Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Monday 25 October |
Saint of the Day: Sts Gavin, Protus, and Januarius
Aleteia logo

An often-overlooked carol of the season: ‘The Friendly Beasts’

NATIVITY SCENE

Public Domain

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 12/29/17

This story about the “Prayer of the Donkey” reminded me of a carol from my childhood. I first learned this over 50 years ago, but you rarely hear it performed or sung anymore. Somebackground:

“The Friendly Beasts” is a traditionalChristmas song about the gifts that a donkey, cow, sheep, camel, and dove give to Jesus at the Nativity. The song seems to have originated in 12th-century France, set to the melody of the Latin song “Orientis Partibus”. The current English words were written by Robert Davis (1881-1950) in the 1920s. The song is also known as “The Song of the Ass”, The Donkey Carol”, “The Animal Carol”, and “The Gift of the Animals.”

You can find cover versions of this done by everyone from Garth Brooks to Burl Ives. But they rarely pop up on the radio anymore.

This one, with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brian Stokes Mitchell, is lovely—and his renderings of the different animal voices are clever.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
2
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
3
VENERABLE SANDRA SABATTINI
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
4
Theresa Civantos Barber
St. John Paul II’s perfect advice for lasting love in marriage
5
POPE JOHN PAUL II
Cerith Gardiner
A collection of Pope John Paul II’s quotes on some of life’s most...
6
WEB2-Bishop_Michael.jpg
John Burger
Once considered for top post in Anglican Church, former bishop be...
7
peace
Philip Kosloski
How kindness begins in your heart
See More