I Gave My Love a Cherry
The Riddle Song

I Gave My Love a Cherry (The Riddle Song) is a very pretty folk tune with initially puzzling, but clever lyrics.  Students will be intrigued as they read the solution to the riddle.

Download the sheet music as a lead sheet, an early intermediate piano arrangement, or a beginner Middle C version.  


*Listen to a recording of I Gave My Love a Cherry*


Piano sheet music I Gave My Love a Cherry

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

This song's lyrics may puzzle students

I loved this song as a girl, but admit to being mystified by some of the lyrics for years.  What was a cherry "stone?"  In my part of the country, we used the term "pit" instead.  Of course, a blooming flower hasn't developed a fruit yet, so it has no stone.

But what is "pippin'?"  No one ever told me, so I eventually looked that word up... Turns out, that is the stage of an egg before the chicken has developed.  

A version for beginners

Easy piano music for beginners

Turn this song into a duet by supplying the chords for your student.  Not sure how to do that?  Get started by reading through my page Free Lead Sheets.

The Riddle Song sheet music

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Alternate lyrics

The third part of the riddle, "I gave my love a story that has no end," is not the way that I knew it as a child.  What I learned was, "I gave my love a ring, that has no end."

I like "story" much better!  Because the answer to the riddle of the never-ending story is sweet, whereas the answer to the riddle of the ring doesn't really make much sense: "A ring when it's rolling, it has no end..."

Lead sheet arrangements

Lead sheet for piano

In the key of G

Piano music for singing

The key of G is easier for beginning violinists and guitarists.


The links for the sheet music:



Download Riddle Song in the key of D for piano



Download I Gave My Love a Cherry for the piano in the key of F



Download piano arrangement in the key of G



The link for the beginner arrangement:



Download the Middle C arrangement



The links for the lead sheets:



Download the lead sheet for the Riddle Song in D



Download the lead sheet I Gave My Love in F



Download lead in the key of G



More Folk Songs to Sing:


Ae Fond Kiss - a love song about saying goodbye, from Scotland


All the Pretty Little Horses - a soft and repetitious lullaby, quite pretty


Ash Grove - a famous and lovely song from Wales


Auld Lang Syne - the New Year's Eve song!


Colorado Trail Song - an American tune written by a real cowboy


Come By the Hills - another popular Irish melody


Down By the Salley Gardens - a famous and pretty song, very sweet 


Green Bushes - a brisk little song that is pretty while being good for breath control training


Grenadier and the Lady - my favorite folk song of all.  Find out why


I Gave My Love a Cherry - the "Riddle Song" is very pretty


Johnny Has Gone For a Soldier - very beautiful, very moving, and a chance for your young singer to learn how to let her voice soar


Keegan's Waltz - this is a traditional Gaelic tune, but the lyrics are very new, supplied by a visitor to this site!


Lavender's Blue - this simple song is not only satisfying for beginning pianists, but also young singers who need to focus on basics.  With a lovely piano accompaniment.


Loch Lomond - the famous and sad song about never meeting again


Mari's Wedding - a singable tune with bouncy chords that is fun to play or sing


Minstrel Boy - a lovely and patriotic song about a warrior-poet


Molly Bawn - a sad story of a young hunter who thought he was shooting at a swan


Morning Has Broken - a beautiful melody made famous again by Cat Stevens


Once I Had a Sweetheart - "but now I have none!" Very pretty, and little-known.


Parting Glass - a well-known Irish tune which my singers always love


Raggle-Taggle Gypsies - a story about a young bride who abandons her wealthy new husband to go off with the gypsies. A catchy melody!


Riddle Song - the pretty song that speaks of giving a cherry without a stone, a chicken without a bone, a baby with no crying.


Scarborough Fair - an old and famous tune of lost love


She Moved Through the Fair - this sounds happy, but it is actually a bit of a love story, and a bit of a ghost story!


Shenandoah - a famous and lovely American tune with ambiguous lyrics


Skye Boat Song - a pretty song from Scotland about the escape of Bonnie Prince Charlie over the sea


Spanish Ladies - a minor key sea chanty that swings energetically along - BOYS like singing it too!


The Spanish Lady - Upbeat and energetic, this Irish song is fun to perform with a group


Star of the County Down - LOTS of fun to sing and play!  An excellent ensemble piece


Waltzing Matilda - an unusually pretty melody from Australia; you know this one!  Very popular with kids


The Water is Wide - a very pretty song about disappointed love.  You might have sung this one in high school!


The Wellerman - a sea chanty that is very singable, and very fun!


White, Orange and Green - though not widely known, this charming melody about fighting for the right to carry the flag of Ireland has stirring lyrics and soaring phrases. A favorite of my vocal & guitar students.  I never get tired of this song. 

Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!

SingTheBibleStory.com clickable logo link

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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.