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Origins: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol)

DigiTrad:
CHERRY TREE CAROL
PICKLE CAROL
THE CHERRY TREE (3)
THE CHERRY TREE CAROL


Related threads:
Lyr Add: The Pickle Tree Carol (Lani Herrmann) (3)
(origins) Origins:Translating Old English: Cherry Tree Carol (29)


bad_gnu@yahoo.com 23 Jun 99 - 03:56 PM
katlaughing 23 Jun 99 - 04:04 PM
MMario 23 Jun 99 - 04:11 PM
DougR 23 Jun 99 - 04:18 PM
Joe Offer 23 Jun 99 - 04:19 PM
katlaughing 23 Jun 99 - 05:33 PM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Nov 02 - 07:08 PM
masato sakurai 27 Nov 02 - 07:23 PM
GUEST,cristoir@rochester.rr.com 13 Dec 02 - 10:45 PM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Dec 02 - 10:55 PM
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Subject: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol)
From: bad_gnu@yahoo.com
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 03:56 PM

I have been trying to find the lyrics to this song for several years. If anyone has them please email them to me. I would be more than grateful.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 04:04 PM

I have these in an old song book. I will post them in here later today.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: MMario
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 04:11 PM

there are (at least) three versions in the DT found several searching on [cherry tree]

MMario


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: DougR
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 04:18 PM

bad_gnu: If katlaughing doesn't come up with them, write me (rdrcons@aol.com). I have a recording by the Robert Shaw Chorale that has this beautiful old song on it. I'll copy them for you.

DougR


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 04:19 PM

....and if you search for [Joseph was an old man] in square brackets, you'll come up with the PICKLE CAROL. Wow!!!!
You'll also come up with what you want. No need to post the lyrics here, I'd guess.
-Joe Offer-


Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Cherry-Tree Carol, The [Child 54]

DESCRIPTION: Joseph and Mary are walking. Mary asks Joseph for some of the cherries they are passing by, since she is pregnant. Joseph tells her to let the baby's father get them. The unborn Jesus orders the tree to give Mary cherries. Joseph repents
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1768 (Gilbert MS)
KEYWORDS: carol Jesus religious
FOUND IN: US(Ap,NE,SE,So) Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) Canada(Mar,Ont,West)
REFERENCES (34 citations):
Child 54, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (4 texts)
Bronson 54, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (30 versions + 2 in an appendix, one of them being "Mary With Her Young Son"' in addition, #27 contains "The Holly Bears a Berry" and #29 a scrap of "The Holly and the Ivy")
Greig #160, p. 1, "The Cherry-Tree Carol"; Greig #164, p. 3, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text plus 1 fragment)
GreigDuncan2 327, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (2 texts plus 6 verses on p. 579)
BarryEckstormSmyth p. 446, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (notes only)
Flanders-Ancient2, pp. 70-73, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #9}
Randolph 12, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 fragmentary text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #30}
BrownII 15, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (2 texts)
Davis-Ballads 13, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text plus 2 fragments; the only substantial text, "A," begins with two verses clearly imported from something else; 1 tune) {Bronson's #14}
Morris, #155, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #23}
Ritchie-Southern, pp. 36-37, "Carol of the Cherry Tree" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 60, (no title) (1 single-stanza excerpt)
Moore-Southwest 16A, "Joseph and Mary"; 16B, "Joseph Was An Old Man" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 34-35, "Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text plus 1 fragment, 2 tunes) {Bronson's #22, #11}
Thomas-Makin', pp. 222-231, "(The Cherry Tree Carol)" (2 texts plus a fragment, 1 tune)
Leach, pp. 175-177, "The Cherry-Tree Carol" (2 texts)
Friedman, p. 59, "The Cherry-Tree Carol" (1 text, 1 tune)
Rickert, pp. 88-90, "The Cherry-Tree Carol" (1 text)
OBB 101, "The Cherry-Tree Carol" (1 text)
OBC 66, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text (separated into smaller parts, the last being "Mary With Her Young Son"), 4 tunes) {for the "First Tune" cf. Bronson's #1; the "Second Tune" is Bronson's #32}
Fowke/Johnston, pp. 128-129, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #22}
PBB 2, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Ian Bradley, _The Penguin Book of Carols_ (1999), #42, "Joseph Was an Old Man" (1 text)
Niles 23, "The Cherry Tree" (1 text, 1 tune)
SharpAp 15 "The Cherry-Tree Carol" (5 texts plus a fragment, 6 tunes) {Bronson's #28, #17, #16, #19, #15, #21}
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 12, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #16; cf. #20}
Wells, p. 187, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #16}
Hodgart, p. 151, "The Cherry-Tree Carol" (1 text)
Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 758, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 19, p. 47, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text)
Darling-NAS, pp. 40-42, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 380, "Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text)
DT 54, CHERTREE*
ADDITIONAL: Richard M. Dorson, _Buying the Wind: Regional Folklore in the United States_, University of Chicago Press, 1964, pp. 225-227, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (1 text)

