had a different ending, it went:

Out of my window looking through the night
I can see the barges' flickering light
Silently flows the river to the sea
I hope one day they'll take me

Still a poignant song whatever way it's sung, I do love it


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Jul 06 - 07:36 PM

I like that ending, Joanne.

I wonder if we'll ever find the true origin of this song. Maybe it doesn't matter - the legends that have built up and the various versions of the song, are a wonderful (and recent) demonstration of the Folk Process.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 14 Jul 06 - 07:45 AM

Here's a lasat verse I learned from Steve Schuch :

One of these days and it will not be long
You will look for me and I'll be gone
Face to the wind far out upon the sea
Where the whales and dolphins sing to me


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Toni Trujillo (New Mexico)
Date: 10 Aug 06 - 05:23 PM

Hi Everyone,

In New Mexico (Just Northwest of Texas and below Colorado) we were told that a little girl wrote this song while she was in the hospital overlooking the Missippi River. She suffered from luekemia and spend many hours looking out to the river watching the barges pass by. The last verse was emphasized as we were told she knew she would soon be gone. This song has always brought tears to my eyes.

As I have read all the comments it's been great to see how the song has evolved over the years -- as a girl scout in the late 50's/early 60's then a GS Leader in the 80's and 90's with my own daughters-- This is the version we sang in and out of camp--

Verse One:
Out of my window lookin in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light.
Silently flows the river to sea,
and the barges too go silently.

Chorus:
Barges, I would like to go with you,
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with priates brave and bold?

Verse Two:
Out of my window lookin in the night,
I can see the barges' flickering light.
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red,
in the night they signal far ahead.

Chorus:
Barges, I would like to go with you,
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with priates brave and bold?

Verse Three:
Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light.
Now is the time when I will soon be gone,
And I'll sail with barges on and on.

Chorus:
Barges, I would like to go with you,
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with priates brave and bold?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,"Nana" (my camp name) Washington State
Date: 30 Aug 06 - 01:02 AM

I'm currently a Girl Scout Leader of 2 troops, Brownines & Juniors in one, and Cadettes & Seniors in the other. All my "girls" know and love this song. It brings tears to many of our eyes too.
We had also heard the story of the sick girl, in a wheelchair that watched the barges sailing up and down the river thru her window. We were not told where she was or which river. It was sad enough to know she was ill and wheelchair bound.
I remember singing it in Scouts in the early '60s & taught it to my adult daughters when they were in Scouts as I have now taught their 2 little sisters 14 & 11. We didn't sing a 3rd verse either, but I sure am enjoying picking up more verses for the more somber version. (We have several verses of the "camp" type ones that the girls like too. Funny how I also have the girls do the "original" version first like someone else mentioned. It's a "respect thing" for me.)

I'll keep checking you guys out to see if someone, somewhere comes up with the real thing. (But, I must admit, I'd be sad if it wasn't something like the sick child story.) Either way, it's a beautiful, melancholy song.
Sondra aka Nana


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,.......
Date: 10 Nov 06 - 11:02 PM

i humm the 3rd verse


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,child of the 60's
Date: 11 Jan 07 - 03:35 AM

I ran across this thread TOTALLY by accident. I won't bore you with details, but it started a few minutes ago when I saw the word "linger," which made me think of the song "Linger." We sang both Linger and Barges at Camp Washashe (Girl Scout camp) in Bartlesville, Oklahoma in the mid-60's to early 70's. I loved both of those songs (what is it about the melancholy ones that gets to me, I wonder?)

Anyway, the reason I felt moved to comment is that the version that we sang was a slight variation that I haven't seen here. Instead of "Do you fight with pirates brave and bold," we sang, "Have you fought with pirates brave and bold?" I'm sure it's just because it's the version I learned, but I like that better.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Haley
Date: 29 Jan 07 - 11:01 PM

im a girl guide in canada and um why did someone ask if we still sing this song? of course we do! ha but my favorite song is linger. i just had a camp this weekend and my enrollments on wednsday and were singing this song. all i know is a girl was writing it and she died and never finished that verse so we hum it.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 01:15 AM

Is this (click) the "Linger" they're referring to?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Seiri Omaar
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 11:27 PM

The parody I learned:
CH: Leaders, I would like to go with you
I would like to sleep in a trailer too.
Leaders, are there cookies in your home
To give to Girl Guides brave and bold.

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the leaders having a fight.
Softly flies a pillow through the air
And oops there goes some underwear.

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the leaders walking by...

Gah, I can't remember the rest but there was a reference to makeup in that last verse...


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Feb 07 - 09:53 AM

I'm glad to find this resource, which confirms my memory of at least the first two verses of the song. Since we're gathering the folklore around the song, I'll just add my own memories of singing it at local campouts, as well as at Camp Miter Peak, in West Texas, in the late 1960s:

"Barges" was often the last song we'd sing at night, beginning it as we made our way from the campfire to our tents. (Picture all the flashlights moving from the fire through the darkness to the tents -- about as close to "flowing down the river to the sea" that desert-dwelling Scouts would get!) I think the counselors and maybe oldest girls would put out the fire while the younger ones made our way to the tents. I vaguely remember humming the third verse as we stood outside the tents, then we'd sing the first two lines of the verse as a sort of "tag." Then everyone moved inside to get ready to bed down. It wasn't a melancholy song to us, but a peaceful one.

