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Carol of the 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.






he 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. ] Burl Ives included the song on his 1952 album Christmas Day in the Morning. Since then, it has been recorded by many other artists, including Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, Danny Taddei, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Sufjan Stevens.