Roud #453
RECORDINGS:
Maud Long, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (AFS; on LC14)
Jean Ritchie, "Cherry Tree Carol" (on JRitchie02)
Mrs. Lee Skeens, "The Cherry Tree Carol" (AFS; on LC57)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Mary With Her Young Son"
cf. "Joseph and Mary (Joseph Being an Aged Man, Joseph an Aged Man Truly)" (theme of Joseph's doubts)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Cherry Tree
Joseph and Mary
The Sixth of January
NOTES: This song is very similar to a passage in one of the Coventry Mystery Plays, cited on pp. 153-154 of Rickert, in which Mary and Joseph come upon a cherry tree out of season and it miraculously sprouts cherries for Mary -- after which the rest of the action proceeds as in the song (including a line, "Therefore let him pluck you cherries, begot you with child"). I would assume that both that tale and this song derive from the same legend, whatever it is.
The source is usually said to be the Infancy Gospel of the Pseudo-Matthew (Latin, ninth century). In that book, however, the miracle took place AFTER Jesus's birth. Joseph, Jesus, and Mary were fleeing from King Herod when Mary became faint. Joseph led her under a date palm to rest. Mary begged Joseph to get her some of the dates. Joseph was astonished; the tree was too tall to climb. But Jesus (who was no more than two years old) commanded the palm, "Bow down, tree, and refresh my mother with your fruit." And bow down it did, and remained so until Jesus ordered it to straighten up (and be carried into heaven)!
Miraculous cherries also occur in the Middle English romance of "Sir Cleges," which is one of the few romances of the period which appears to be entirely native to English soil.
The only part of this with any basis in the canonical gospels is Joseph's jealousy (Matt. 1:18-20) and the angel's announcement that Joseph should care for the child (Matt. 1:20-25 -- where, however, the message comes in a dream).
The link to the pseudo-Matthew is not universally accepted; Baring-Gould linked the thing to a tale in the Kalevala (canto L -- the very last canto of the book). In the story of the virgin Marjatta, a berry cries out to the girl (lines 81-94 on p. 634 of Kalevala-Kirby). Kalevala-Kirby calls the berry a cranberry, but Joseph-Larousse, p. 105, makes it a cherry. Marjatta -- whose very name means "berry" in Finnish, according to Kalevala-Kirby, p. 661 (although the resemblance to "Maria" is interesting) -- eats the berry, brings forth a boy, loses him, finds him, brings him to be baptized, and is condemned by Vanamoinen -- but the child defends himself and is baptized as a king. (Complications ensue, of course.)
The parallels are obviously interesting -- but it must be recalled that the Kalevala as assembled is more recent than the Cherry-Tree Carol; Elias Lonnrot published it in 1849 (Kalevala-Kirby, p. xi). Marjatta's tale may be older than the compiled Kalevala, but it is much more likely that both stories come from common roots.
An even more interesting parallel than either of those is in the Quran. In Surah 3:46 ("The Imrans"), Jesus "will preach to men in his cradle"; the statement is repeated in 5:110 ("The Table"). More amazing, though, is 19:22f. ("Mary" or, in more literal translations, "Mariam"): Mary, as she goes into labor, wishes she had died. The child speaks up and commands the date-palm to feed her. Later, as the unmarried Mary comes among her people, she is accused of whoredom. She points to the infant Jesus, who justifies her from the cradle.
The direct source of the song may be related to the mystery plays. Evelyn Kendrick Wells, The Ballad Tree, Ronald Press, 1950, p. 183, quotes the Coventry mystery play cycle, in which Mary says,
Now good Lord, I pray the, graunt me this boun,
To have of these cheries, & it be yo' wylle;
Now, I thonk the god, this tre bowyth to me down,
I may now gadyr anowe, & etyn to my fylle.
It is perhaps interesting that, in the carol, it is the *cherry* tree that bows down. Various legends swirl about the cherry, including one from China that associates it with female sexuality (Pickering, p. 55; the English parallel is presumably obvious). There is also a Swiss legend that offers cherries to new mothers.
