The Arkansas Traveler is an American reel. A reel is a traditional folk dance. It was composed in the 1800's by Colonel Sanford C. Faulkner (1806-1874), an American fiddle player and teller of tall tales. It served as the state song of Arkansas from 1949 to 1963, and was adopted as the state historical song in 1987.
Oh, once upon a time in Arkansas,
An old man sat in his little cabin door,
And fiddled at a tune that he liked to hear,
A jolly old tune that he played by ear.
It was raining hard, but the fiddler didn't care,
He sawed away at the popular air,
Tho' his rooftree leaked like a waterfall,
That didn't seem to bother the man at all.
A traveler was riding by that day,
And stopped to hear him a-practicing away,
The cabin was a-float and his feet were wet,
But still the old man didn't seem to fret.
So the stranger said "Now the way it seems to me,
You'd better mend your roof," said he.
But the old man said as he played away,
"I couldn't mend it now, it's a rainy day."
The traveler replied, "That's all quite true,
But this, I think, is the thing to do,
"Get busy on a day that is fair and bright,
Then patch the old roof till it's good and tight."
But the old man kept on a-playing at his reel,
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel.
"Get along," said he, "for you give me a pain,
My cabin never leaks when it doesn't rain."
Arkansas Traveler for Easy/Level 3 Piano Solo
Old American Songs Lesson and Recital Piano Book (Digital Print)