After the counselors called for "lights out" and everyone was (supposedly) all quiet, the tentful of oldest girls would begin this parody, joined by the other campers after the second line:

COUNSELORS
(a parody)

Out of my tent flap, looking in the night,
I can see the couns'lors having a fight.
Silently go the campers to their beds,
But the couns'lors do go noisily.

Couns'lors, I would like to go with you!
I would like to stay up very late too!
Couns'lors, have you candy in your tent?
Do you fight with couns'lors old and bent?

(Repeat verse and chorus)

Out of my tent flap, looking in the night,
I can see the couns'lors having a fight.


After a good laugh, the counselors would bid us good night and do whatever it is that counselors do while campers sleep peacefully -- preparing for the next day's activities, most likely.

I really don't remember hearing a story attached to the song, but we certainly used our imaginations, picturing ourselves living by a river and seeing the barges flowing past with green and red lights. (I'll try to remember the "true" origins from Joe Offer and pass them along!)


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,occasionalpiece
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 01:20 AM

I'm trying to teach this to my newest group of campers, but would love to have the melody written down. Anyone have sheet music, or know where to find it on the web?


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 02:32 AM

Hello, Occasionalpiece - we have the tune at Mudcat MIDIs, http://www.mudcat.org/midi/midifiles/barges.mid. If you have the right software, you can make sheet music from a MIDI file. If not, you can find it in most any Girl Scout songbook. If you still have trouble, e-mail me.
-Joe Offer-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Teh Pippin
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 05:11 PM

I've sung this song for Years at Scout Camp in Illinois.

The version I heard was that this song was written by a very ill little girl as she lay in the hospital. When she died, the lyrics were discovered.

The hospital staff, however, was baffled, as the only window in the girls room faced nothing but a brick wall...

Beautiful.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 05:55 PM

OK, so what we have so far is this:

  • from Masato: According to Brunnings' Folk Song Index, "Barges" is in Marion A. Roberts' Chansons de Notre Chalet (Delaware, Ohio; Co-operative Recreation Service, 1968). [but we don't have anybody who has actually seen a 1968 copy of Chansons. It's in my 1971 edition - with no background information whatsoever.]
  • Barges is on Page 96 of my 1973 Third Edition of Sing Together, so that's the earliest printed version we've actually seen. I've posted the verses from Sing Together above.
  • The most persistent story about the origin of the song is that it was written by a dying Girl Scout/Guide who spent a lot of time looking out her window...

The bottom line is this: We still haven't found where this song came from, and it has been almost nine years since this thread began.

Bah! Humbug! Foiled again!!!!

-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Alexandra
Date: 27 Jun 07 - 06:23 PM

I go to a camp with children with all forms of Juvinile Arthritis (I have Dermatomyositis) and we sang it on the last night. We could all relate to it. What they told us was that it was written by an extremely sick little girl that could not go out or be a child. She wrote that song one night as she was looking out her window at all the barges. When she died her family passed it on through different charities and eventually the Girl Scouts. I have heared many other "histories" of it but I believe this one to be true, because the camp director, had a name for the little girl who wrote it, if I remember corectly. Next year I will be sure to write it down! Here is a link: http://www.nightheron.com/trees_activityguidebarges.html (By the way, I am refering to the version with the barges, not the counselor/scout/leaders etc)


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 06:32 PM

I used to loooooooove the "Counselors" song as a scout :) It's been a while, so here is all I can remember:


Out my tent flap looking out into the night
I can see my counselors having a fight
Curlers in their hair and make-up everywhere
I can see my counselors' underwear

Counselors, I would like to fight with you
I would like to throw a pillow or two
Counselors have you tresures in your purse?
Have you fought brave battles with the nurse?


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Hannah
Date: 12 Jul 07 - 03:14 PM

The camp I often attend has the counselors singing the song, two verses, (I can't remember if they hum)...
I am looking for a good recording with words in, has anyone seen one?


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Linda Mattson
Date: 16 Jul 07 - 03:22 AM

Nostalgia! I sang this song at Girl Scout Camp around the early to mid-60's in Wyoming, learned from my favorite counsellor "Piney." We had only the two verses mentioned above, in two part harmony. As to the origin, I most enjoyed the axe murderer story from Kamp Kwagmire, but I imagine the story about a camp counselor writng the song is probably correct.

I don't recall hearing the little dying girl story, so the song didn't seem so sad to me, only a wistful campfire song. Out in the wilds of Wyoming, I had never seen barges, and didn't understand the line about starboard and port!

Another song I remember - the round "Dip Dip and Swing" about canoe paddles. We didn't have a river to canoe in, only a stream to splash in, and rocks and sagebrush.