The legend that Joseph was old when he married Mary has no direct scriptural basis. It is true that, at this time, Jewish husbands were often older than their wives (RankEtAl, p. 212), but this isn't proof of anything. The only early testimony seems to be from the Protevangelium Jacobi or Infancy Gospel of James. In what Hone calls chapter 8, verse 13, Joseph -- upon being told to wed Mary, who had been brought up as a virgin in the Temple but now was being put out because she had reached puberty -- declares, "I am an old man, and have children, but she is young, and I fear that I should appear ridiculous in Israel" (Hone, p. 29; there is a somewhat looser translation on p. 388 of Barnstone as well as p. 387 of CompleteGospels; in CompleteGospels, it is chapter 9, verse 8; in Cartlidge/Dungan, p. 15, it is chapter 9, verse 5). We also find Joseph's sons accompanying Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem (CompleteGospels, 17:5, p. 392=Cartlidge/Dungan 17:4, p. 20=Hone, 12:5, p. 32, but Hone's translation is not parallel to the other two).
The Protevangelium also mentions the famous but un-scriptural detail of Mary and Joseph sheltering in a cave rather than a stable as in the Gospel of Luke (CompleteGospels, 18:1, p. 392=Cartlidge/Dungan 18:1, p. 21=Hone, 13:1, p. 33). It also claims that a midwife found Mary still a virgin after the birth -- miraculously, obviously.
After Mary and Joseph reach the cave, Joseph goes out and has a vision, as is found in some long versions of the Cherry-Tree Carol. The vision is found in CompleteGospels, 18:3-11, p. 392=Hone, 13:2-11, p. 32)-- but the two versions (based on different manuscripts) bears little resemblance to each other, and neither resembles the angel's conversation with Joseph in the Carol. The earliest witness to the Protevangelium, Papyrus Bodmer V, omits the passage entirely, causing Cartlidge/Dungan to include it on pp. 21-22 in double brackets, indicating a later insertion. Cartlidge/Dungan number it 18:2-7.
Hone, p. 24, suggests that the Protevangelium Jacobi was originally written in Hebrew, and claims there was a Latin translation. However, Barnstone, pp. 384-385, says that "No Latin manuscript survived the early condemnation of the book in the west."
Very little of what Hone says has held up any better. Although Jordan, p. 1, discusses the possibility that the book is by James the brother of Jesus, or James son of Zebedee, or the "other" James of Mark 15:40 (said to be the author in the Gelasian Decree of c. 495 C.E.), he goes on to note that the author did not know Palestinian geography, a strong argument against the possibility that it is by any of them. As for the language, Wake is the only scholar cited on p. 6 of Jordan to think a Hebrew original a possibility; almost everyone else argues for Greek. Barnstone also (p. 385) quotes Ron Cameron to the effect that it is full of allusions to the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The weight of evidence for a Greek original frankly appears overwhelming.
Jordan on p. 2 cites three scholars who thought it might be from the first century -- but goes on to note nine scholars who date it to the late second century (which still makes it relatively early for an apocryphal gospel). To these nine I can add that CompleteGospels, p. 381, dates it to the middle of the second century. Barnstone, p. 384, says that the book can hardly have been written before 150 C.E., and said that Jerome, translator of the Vulgate, condemned it (pp. 383-384).
The latest date I have seen is Harnack's, who argued for the fourth century (Jordan, p. 6). This late date can now be set aside; the latest possible date is the end of the third century, since Papyrus Bodmer V, found in Egypt and forming the basis for the Cartlidge/Dungan translation, is dated paleographically to 300 C.E. or shortly earlier (which, incidentally, makes it older than our oldest complete copy of any of the canonical gospels, although two other Bodmer papyri, known as P66 and P75, contain large portions of John from the third century, and P75 also contains a big chunk of Luke; there are earlier fragments of all four canonical gospels). But there is very little other early evidence of its existence; the other manuscripts cited in Tischendorf's nineteenth century Greek edition are all tenth century or later (Jordan, p. 3).
Barnstone, p. 384, notes manuscripts in Greek, Syriac (Aramaic), Armenian, Ethiopic (proto-Amharic), Georgian, and Old Church Slavonic. Jordan, p. 6. also mentions a Sahidic Coptic text -- but says the majority of manuscripts are in Greek or Slavonic. In 1980, de Strycker counted 140 Greek manuscripts (Jordan, p. 6) -- an amazing number for a non-canonical work. Even more amazing, parts of it turn up in Greek lectionaries.
I can't help but note that some manuscripts of the Protevangelium Jacobi make Mary only twelve years old at the time of the conception, and none makes her more than seventeen (Barnstone, p. 392). Yes, folks, the author of this book thought God was a pedophile!
