Sailor Sailor on the Sea


(Folk song)

Sailor, sailor on the sea,
Sailor, sailor on the sea,
Sailor, sailor on the sea,
What treasures have you brought to me?

2. Farmer, farmer on the land,
Farmer, farmer on the land,
Farmer, farmer on the land,
I’ve golden jewels in my hand.

Sailor: Guess how many.
Farmer: (says a number)

If answer is correct:
You have guessed the number true…
Now you may sail the ocean blue.

If answer is incorrect:
You have missed the number plain…
So I must sail the seas again.

Circle Game

Formation: Students (“Farmers”) stand in a circle surrounding one child, the “Sailor.” The Sailor has hidden several small objects in one hand. (The objects should be small objects, such as beads, marbles, or buttons. Decide ahead of time what the largest number of objects would be, perhaps 5.)

Verse 1 = Students stand still and sing while the Sailor walks or skips around in the inside of the circle. On the last word, “me,” the Sailor stops, faces the student who is closest and holds out the fisted hand with hidden objects inside.

Verse 2 = Sailor (or all students) sing.

Sailor says, “Guess how many.” Farmer answers with a number. Make sure students know what their choices are, say 1 through 5.
If the Farmer answers correctly, the Sailor (or all students) sings, “You have guessed the number true,” and the Farmer becomes the new Sailor.

If the Farmer answers incorrectly, the Sailor (or all students) sings, “You have missed the number plain” and the Sailor gets another turn.

If you wish to increase the chances of the Farmers guessing the right number (so more students get turns), you could make the greatest amount of objects be 3. Or, the Farmer could become the new Sailor whether or not the answer was correct.

See also


  • Song with chords (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the song

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