-Linda


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Glen Arden Girl
Date: 21 Jul 07 - 02:03 AM

My comments won't help you find the origin of the song, but they are a wonderful story of how this song has touched my family's life.
My sister and I learned this song our first year at Camp Glen Arden in North Carolina in the late 70's. As soon as our parents picked us up at the airport we sang this song for them both. It was so beautiful! (Incidently, reading the posted verses above makes me giggle to think how off we were on our own version). Through the years, my sister and I sang the song at family events and special occasions, or whenever my parents just wanted us to stop fighting and harmonize.
This past March, my father was hospitalized in the end stages of a valliant battle with lung and brain cancer. My sister and I were at his bedside in his final moments, and as we waited for my mom to arrive, we sang "Barges" for him one last time. It was the most beautiful moment in my life. We didn't even have to think about it..we just started singing together as if on cue.
My own child will attend Glen Arden this summer, and my mother found this site for me tonight - to remind me to continue the tradition of the song. "Barges"..no matter where it originated, no matter who the composer or writer - is indelible to our family.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Guest: Timbertall Girl
Date: 08 Aug 07 - 11:56 PM

I looked and looked for Barges. I can't recall where I finally found it, but it wasn't in any girl scout songbook. It is in the 1968 Chansons etc, but no note as to where it is from. when I found it, it was in Russian and it's origin was noted as Russian. The translation was just like I had learned it which is pretty much what everyone else has. One difference is in the chorus of the 2nd verse:

Bargemen, I should like to be with you
I should like to see the ocean, too
Bargemen, though the river you may roam
On the river, always, you're at home.

& to the person who remembers My Paddles Keen and Bright-It is called the Canoe Round. It can be found in the recreation books-the little pocket sized books made especially for camp song leaders to carry. It is in more than one of these. 4 parts.

My Paddles keen and bright, flashing like silver
swift as the wild goose flies
dip, dip and swing

Dip, dip and swing her back, flashing like silver
follow the wild goose flight
dip, dip and swing.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 12:43 AM

Interesting.
Please reference the source with the information on the Russian song.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 02:29 AM

Timbertall Girl, this is the first hint that this song may have come from a source other than a bedridden Girl Scout (a story I never believed). Please try to give us any other information about where the song may have been published.
Thank you very much.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: BARGES (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Aug 07 - 03:54 PM

"Canciones de Nuestra Cabaña," published by World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, pub. Girl Scouts of the U. S. A., 1980, says "Source Unknown."

Spanish lyrics are given for the chorus:

Desde mi ventana puedo ver las luces
de la barcas en el rio. ?Llevarán
tésoros? ?Serán piratas preparados
para luchar? !Como me gustaría
navegar en ellas!

(From my window I see the lights
of the boats (barges) in the river. Are they carrying
treasures? Are pirates preparing
to board? How I would love to sail in them!)

An English translation given with the Spanish, adding a first verse-

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light;
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red,
You can see them flickering far ahead.
Chorus:
Barges, I would like to go with you,
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, have you treasures in your hold?
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold?

With score. P. 8.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,the princess jack
Date: 17 Aug 07 - 08:28 PM

well here are my thoughts the rules of ryhming should be the same in all laguages and seen as the english vesion ryhms (the ends of the last words in the phrases make the same sound)and i can't immagine that those words beeing translated into anyother language could still ryhm. so basically my conclution is that this song must have been originally written in english (unless the words were changed to make them rhym..) here's my other conclution, it seems to have been all over north america since around the 1960's so it had to have been written long enough before that for it to have spread across the country. my other thoughts are that it must have been shared at a camp with alotof people from veriouse places around the country

alright now i heard the version about the sick girl looking out her wiindow ect. but reading everyone elses has really hit me a bit harder cause my little sister (11) has been batteling leukemia for the past 2 years so ya keep looking i will too


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,miribelle
Date: 30 Aug 07 - 09:49 PM

hi, i am a cadette in girlscouts and, yes we still sing barges. i cannot imagine camp arnold w/o it


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 07 - 06:44 PM

does any one no sail away the girl scout song some one
    "Sail Away" request thread here (click).

    -Joe Offer, Forum Moderator-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,celeste ellerby
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 10:11 AM

The meaning of this song. a girl is trapped in a bed because she is to sick to move. her bed is beside the sea, so she is used to seeing barges roaming by. she starts wishing she could get onto one of those barges and sail away from the sickness that was killing her. her mother wrote this song for her, as she died 6 months after she was pronounced very, very ill. her mother was so overcome with grief, she couldnt stop thinking about her, so she wrote this song as a sort of RIP.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Oct 07 - 03:09 PM

All the speculative interpretations posted here add up to quite an interesting pile.
Oh, well, I'll add one about source (perhaps already stated somewhere up the thread). The barges come from 'barco,' Spanish for boat or ship; the song is a bad translation from a Spanish original.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Melissa
Date: 14 Oct 07 - 12:45 AM

Our third verse is:

Out of my window, looking in the night
I can see those barges' flickering light.
Now is the time when I will soon be gone
and I'll sail with barges on and on.

Barges, I am going now with you
I am going to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, we have treasure in our hold
and we fight with pirates brave and bold.