It is perhaps worth mentioning that large portions of the Protevangelium Jacobi were incorporated into the Pseudo-Matthew Gospel (Jordan, p. 5) so often cited as the source of this Carol.
Since the Protevangelium did not survive in Latin, it is probably not the direct source for the Carol's claim that Joseph was old. Pseudo-Matthew is a more likely source. But it is not absolutely necessary to assume either as the source. The story seems to have been widespread -- presumably because it fit the sort of thinking that early church fathers loved. The logic is indirect: Mary was still alive at the time of Jesus's ministry (Mark 3:31fff. and parallels), death (John 19:25fff.), and resurrection (Acts 1:14). Joseph, however, is not mentioned anywhere in the context of Jesus's ministry; the only mentions of him as a living man are in the infancy portions of Matthew and Luke. Thus the assumption was that he was dead at the time of Jesus's ministry, and hence implicitly that he was much older than Mary.
Assuming Joseph was dead allowed the Church to solve another problem: The mention of brothers of Jesus (James and others are mentioned in Mark 6:3 and parallels, and James alone in Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18, Gal. 1:19, etc.) when it was maintained (again on no scriptural basis) that Mary was a perpetual virgin: The argument (which obviously matches the argument of the Protevangelium Jacobi) was that Mary was Joseph's second wife, and Jesus's brothers were in fact half brothers: Joseph's children by the previous wife. (Making them, genetically if not legally, no brothers of Jesus at all.)
This cannot be disproved, of course. But two points need to be made. To begin with, we have only two canonical date pegs for the life of Jesus: First, he was born in the reign of Herod the Great (so both Matthew and Luke), and second, he was active in ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius the Caesar (Luke 3:1).
Herod the Great is known to have died in 4 B.C.E (Josephus/Marcus/Wikgren, p. 459; Antiquities XVII.191 in the Loeb numbering, or XVIII,viii.1 in the older editions)., meaning that Jesus must have been born by that year. There are inferential reasons to think he was born in 6 or 7 B.C.E. -- Herod, after all, ordered the killing of all children under two years old (Matthew 2:16).
Tiberius succeeded the emperor Augustus in 14 C.E. Thus his fifteenth year was probably 29 C.E. Jesus was very likely crucified in 30 C.E. This means that he was probably at least 36 years old at the time of the crucifixion.
So if Joseph had been a young man of 22 when he married Mary, he would have had to live to at least age 58 to be around when Jesus died. Lots of people in Roman Palestine died before age 58! The fact that Joseph was almost certainly dead in 30 C.E. is no evidence at all for the claim that he was old in 6 B.C.E. It's possible, but not all that likely.
The other evidence, about Jesus's brothers, is also weak. James is the one member of Jesus's family to be mentioned outside the Bible: Josephus/Feldman, pp. 107-109 (Josephus, Antiquities XX.200 in the Loeb edition, XX.ix.1 in older editions) say that James was stoned to death soon after the Judean procurator Festus died. Festus, we know from Josephus, died in 62 (Josephus/Feldman, pp. 106-107). James, under the "son of Joseph's first wife" theory, would have had to be at least seventy at this time, and probably -- since he is always the first-mentioned of Jesus's four brothers -- closer to eighty. Certainly possible, but it's a lot easier to assume James was born after Jesus, and hence only in his sixties or perhaps even younger. I stress that there is no proof, but the strong weight of evidence is that Joseph was *not* old when Jesus was born.
One other crazy idea, which strikes me as even less likely than most of the preceding: That this story is somehow connected with Chaucer's "Merchant's Tale," in which the old lecher January purchases a young wife May, then goes blind; she is having sex with her young lover Damian in a tree when January recovers his sight, sees what is going on -- but is convinced it didn't mean what he thought.
According to ChaucerHussey, p. 28, "The final episode [of the Merchant's Tale], the tree-tryst, may be traced to a variety of sources, both oral and written. A version such as that known as The Enchanted Pear Tree was probably known to Chaucer. A more daring parallel exists in the legend that inspired the Cherry Tree Carol, one in which the husband Joseph (some legends say suspicious of his wife's mysterious pregnancy) has to satisfy the longing of Mary for cherries. A fresh dimension is added to the entire sequence if it is recalled that the pear has been held as a male sexual-symbol...." - RBW
