Camp Fire logos over the decades

Traditional Songs & Prayers of Camp Fire

All songs and prayers below
were written specifically
for Camp Fire.

Oh, Wo-he-lo, Oh, Wo-he-lo
We raise our song to you,
For we'll ever be true in whatever we do,
Oh, Wo-he-lo we sing to you.
["Wo-he-lo" stands for "work, health, and love."]

Oh, step along in the Camp Fire way,
And sing a song,
Any merry lay* will make our work merely seem like play,
And happy tasks can soon be done.
We like to cook and sew and hike along
as always knowledge we pursue.
Hold on to health and stand up straight and strong.
Come on now, girls. Let's step along.
* The word "lay" as used here means "tune" or "song." It comes from the French word "lai." Typically it suggested a song or tune from a bird.
[This song pre-dates Camp Fire's becoming coed, almost three decades ago.]

Give a cheer, give a cheer,
Wake the echoes far and near
to the pride of the tried and the true,
Oh, Wo-he-lo we'll sing till the mountain echoes ring,
Oh, Wo-he-lo, here's to you.

-- by Helen Gerrish Hughes, copyright by Camp Fire, 1954
We come, we come to our council fire
with measured tread and slow
To light the fire of our desire
To light the fire of Wo-he-lo.
Wo-he-lo, Wo-he-lo.
The little twinkling stars on high
Are whisp'ring nature lore,
While all about us the soft winds sigh
And Great Wokanda watches o'er.
Wo-he-lo, Wo-he-lo.
["Wokanda" means "God" in one of the Amer-Indian languages.]

-- by Helen Gerrish Hughes, copyright by Camp Fire
Go we forth from our council fire
Into the night, into the night.
In our hearts renewed desire
Burning bright, burning bright.
Loveliness of thought we've found,
warmth and friendship's love.
Forest stillness closes 'round
Sky and stars above.
Blend into the mystic call
Wo-he-lo, Wo-he-lo.
May Wokanda's blessing fall upon us as we go.

-- by Mrs. Abbie Gerrish-Jones, copyright by Camp Fire
Kindle, kindle little spark!
Make a flame to light the dark.
Gather strength and brighter grow;
Kindle flare and softly glow.
Kindle,Kindle, little spark.
Flicker, leap, and burn, O flame!
Higher, higher, higher, gain.
Little brother of the sun,
Guardian of hearth and home,
Flicker, leap, and burn, O flame.
Steady, flame, oh, may you burn!
That the wanderer may turn
To thy warmth from out the night,
Finding comfort in the light,
Steady, flame, oh steady burn.
[Born Abbie Gerrish in 1863, this author wrote the opera "Priscilla" in 1887. Her opera is considered the first complete opera to be written by an American woman. Gerrish died in 1929.]

CLOSING SONG: Campfire Goodnight
-- by Kathryn Court, copyright by Camp Fire
Now as the sun sinks slowly,
And birds are going to nest,
All of the Camp Fire maidens, too,
Must take their rest.
Then as the fire grows fainter,
And we go into the night,
Good Great Spirit guard us
And guide our steps aright.

Now our camp fire fadeth,
Now the flame burns low.
Now all Camp Fire maidens
to slumber land must go.
May the peace of the lapping water,
the peace of the still starlight,
the peace of the firelit forrest
be with us through the nite;
the peace of our fire-lit faces
be with us through the night.
[As originally written. These days, "children" substitutes nicely for "maidens."]
[It is believed that the 2nd verse is a companion verse because the two verses have similar meter.]

Ghost dance 'round the mystic ring,
Faces in the starlight glow,
Maids of Wohelo.
Praises to Wokanda sing,
While with music soft and low
Rubbing sticks grind slow.

Dusky forest now darker grown,
Broods in silence o'er its own.
Till the wee spark to a flame has blown,
And living fire leaps up to greet,
The song of Wohelo.

Mystery of our heart's desire,
Flicker, flicker, flame of love,
Burn for Wohelo.
Gathered 'round they gleaming fire,
Thoughts to thee we often show,
No one else can know.

Mem'ries lurk in thy flickering flame,
Far-off dream thoughts our spirits claim,
Smoke wraith's hov'ring call us by name,
We will follow where they go,
Follow Wohelo.

With hand uplifted we claim thy power,
Guide and keep us as we go,
True to Wohelo.
The law is our law from this hour,
Thy mysitc spirit flame will show,
Us the way to go.