I learned it in the mid-70s..NW Missouri. Judging by the apparent age of the handwritten songbook we used in the early 80s, the song was in use here for a long time before I learned it.
My guess is that it might have been introduced at one of those Conference gathering things to have been able to get nearly everywhere with very few differences in wording.

I chanced upon mudcat a few years ago by running across a thread about Barges. I was absolutely enchanted to find that there are still Old School scouts on the loose talking about songs I know.
Neat find.

Has anybody heard of a field collection of the songs we think of as Traditional GS?

Melissa


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Kerry
Date: 20 Oct 07 - 05:44 PM

Yes, we still do sing Barges today in Scouting. I learned it when I was just a wee little Brownie scout back in the 1960's and still teach it too all my little scouts today. The old version of Barges is the one that I learned and still teach.
    Out of my window, looking in the night
    I can see the barges flickering lights.
    Silently flows the water to the sea
    And the barges do go silently.

    Barges, I would like to go with you
    I would like to sail the ocean blue.
    Barges, is there treasure in your hold?
    Do you fight with pirates brave and bold?

    Out of my window, looking in the night,
    I can see the barges flickering lights.
    Starboard is glowing green and port is glowing red.
    I can see the barges far ahead.

    Chorus again and then hum the third verse.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 12:10 AM

Q, you caught my attention. I've been looking for the orgin of this song for years, and I never believed it came from a bedridden Girl Scout. What's the Spanish song you think it comes from?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 12:48 AM

Joe, it is sometimes sung in Spanish by Girl Scouts in Latin America or Spain. I once found it in Spanish on a Latin American or Spanish children's site on which I didn't make a note. It may just have been a translation from English. I don't know of any Spanish song that is close enough to be related.

Barge struck me as odd; seems to me the girls would be much more likely to sing about ships or boats, more romantic than barges. And barco is boat in Spanish.
Sorry I can't help. The song bothers me too.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 04:31 AM

Has anybody 'collected' the hoards of songs sung at gs camps?
I'm noticing that in this area, they're being replaced by a different type of song..and hate to think that the traditional ones might get lost.

My niece has gone to camp twice (same camp I worked at) and the only song she learned well enough to remember is the one about floating down the Delaware chewing on her underwear.
That song would have gotten me invited to not come back on camp after session break..

I never did completely buy the bedridden girl story. Mostly because we had that final verse--wondered how she supposedly finished it. It'll be interesting to see if this thread results in an older answer. Of course, I'll probably perpetuate the 'sick child' story to my girls by telling them that's what I learned but later learned that it had Spanish origins (or whatever the story turns out to be..if any comes to be at all)

M


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Melissa
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 09:38 PM

I asked a friend who was in Campfire. She learned the song at camp in the early 60s, said it was camp tradition for a long time before then..said she learned that it was about the Erie Canal.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Oct 07 - 09:57 PM

A last verse not seen before by me, but I could have missed the posting. I'll post the four verses and chorus.

BARGES

Out of the window looking into the night,
I can see the barges' flickering light.
Silently flows the river to the sea,
As the barges do go silently.*

CHORUS
Barges, I would like to go with you,
I would like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, have you treasure in your hold,
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold.

Out of my window looking in* the night,
I can see the barges flickering light.
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red,
I can see the barges far ahead.

Now my heart longs to sail away with you,
As you sail across the ocean blue.
But I must stay beside my ocean clear,(1)
As I watch you sail away from here.

Away from my window on into the night,
I will watch til they are out of sight.
Taking their cargo far across the sea,
I wish that someday they'd take me.

* Minor mistakes here- perhaps suggesting a translation?
(1) ...my ocean pier, ?

Barges


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 01:41 AM

Melissa, you asked if anyone has ever "collected" camp songs. Your mention of "floating down the Delaware chewing on her underwear" led me to Google up this (click). I didn't know the Delaware/underwear song, but I knew most of the other songs on the page. There are tens of thousands of camp song pages available. One of the most impressive is the Prairie Home Companion Camp Song Songbook. You'll find many more of that ilk in our Naughty Kids' Greatest Hits threads.

Now, to my mind, the Delaware/underwear songs are the real camp songs, and published songs like "Barges" are of secondary interest. Still, "Barges" intrigues me because we haven't been able to figure out where it came form originally. In general, though, there's a lack of spontaneity and creativity in the songs in "official" songbooks of camps and camping organizations.

As for "collecting" camp songs, that question goes unanswered.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Melissa
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:08 AM

Too bad..I was hoping to get access to a wad of songs I'm starting to forget. I've got plenty of words, but the tunes are beginning to vaporize.

thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 02:48 AM

Oh, you'll find hundreds of them here at Mudcat, Melissa. Look at the threads crosslinked at the top of this thread, the "Naughty Kids" threads I spoke of above, and the threads crosslinked with this camp song thread (click). These songs weren't collected by the well-known collectors like Lomax and Sharp and Warner and the like. Camp songs are a newer phenomenon, a product of the post-Depression Twentieth Century. Many of us here grew up with these songs.
And if you can't find a song, start a new thread and ask for it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: Melissa
Date: 22 Oct 07 - 04:17 AM

yeah..I've found hundreds by snooping around in threads and clicking stuff. Mudcat is a pretty easy place to navigate--a treasure.

