Christmas Song Story: The Friendly Beasts

The Friendly Beasts is another strong contender as one of the oldest Christmas songs. It was written in French about the animals surrounded Christ at the nativity. The song is about the gifts that five animals {a donkey, cow, sheep, camel and dove} brought to baby Jesus.  The song dates back to the 12th Century.

The French lyrics were set to the Latin melody of the song “Orientis Partibus”. Robert Davis translated the song into English 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.”

The song has been recorded by Burl Ives, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash and Peter, Paul and Mary.

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