Gath'ring 'round thy warm hearthstone,
We claim they kindred as our own,
With a love still warmer grown,
All aglow our spirit show,
The flame of Wohelo.

The ten songs below were written in 1912 by W. H. Neidlinger, especially for Camp Fire:

WALKING SONG: The Lure of the Road
Along the road that leads the way, we travel as it will,
Itself a guidepost good enough
To find both dale and hill;
Our hearts are light, our courage high;

The way is good and broad.
Give a cheer, give a cheer, give a cheer,
Rah! Hurrah! for the Open Road!
Give a cheer, give a cheer, give a cheer,
Rah! Hurrah! for the Open Road!
Along the way, we sing the livelong, livelong day,
In the night, in the night
We find our heart's delight.
Along the way, we sing the livelong, livelong day;
In the night, in the night
We find our heart's delight.
Tra-la-la! Tra-la-la! We sing all day.

BOATING SONG: Across the Silver'd Lake
(Andante grazioso)
Across the silver'd lake, the moonlit ripples break,
their path a magic highway seems.
We'll send our good canoe along that highway too,
and follow where the moonlight gleams.
Ho! good fairies all, hearken to our call,
Come and frolic there with us amid the moon's bright beams.
Across the silver'd lake, the moon a magic highway seems;
We come to dance with you and frolic there amid its beams.
We come to dance with you,
We come to dance with you,
We come to dance with you.

WORK SONG: Good Morrow, Fair Maid
Good morrow, fair maid, good morrow, I greet you;
I hope in no mood for sorrow I meet you.
There are dishes to do, mending to do,
cooking to do, and something for you, yes,
something for you, O plenty for you!
So shake off dull care; hide that look of despair
And get busy, get busy, get busy.
Learn the song, and know the diff'rent parts,
All good work is divisible by hearts;
Learn the song, and know the diff'rent parts,
All good work is divisible by hearts:
Learn the song, and know the diff'rent parts,
All good work is divisible by hearts.
All goes in one tub, and ev'rybody owes a rub!

MAMMY MOON (a lullaby)
(Andante sostenuto)
De day is pas'en gone en what is done am done.
Ef yo' ain' done, yo' bes' you'll be de suff'rin' one;
Ole time jes goes along en never kin turn back,
Not even ef yo' train should run plumb off de track.
De on-lies'thing ez I kin see dat yo' kin do
Is go ter bed, en sleep en res'de whole night thro;
Ole Mammy Moon'll watch de camp so yo' kin res,'
En git up in de mo'-nin' fit ter do yo' bes'.
Oh Moon, O Mammy Moon,
Please keep watch until de mo'nin' light,
Please keep watch, Mammy Moon;
De fire's gwine out pretty soon:
Please watch away till an-udder day, Good ole Mammy Moon.
Cross mah heart Mammy Moon,
Ter-morrer I'll be an "an-gel" coon.
I'll be a chile dat'll make yo' smile.
Good ole Mammy Moon.

BOO-GA-MAN: Better Run Away! (to be sung in the dark)
Better run away, better run away, Pretty little maiden run away!
When the woods are black as night,
That's the Boo-ga-man's delight;
Better run away! Better run away!
Pretty maiden, better run away!

(Adante moderato)
Burn, fire, burn! burn, fire, burn!
Burn, flicker, flame!
Whose hand above this blaze is lifted
Shall be with magic touch engifted,
To warm the hearts of lonely mortals
Who stand without their open portals.
The torch shall draw them to the fire,
Higher, higher, higher, By desire.
Who so shall stand by this hearthstone, flame-fanned,
Shall never stand alone;
Whose house is dark and bare and cold,
Whose house is dark and cold; This is his own!
Flicker, flicker, flicker, flicker, flame!

Lay me to sleep in shelt'ring flame,
O Master of the Hidden Fire;
Wash pure, and cleanse for me my soul's desire.

Our Guest, may he again come soon, come soon,
To us, to the lake and to the loon
From hill, or lake, or vale,
The welcome will not fail,
Our Guest, may he again come soon.

BLESSING (English, French, & German)
If we have earn'd the right to eat this bread,
Happy indeed are we;
But if unmerited, Thou giv'st it to us,
May we more faithful be.

Si nous avons droit a manger ce pain
Et l'avons merite,
nous penserons a ceuz qul n'en n'ont point
et saurons partager.