I would have thought camp songs started building steam in the early 20s? There's a pretty strong emphasis on singing while you Work, Hike or Wait in the earliest GS handbooks. I don't know much about other organizations, but I think the first official GS songbook was printed in 1928.
One of these days, I will probably open a thread to try getting a solid handful of songs to sing as part of a 1920s re-enactment GS troop, but for now, I'm content sitting around following existing threads and picking up information vicariously.
This place certainly attracts people who are generous with their knowledge!

Thanks,
M


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,AMY
Date: 03 Mar 08 - 08:03 PM

I'm sure someone else has told the same story but I'm not gonna read them all.
There was a lady in a hospital and she wrote this song while she was stuck there watching the barges. She died before she could finish it which is why the 3rd verse is traditionally hummed rather than sang because it doesn't actually have any words.
There really isn't a fancy story to it other than that she didn't live to write the third verse.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,A Girl Guide
Date: 25 May 08 - 09:02 PM

Many Canadian Guides still sing it. We have been told it was writen by a girl guide with cancer, and she had a hospital room overlooking a river. She was said to have passed away before she finished the third verse, so we hum the final verse. Although there are many stories, most of them agree on a sick girl that had a room overlooking a river.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Trisha - Daisy Ldr Troop 407
Date: 29 May 08 - 12:36 AM

I remember singing the song as a child (in the 80's)
& I seem to remember the story being about
a girl who watched the barges from her window,
The stories I've read on here about the sick little girl
seem kinda familiar but all I remember is I liked the song.

I was looking for songs 2 teach the girls
& came across this version of Barges (6 Verses!!!)
I only knew of 2! LOL

BARGES

Out of my window, looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light
Silently flows the river to the sea
And the barges too go silently


CHORUS:
Barges, I would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges have you treasures in your hold
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold

Out of my window, looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red
I can see them flickering far ahead

CHORUS

How my heart longs to sail away with you
As you sail across the ocean blue
But I must sit beside my window dear
And watch you sail away from here

CHORUS

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges' flickering light
Harbor ahead and anchorage in view
I will find my resting place with you

CHORUS

Away from my window on into the night
I will watch 'til they are out of sight
Taking their cargo far across the sea
How I'd wish that someday they would take me

CHORUS


Out of my window looking through the night
I can see the barges' flickering light
People are sailing far and far away
And I hope to go with them one day

CHORUS

from this website:
http://su663.grgsc.org/girl_scout_songs.htm


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Sherry
Date: 30 Jun 08 - 04:28 PM

Ilearned thisat Girl Scout Camp in Ohio in the mid 60's. I remember it above except the last line of the first verse \
"as the barges do go merrily.

Also, We were told it was a sick child looking out their window overthe Mississippi River. I have always loved this song.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Hannah
Date: 09 Jul 08 - 07:49 PM

my mom used to sing "barges" to me when she put me to sleep:

"out of my window looking through the night,
i can see the barges' flickering light.
starburt shines green and port is falling red
i can see the barges far ahead

barges, i would like to go with you,
i would like to sail the ocean blue.
barges, have you treasure in your hold,
do you fight with pirates, brave and bold?

out of my window looking through the night
i can see the barges flickering light."


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Linz
Date: 10 Aug 08 - 05:58 PM

Came across this site while searching for the origins of the song but looks like no one is any the wiser really! I 1st heard Barges as a Rainbow/Brownie in the late 80's/early 90's in the UK. I was always taught that it was written by someone in Holland (and even sang it at a Thinking Day celebration when our Brownie's were representing Holland). Always knew it as an unfinished song with the 3rd verse being hummed.


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Subject: RE: Origin of: 'Barges' (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,KTG
Date: 31 Aug 08 - 11:23 PM

We- at GS camp in Iowa- were told it was written by a girl in Holland who was in a wheel chair and confined to the top floor of her house. I'm pretty sure the sick kid/wheel chair story is a bunch of bunk made up to inspire solemnity in hyperactive kids still crazy from the day's adventures, and then warped slighty each time it made it's way to a new camp. For me, personally, the fact that it is such a strong Girl Scout/Guide tradition and that so many camp people are tied together by it is sentimental enough.

We only sang the first two verses, sometimes with harmony, sometimes without. We never hummed a third verse.

I'm afraid the message Jen M quoted (four years ago!!) is all the origin we're going to get with this one.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Oct 08 - 01:43 AM

I started my path in girl guides when i was 5 or six and was in it until my late teens. Barges was written by a girl scout who could see the barges from the window. She passed away before the song was finshed and that is whythe last "verse" is hummed. So the information you were told is true.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Oct 08 - 01:48 PM

The story about the sick girl watching barges out the window, is the one we hear most often. However, we've never been able to find any written documentation of the origins of this song - so I'm not convinced the "sick girl" theory is true.
Same with a lot of Girl Scout songs - it's very hard to trace their origins.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Oct 08 - 11:24 PM

I've heard that this song originated at Hanover College. The story goes that a co-ed, disdaining curfew, looked out her window at the barges on the Ohio. This has been passed down through one of Hanover's sororities since at least the early 1950s.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Guest; Sarah
Date: 05 Feb 09 - 03:52 PM

I have no idea where Barges originates but I used to sing it at Camp Cahinnio in Arkansas... this was in th 90's and now I sing it to my baby girl to help calm her down. I'd been looking for the lyrics for the first verse because I couldn't remember all the words.

