I spent most of the day yesterday knitting, had some pleasant time with my husband last night, and am feeling a bit renewed.

Today we have our Christmas concert, as well as church and kids’ music. The song I’m responsible for with the kids is “The Friendly Beasts,” a very nice ballad which appears to have been written by Robert Davis in the 1920s to a 12th century French tune, “Orientus Partibus.” The original song, attributed to Pierre de Corbeil, Bishop of Sens (d. 1222), can still be heard now and then. It has the refrain, “Get up, Sir Ass, Get up!”

I frankly wasn’t able to find a video I liked at YouTube.

The Friendly Beasts

Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good.

“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried His mother uphill and down,
I carried His mother to Bethlehem town;
I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

“I,” said the cow, all white and red,
“I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him hay to pillow His head;
I,” said the cow, all white and red.

“I,” said the sheep with curly horn,
“I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm,
He wore my coat on Christmas morn;
I,” said the sheep with curly horn.

“I,” said the dove, from the rafters high,
“I cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry,
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I;
I,” said the dove, from the rafters high.

Thus all the beasts, by some good spell,
In the stable dark were glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emmanuel,
The gifts they gave Emmanuel.

This is of course a song about the tradition that says animals were able to speak miraculously to witness the birth of Jesus on Christmas. We often overlook the folklore surrounding Christmas, apart from Santa Claus, but there are actually quite a few good traditional stories.

I really love this song; it’s sweet and singable. It introduces Jesus to children as “our brother” and presents the story of his birth through the familiar barnyard creatures.

I could use another day off, truth be told, but a day spent with music should be revivifying.