Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago, a Singable Picture Book

Posted on: August 27, 2012

This is a GREAT book.  First off, it is funny.  Second of all it’s got all kinds of great stuff in it to spark the imagination of a youngster (or oldster like me) to learn more about events in history, tall tales, dinosaurs and space (oooo and lots more).  Third you can sing it to a familiar tune.  And when I write, “you,” I mean anybody can plop down with this book, sing it for anyone who happens to be there, and then everyone can start spinning yarns and telling each other fancy hilarious lies, and have a grand old time in the process.


I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago
Traditional Words and Tune (same tune as “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain“)
Words Adapted by Steven Kellogg
Illustrated by Steven Kellogg
ISBN 0-688-13412-2

Andy Parker & The Plainsmen sing “I Was Born Ten Thousand Years Ago

Elvis sings it, too
This link includes lyrics!


The book features an Author’s Note about the value of storytelling and the entertainment it provided people before our modern age of radio, telephones, television and computers:

Steven Kellogg writes:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain’s greatest novel, the hero accuses his creator of having told “some stretchers.”  Telling stretchers – elasticizing the truth and peppering it with humor – was indeed standard practice in the nineteenth – century American storytelling.  Whenever yarn spinners gathered, a spirit of good natured one-upmanship led to bouts of boasting and outrageous exaggeration that gave birth to many a tall tale.  “I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago,” in which the narrator boldly injects himself into various biblical and historical settings, with improbably and humorous results, springs from that period.  Th tall-tale spirit of a century ago continues, inviting all of us to unfetter our imaginations and let them soar.

I was thinking that it might be fun for kids to write their own verses to the song and we could sing those, too.


“I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago” makes a terrific Girl Scout Song and I included it in my Girl Scout Songs for Troop 2740 project and here proudly share the printable lyric sheet:

I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago, a Girl Scout Song for Troop 2740


To view or print this sheet, click here:


I put a few hyperlinks in the text below to help with what might be unfamiliar allusions for the children.

Traditional Words and Tune
Sing to the Tune of  “She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain
Words Adapted by Steven Kellogg

I was born about 10,000 years ago,
And there’s nothing in the world that I don’t know.
I saw King Pharaoh’s daughter
Fishing Moses from the water,
And I’ll lick the guy who says it isn’t so.

I saw Satan when he looked the garden o’er,
I saw Eve and Adam driven from the door,
And from the bushes peeping,
Saw the apple they’d been eating,
And I swear that I’m the one who ate the core.

I taught Samson how to use his mighty hands,
Showed Columbus how to reach this happy land,
And for Pharaoh’s little kiddies
I built all the pyramidies
And to Sahara carried all the sand.

Queen Elizabeth she fell in love with me,
We were married in Milwaukee secretly,
But when sneezing overtook her
I went off with General Hooker
A-shootin’ skeeters down in Tennessee.

When attached once by a raging dinosaur,
I said to him, “Why snarl and rant and roar?
You’ve been misunderstood.
Deep inside you’re kind and good.”
I was clear he’d never heard these words before.

When Paul Bunyan called for loggers I was there.
I helped Johnny plant each apple seed with care.
Pecos Bill and I drove cattle
Clear from Texas to Seattle,
Where I taught Mike Fink to wrestle grizzly bears.

I played hopscotch with some spacemen on the moon,
And I plan to visit Saturn very soon.
But first I’ll need a rocket,
And a lot of food to stock it,
Since I won’t be back till school gets out in June.

Additional Thoughts/Additional Verse, September-October 2012

I really do so, so enjoy this book!  It is funny, makes all kinds of fascinating allusions to folks tales, history, bible stories and even space.  And, as the Author’s Note” for the book indicates, it also offers children the chance to participate in the Folk Process (and the age old traditions of Yarn Spinning Oral History, in other words, people entertaining each other with outrageous stories) and write their own tall tale verses set to this familiar tune.

On a side note (a little detour which will lead to the purpose of this post), I’ve been nursing a terrible cold for the last couple of days.  Seems like there is just no way around the suffering.  A cold makes for suffering and the medicines available to get a person through the day make a person feel almost as bad as the cold does.  For one thing, that cold medicine makes me all jittery and sleepless at night.

One advantage to being sleepless at night, however, is the hours spent musing about life or writing new verses for
I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago!  

Here’s one I wrote between coughs and sneezes in the dark depths of last night’s long hours:

I am taller than a hundred year old tree
I could walk across the country easily
I am stronger than a truck
And paddle better than a duck
In just two days I’d sail the seven seas.

It might not be Shakespeare, but I hope my Sing Books friends will enjoy Spinning Yarns along with me.  At the very least the “stretchers” will be good for a laugh or just to help get your creative juices flowing!

Related Posts

The Singable Picture Books of Steven Kellogg


I Was Born About Ten Thousand Years Ago, a Girl Scout Song for Troop 2740
(Lyric page available at this link)

“Read, Sing, Play ABC Sing-Along,” A Singable Book, Letter R (tune of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain”)


Singable Picture Books of Songs by Elvis Presley

A New Verse by Emily for “I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago” (maybe you could write one, too!)


4 Responses to "I Was Born About 10,000 Years Ago, a Singable Picture Book"

I walked the roads with Johnny Appleseed
I helped Paul Revere mount his steed
Was there when Hillary climbed the mountain
and de León found the fountain
I even taught Harris how to tweed

Hey There InfinitelyRemote!! How are things? Great to hear from you. Though we PUT whenever possible, we haven’t posted in way too long. We need to get on that. Did you write this verse? I love adding verses to that hilarious song. It’s a great book to go with it, but the more new verses, the better. That’s the American Folk Process in action. If it’s yours, do you mind if I print it up and sing it sometimes with the book? Happy Spring!! It’s pretty here in Arlington. How’s the Hoosier state treating you these days. Best wishes, Emily

Haha, yes that’s mine… your article was the first time I had heard of that song and thought “it would be fun to think up a verse” and there you have it :)

All’s well in fly-over country ;) we are experiencing a bit of a cold- snap and actually saw some of that crazy April snow a couple of days ago. But expecting pleasant weather any day now.

Glad to know you and Eloise are still making the Earth a better place to live and you should know that your PUT campaign has become ingrained in my psyche to the point I think of it whenever I PUT :D

and that vein I offer the following:

When Buzz and Neal got back from the Moon
I was waiting in New York with my broom
well that ticker tape parade
was the biggest mess they ever made
But I cleaned it up by early afternoon

Be well!

Ooooo! I love this one, too! THANKS!! I love them being part of the history of the song now! Did you happen to hear Elvis’s version? I just love that.

And we’ll keep up with the PUT for sure. If you ever clean up a little area and you happen to take before and after pix, please send them along. Though, Indy is in pretty good shape when it comes to litter. We were there in February for my dear grandmother’s funeral (she was 99!) and I noticed yet again how nice and litter-free a lot of Indy looks.

One day, I hope we can make a PUT push and make a bigger deal out of the efforts. But every little bit counts. Thanks as always for your support and kind thoughts.

All best wishes and thanks!

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