We used to sing it on the last night as we sent our candles on little pieces of bark out onto the lake. And then we'd sing Linger.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:15 PM

The story I heard was that there was a little girl who had cancer. Out of her hospital bed, she could see the River and all the barges that went by, so she decided to write a song about it.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Spices (Ginger Rainwater)
Date: 28 Feb 09 - 06:15 PM

I also attened Camp Cahinnio in the 90's. my camp name was Spices.

I remember Barges going something like this:

Out of my window
looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light
Silently flows the river to the sea and the barges to go silently

Chorus:
Barges I would to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges have you treasures in your hold
Do you fight with pirates brave and bold

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light
Starboard shines green and Port is glowing red
I can see the barges far ahead

Chorus again

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the bargs flickering light
People are going far far away
I would like to sail with them someday

Chorus again


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 02:15 AM

I think this must be the neverending thread. :) I sang Barges in the early 60's, Kamp Kiwani, out of Memphis.

I did find this lovely version on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF2i6RQUqAE


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Dean
Date: 24 Apr 09 - 03:16 AM

Wow - what an interesting thread.

Well, I learned the song some 20 years ago (early 80's), but it was at some sort of Catholic camp.

It popped into my head watching a discovery channel thing, including discussions of submarines, and shipping...

But I also know a woman with cystic fibrosis in London...when she was last stuck in the hospital for a week, she was taking pictures on her phone and later uploaded them to facebook.

The sick girl story is entirely plausible - there could easily be someone stuck in a hospital, overlooking a river, awake enough to write a short song. And, frankly, those who are sick like that REALLY get tired of being stuck in the hospital for health reasons...they want to go explore and see the world while they still can.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Terri S
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 11:39 AM

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see my counselors having a fight
Pillows and feathers flying everywhere
I can see my counselors underwear

Counselors I would like to go with you
I would like to throw a pillow too
Counselors have you candy in your hole
Do you fight with campers brave and bold.

This is the parody that we sang at Camp Adahi in the late 80's.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,St. Louis Guest
Date: 18 Nov 09 - 09:49 PM

Just to pile on - I sang this in scouts too as a child (let's see - that would be late 70s early 80s. I was told the same story about the hospital and the mississippi. I always thought it was St Louis until my mom pointed out there isn't a hospital in St. Louis with a view of the Mississippi. Which is pretty funny given the number of hospitals here!!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Poetaster
Date: 01 Feb 10 - 04:28 PM

I first encountered the Girl Guides song Barges through a friend of mine, Bobby Lyre. It encompassed him, driving him to leave his school and family and realize The Great English Dream. He stole a barge, a cat and an accordion and floated down the Thames until he faded into the light.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Saira's mom
Date: 09 Jun 10 - 09:54 PM

I've been singing this song to my daughter at bedtime. She is a year and a half and if I leave out any of the words, she fills them in. I look forward to years of bedtimes with "barges"


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Guest maddy
Date: 19 Jul 10 - 11:03 AM

i heard this version at Camp Huronda

Barges
Verse 1
Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light
Starbort shining green
And port is glowing red
I can see the barges from my bed

Chorus
Barges i would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges have you tresures in your hold
Do you fight with pirates barve and bold

Verse2
Silently flows the river to the sea
And the barges do go silently
One of these days and it will not be long
You will look for me and I'll be gone

Chorus
Barges i would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges have you tresures in your hold
Do you fight with pirates barve and bold

Verse 3
Hum

Chorus
Barges i would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges have you tresures in your hold
Do you fight with pirates barve and bold

And the story was there was a girl that was very very sick and she could see the barges from her bed.
But before she could finish the song she died but she knew she was going to die so that is why she says
One of these days and it ill not be long you will look for me and i'll be gone.
You hum the third verse in her memory.

that is what i learned


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,GSGUEST
Date: 14 Aug 10 - 11:20 PM

I'm 16 years old and have been an American Girl Scout in Washington (State) since 1st grade. I still remember a lot of camp songs from when I was a Brownie and Junior but sadly the rest of my troop has forgotten or finds it too tedious to remember camp songs. I've heard many different versions but the chorus with the "treasures/pirates" always stays the same, as does the "river to the sea" and the "starboard/port" verses stay the same. The third verse I usually hear is the "window drear" verse, I never learned the tradition of humming it.

I know very little about the legend behind it, but the version I heard was that it was a very sick girl who wrote the story from her bed and died an hour after writing the song.

Since learning the story and understanding how sad it is, I don't generally sing the parody we learned, but the one I know is about the Boy Scouts. A Girl Scout friend of mine taught it to me one day when we were playing at my house. If it didn't come from such a sad song, I'd love it because of how it insinuates that the Girl Scouts are tougher than Boy Scouts.

