The tune originated as a folk dance in the 1752 opera Le devin du village
(The Village Soothsayer
) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The Aunt Rhody version started appearing in American traditional song anthologies in the next century, and is still often found in children's song collections.
The Genevan philosopher and writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote various arias and songs as well as prose. In 1752, he determined to compose an opera about people with dirty hands-the working class. Le devin du village
, which premiered on October 18, 1752, attracted much admiration from King Louis XV and remained popular in Paris until the mid-1800s. Mozart parodied it in his one-act comic opera Bastien and Bastienne
. (Source The Encyclopedia Of Trivia