Herr; wenn wiressen unser taglich Brot
Gibt's Deine Gut allein;
Hilf uns auch denken an der andern Not,
Lehr uns recht dankbar sein.

Beneath the quiet sentinel stars,
We now rest.
May we arise to greet the new day,
Give it our best.
Goodnight, goodnight, God over all.
Quiet stars, we lie down to rest.
Greet the day,
And give to it our best.
Goodnight, good night, God is over all.

TRAIL SEEKER's DESIRE (1954) (spoken)
I desire
To seek the way
That shall become
A delight to my feet,
For it will bring me to
The fire of human kindness
Lighted by those
Who have gone before me
On the Camp Fire trail.
[This rank was established several years after Camp Fire began in 1910.]

WOOD GATHERER's DESIRE (1914) (spoken)
As fagots are brought from the forest ["Fagot" here means "a bundle of sticks tied together."]
Firmly held by the sinews which bind them,
So cleave to these others, your sisters,
Wherever, whenever you find them.
Be strong as the fagots are sturdy,
Be pure in your deepest desire;
Be true to the truth that is in you;
And--follow the Law of the Fire.

FIRE MAKER's DESIRE (1914) (spoken)
As fuel is brought to the fire
So I purpose to bring ["Purpose" here means "to propose as an aim to oneself."]
My strength
My ambition
My heart's desire
My joy
And my sorrow
To the fire
Of humankind.
For I will tend
As my fathers have tended
And my father's fathers
Since time began
The fire that is called
The love of man for man,
The love of man for God.

TORCH BEARER's DESIRE (1914) (spoken)
That light which has been given to me,
I desire to pass undimmed to others.

1st Camp Fire member:
I light the light of work, for Wohelo means work.
We glorify work because through work we are free.
We work to win, to conquer, to be masters.
We work for the joy of the working,
and because we are free.
Wohelo means work.
2nd Camp Fire member:
I light the light of Health, for Wohelo means health.
We hold on to health because through health we serve and are happy.
In caring for the health and beauty of our persons,
we are caring for the very shrine of the Great Spirit.
Wohelo means health.
3rd Camp Fire member:
I light the light of Love, for Wohelo means love.
We love Love, for love is life, and light and joy and sweetness.
And love is comradeship and motherhood,
and fatherhood and all dear kinship.
Love is the joy of service so deep that self is forgotten.
Wohelo means love.

ODE TO FIRE (spoken)
O Fire!
Long years ago when our fathers fought with great animals, you were their protection.
From the cruel cold of winter, you saved them.
When they needed food, you changed the flesh of beasts into savory meat for them.
During all the ages your mysterious flame has been a symbol to them for Spirit.
So (tonight) we light our fire in remembrance of the Great Spirit who gave you to us.

Flickering candles burning low
As our council fire ends.
May your light endure and glow
In the hearts of Camp Fire friends!

Now the day commences.
Let us make a prayer,
Thanking God for all His gifts so rare.
Thank Him for the flowers,
Singing birds, and trees.
And His wondrous light that shines o'er land and seas.
Amen. Amen.

For nights with stars, for paths to follow,
And for the hills, the hills to climb,
For love to cast its glow in deeply shadowed places,
For all the poignant beauty of the Spring,
For gay red autumns to be happy in,
For friends who speak our language and who understand,
And so for all those wonderfully glorius things,
We thank thee, Lord. We thank thee, Lord.

Go we forth from our council fire into the night.
In our hearts, renewed desire burning bright.
Lovelieness of thought we've found, warmth and friendship's love.
Forest stillness closes 'round. Sky and stars above.
Blend into the mystic call.
May Wokanda's blessing fall upon us as we go.

-- from "The Birch-Bark Roll," by Ernest Thompson Seton
March: Crow Moon, First or Awakening Moon (blue).
April: Wild Goose or Grass Moon, Honker Moon (green).
May: Fawn or Song Moon (purple).
June: Rose Moon (rose).
July: Thunder Moon (copper).
August: Red or Green Corn Moon (yellow).
September: Hunting Moon (yellow).
October: Leaf Falling Moon (fiery).
November: Mad Moon (smoky).
December: Long Night Moon (black).
January: Snow Moon (white).
February: Hunger Moon, Wan Moon (pale or ashy).
[Mr. Seton was involved in the founding of Camp Fire. His names of the months frequently have been used in Camp Fire programing and ceremonies.]

Mahawe's Memory Book
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Dr. Charles A. Eastman: Ohiyesa|
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