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the Boy Scouts having a fight
Silently flows the pillow through the air
And the Boy Scout Leader starts to swear

Boy Scouts, I would like to fight with you
I would like to make you black and blue
Boy Scouts, oh did you ever know
That you're fighting with Girl Scouts, brave and bold


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Kate
Date: 05 Jan 11 - 03:28 AM

This song strangely popped into my head tonight while brushing my teeth! Canadian Brownie and Girl Guide from Vancouver, British Columbia, and I remember singing this song at Camp Tsoona in the 80s (82 to 89 I think.) We were told it was written by a BC Girl Guide who was dying of cancer at the Vancouver hospital and she could see the barges off in the distance on the Fraser River and beyond. It made sense to me at the time, the river WAS visible from certain areas of the hospital. We also hummed the last verse because the dying girl never got to finish her song. We sang it in the round--two groups of girls starting the song at different times. It was lovely and it would tarnish a childhood memory to know that the dying girl story was not true!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Annie
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 02:20 AM

Hi! I learned Barges last year at Girl Scout camp as an Advanced CIT. At Camp Menzies (GSHCC or Sacramento Cali counsil) we're not supposed to sing it because many times it has made the younger girls cry of homesickness. As older girls we were allowed to learn it finally.
The story I heard was that an eight year old girl scout was just starting treatment for cancer in the eighties. She was given a special room that faced the Ohio River and one night she woke up with a melody stuck in her head. When she saw the many Barges in the river, she thought of all the things shell never get to do since she was terminal. She dreamed of sailing away to join pirates where nothing could ever hurt her. The melody floated back in her head and she put the words down on paper. At her last Girl Scout meeting with her troop, she presented it to them and taught them how to sing it. The troop sang it at her funeral the next week, and they taught it to their daughters and fellow girl scouts and spread it that way to never forget the memory of that brave little girl.
Well, that's the story they told me, any how. Needless to say, I cry every single time I hear this song.
Also, in case y'all didn't know, Melinda Carrol has a version of this song on ITunes for sale only 99 cents! It doesn't have all the lyrics I know, but it's beautiful nonetheless.
Hope this helps!
<3,
Annie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Jane Ann Liston
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 04:47 PM

Extremely interesting. I was a Guide in Scotland in the late 60s/early 70s but never came across this song. The dying child story with so many diverse versions suggests a folk myth, like the origin of 'Ring a ring of roses' (nothing to do with the plague) or Loch Lomond (no evidence of Jacobite prisoners who fit the story). What also strikes me is that barges, as a rule, do not sail across the oceans! But doubtless it's a good song.

I liked the 'Guide Marching Song' which I see has had a new verse written for the centenary. A nice, jolly little ditty,


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 05:26 PM

Hi, Jane-

I like the "Guide Marching Song," too. It's much gentler than I'd expect out of a marching song. You'll find lyrics at this link (click), along with a link to a YouTube Video.

I suppose there weren't many oceangoing barges at the time the "Barges" song came to be, but they're becoming more and more common nowadays.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Jane Ann Liston
Date: 15 Jan 11 - 07:55 PM

Thanks for the link. But it should be 'dine beneath the boughs' surely, not 'bows'.

I'd sing it with a bit more oomph, myself, but with the bouncy rhythm it is still fun.

Right enough, I think that a barge of some sort was used to bring the Discovery back to Dundee, but I think it's more likely to be an approximation of 'barca' as suggested earlier.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Heidi
Date: 29 May 11 - 09:51 AM

Joe,
Re: Your thoughts on spontaneous songs vs. the "published" camp songs, I present to you my friend Ryan's camp song morbidity theory, which states that kids learn a song, eventually get bored with it, and then create a version where someone/something dies in it. I've yet to find a camp song yet that doesn't have some version along those lines. Maybe this is where the true origin of the dying girl story came from? :P

Heidi


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 May 11 - 05:16 PM

Hi, Heidi-
I think there's a lot of truth in what you say. Kids like morbid songs - I think it helps them cope with their fears and phobias.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Camp tahigwa
Date: 20 Aug 11 - 03:03 AM

We were told the story about the little girl too and how she passed before it was finished. Her mom then finnished the song for her but it sounded plausable to me cause of the way we sing the end of the song. we sing the last verse like this.

barges i would like to g with you
i would like to sail the ocean blue
barges have you treasures in your hold
do you fight with pirates brave and bold.

out of my window looking in the night
i can see the barges flickering light
now is the time when i will soon be gone
and ill sail with barges on and on

barges i am sailing now with you
i am sailing now the ocean blue
barges you have treasures in your hold
and you fight with pirates brave and bold.

