Where Did the Phrase “I’ll Be There With Bells On” Come From and What Does It Mean?

During the frontier days, peddlers travelling between settlements had to move as silently as possible through the hostile forest.

But when they approached a homestead or town they would take out their muffled bells and hang them on their horses’ necks to announce their arrival.

The peddlers’ arrival “with bells on” brought news, letters, and goods from the outside world, and was an exciting event for the isolated settlers.

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  • p bottge

    In the days of horse drawn sleighs if you broke down and another sleigh stopped to help it was customary to give the good samaritan your sleigh bells. Hence, if you arrived safely bells were ringing. If you had trouble along the way youe sleigh was silent.

    This was told to me 30 years ago by an elderly gentleman who collected sleigh bells.