The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #76485   Message #1357747
Posted By: CapriUni
15-Dec-04 - 01:15 PM
Thread Name: CapriUni's new Yule song: a little help?
Subject: RE: CapriUni's new Yule song: a little help?
I liked it better with the coal, as far as reading . . .

Alan C.'s Midi2Text program, from which I got the above ABC notation, doesn't acknowledge rests. So I went back and put them in.

The song might 'read' better with this:

T:Bells on the wind
C:Ann Magill

but i like the idea of him stealing them away better.

Yeah, me too (obviously). Simple naughtiness might warrant a lump of coal, or a birch switch. But real miserliness and cruelty deserve something harsher, I think.

I got many ideas for this song (and for the essay I posted here) from Phyllis Siefker's Santa Claus: Last of the Wild Men (MacFarland, 1997). But this post from dianavan let me know that such notions are not really all that ancient.

In dianavan's family tradition, Saint Nicholas and Black Pete are separate characters, but Ms. Siefker makes a convincing argument that the darker, Trickster character is the more ancient of the two, and the Saint Nicholas was made to lead him around in chains in an attempt to tame and Christianize him, and that eventually, he broke free and took the Saint's name with him. In early German-American communities, this character was known as Pelznichol, or Belsnickle (Furry Nicholas), and the author quotes this discription of an 18th century belsnickling night:

I went belsnickling several times when I was young. We went to every house in half a township where poor children were. When we had given what we could get from the people who could afford better, we went to some big farm houses for fun ... When we were done visiting the poor children and scared many of them before we did give them the the things, we made our headquarters on the farm. We had fiddles and other music.

As the fox is also a trickster character, maybe your tale of the fox and the bee (and the rat, and the cat, and the kid) is closer to being a Yule tale than you might think...