For me it gave the song a peaceful ending and it made sense to me that the sick girl story could be true. btu seeing as how a lot of others have this song but not this part I think we might have added this part but i happen to like the ending.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,charlotte, camp sugar hollow
Date: 07 Oct 11 - 12:40 PM

Sang this song to my baby today, and my boyfriend wanted to know where it came from- guess we may never truly know. We sang it at Sugar Hollow in the 80s and 90s and heard the same dying girl story. Originally we hummed the 3rd verse until a counselor brought back a "new" third verse from another camp.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,adkhkr44
Date: 21 Jan 12 - 01:14 PM

I found this thread while researching the origin of Barges. I had found a mountain dulcimer tablature and wanted to learn more about the song because I love the tune. Regardless of the true origin, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's replies and theories. I attended girl scout camp (Kent, CT) back in the 50s but don't remember singing this song. Someone in this thread mentioned being able to convert the midi into sheet music; I don't know if Tabledit will do it, but I will try (I'm still a novice at that).


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,me
Date: 25 Apr 12 - 02:24 AM

i am an australian girl guide, last week on a camp we sang the origanal song, it is a sad, tragic song but still very beautiful, it's about a small girl, sick and dieing who wrote the song, but before finishing it she passed away, she used to look out her window at the barges and in memory of her, to this day girl guides still hum the last verse


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,The river rebel
Date: 28 Jul 12 - 12:34 PM

At tomahawk ranch (Colorado) we sing this song and every time it reminds me of where I first heard it around a campfire while backpacking. This song is one of my favorites, good luck with finding the origin!!!

-river rebel


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,anon
Date: 30 Dec 12 - 11:56 PM

Another parody version from timberlake (north Texas):

Out of my tent flap looking in the night
I can see the councilors having a fight
Curlers in their hair and cold cream on the face
I can see their undies made of lace

Councilors I would like to go with you
I would like to see the boy scouts too
Councilors please don't throw me in the lake
I don't want to be eaten by a polka-dotted snake

I heard it in the early 00s.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Dave Orleans
Date: 26 Oct 13 - 01:08 AM

I know that this doesn't help much with the origins of Barges, but I was intrigued to find a source to add to this fascinating thread.

I was perusing the web for "Barges origins" and came across this thread:

http://ask.metafilter.com/242315/Out-of-my-window-looking-in-the-night-Barges-song-origin

and in it I found a link to a collected version of the verse and chorus from 1969 by a man named Clint Piney from Chicago: http://maxhunter.missouristate.edu/songinformation.aspx?ID=1346

There is an audio link on that page, however a further Google search of "Clint Piney" only comes up with references to this webpage.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Aubree
Date: 02 Apr 14 - 05:04 PM

I actually did not hear this song from Girl Scouts, but at a non-affiliate camp. However, we sang it a bit differently than what everyone else has posted:

Out of my window looking in the night
I can see the barges flickering light.
Out of my window looking to the sea
How I wish they too would carry me.

Barges, how I'd like to go with you
How I'd like to sail the ocean blue.
Barges, have you treasure in you hold,
do you fight with pirates brave and bold?

(We would then hum at the end... and it was always done as a round).


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 04:34 PM

again ... I learned it at Camp Monterey in Tennessee in 1963, and by then it was already an "old" song. I wish Bet (Aug. 03) had been able to sort out which reader contained the song. We never thought about its origin - just sang it.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,Jeff Muller
Date: 04 Nov 14 - 11:05 PM

I learned the version posted previously by Toni Trujillo at Camp Abe Lincoln (Iowa) about 1971. No information about its origin, we didn't use song books.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,lyric req: That's My Land You're Walkin' On
Date: 28 Jul 15 - 09:48 PM

Originally heard at Camp Na Wa Kwa (Poland, IN) c. 1974-75... Nowhere to be found online! :-(


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 May 17 - 03:37 AM

Re: Nowhere to be found online! :-(

Words and tune are here:

http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/songs6/S6_3.htm


http://dragon.sleepdeprived.ca/songbook/songs6/S6_3.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF2i6RQUqAE

Google for lots more links ...

CJB


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Subject: RE: Origin: Barges (Girl Scout song)
From: GUEST,bo
Date: 30 Jul 17 - 05:57 PM

We sang this at my Girl Scout camp in Georgia. We were told it was written by a sick girl in New Orleans, watching the barges go down the Mississippi, close to the mouth of the river.

Out of my window, looking through the night
I can see the barge's flickering light
Starboard shines green and port is glowing red
I can see the barges far ahead

(CHORUS)
Barges, I would like to go with you
I would like to sail the ocean blue
Barges, have you treasures in your hold
Do you fight with pirates, brave and bold

Out of my window, looking through the night
I can see the barge's flickering light
Silently flows the river to the sea
And the barges, too, go silently

(CHORUS)

Though I must stay beside my window drear
As I watch you sail away from here,
One of these days, and it will not be long,
You will look for me and I'll be gone

(CHORUS)

Barges, I am going now with you
I am going to sail the ocean blue
Barges have we treasures in our hold?
Do we fight with pirates brave and bold?

Barges, we have treasures in our hold
As we sail away into the cold!

------

As an abused teenager, the line "One of these days, and it will not be long, you will look for me and I'll be gone" always stayed with me. I told myself it would be on a paper in my hand when I committed suicide. Fortunately, that never happened.

I like the bittersweet ending of our version of the song. The girl gets to go with barges, but is, of course, a metaphor for her death.


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