Bibliography
  • Barnstone: Willis Barnstone, editor, The Other Bible, Harper & Row, 1984
  • Cartlidge/Dungan, David R. Cartlidge and David L. Dungan, translators and editors, Sourcebook of Texts for the Comparative Study of the Gospels, second edition, Society of Biblical Literature, 1972 (despite being a second edition, this is simply a spiral-bound copy of a set of typescripts, and several texts shown in the table of contents are not included; presumably some later version added these materials, necessarily changing the pagination)
  • ChaucerHussey: The Merchant�s Prologue and Tale from the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, edited with Introduction, Notes, and Glossary by Maurice Hussey, Cambridge University Press, 1966; minor corrections 1968; new appendix 1975
  • CompleteGospels: Robert J. Miller, editor, The Complete Gospels (Annotated Scholars Version), revised third edition, Harper Collins, 1994
  • Hone: William Hone, The Apocryphal New Testament: Being All the Gospels, Epistles, and Other Pieces Now Extant, 1820. This has been republished, often with modifications and expurgations, many times; a copy of the 1847 edition is available on Google Books. Because reading paper is easier than reading PDFs, my references are to the 1979 Bell edition published as The Lost Books of the Bible with a new (but extremely inacccurate) preface by Solomon J. Schepps. The actual book appears to be a facsimile copy of one of the older editions (probably that of 1926)
  • Jones-Larousse: Alison Jones, Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore, Larousse, 1995 (I use the 1996 paperback edition)
  • Jordan: Chris Jordan, "Protevangelium Jacobi (PJ): An Introduction," online article, undated but after 1998
  • Josephus/Feldman: L. H. Feldman, translator, Josephus: Jewish Antiquities: Book XX, the tenth volume in the 10 volume Loeb translation of Josephus (and #456 in the Loeb Classical Library), Harvard University Press, 1965
  • Josephus/Marcus/Wikgren: Ralph Marcus and Allen Wikgren, translators, Josephus: Jewish Antiquities: Books XV-XVII, the eighth volume in the 10 volume Loeb translation of Josephus (and #410 in the Loeb Classical Library), Harvard University Press, 1963
  • Kalevala-Kirby: Kalevala, translated by W. F. Kirby, 1907, with a new introduction and notes by M. A. Branch, Athlone Press, 1985
  • Pickering: David Pickering, The Cassell Dictionary of Folklore, Cassell, 1999
  • RankEtAl: In Quest of the Hero, consisting of "The Myth of the Birth of the Hero," by Otto Rank; "The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth, and Drama, Part II," by Lord Raglan; "The Hero Pattern and the Life of Jesus," by Alan Dundes, with an introduction by Robert A. Segal, Princeton, 1990
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Subject: RE: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Jun 99 - 05:33 PM

Na-Na! Guess you guys showed me! Duh! I didn't even think to look in the DT. I was showing off to my brother. I looked at teh ones int he DT; there are slight variations in the version I have, i.e. he didn't wed the Virgin Mary, it was sweet Mary, and a few others.

If the original poster wants others, I still can post.

katlaughing


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:08 PM

At some point I looked this carol up, and found references to the earliest known telling of this set of miracles, in about the fifth century, in one of the books of the apocrypha, which told the story as being a palm tree, during the flight into Egypt. Fast forward to fifteenth century England (or sometime thereabouts), when the palm tree had become our cherry tree in the ancestor of this carol.

Now, the trouble is that I have lost track of where I found this information, and I'd like to check what that source said. Does anyone know what I'm talking about here, or have ideas about how to direct me?

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyrics Req:Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 27 Nov 02 - 07:23 PM

It's based on a story in The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, where it was a palm tree:

Chapter 20.
    And it came to pass on the third day of their journey, while they were walking, that the blessed Mary was fatigued by the excessive heat of the sun in the desert; and seeing a palm tree, she said to Joseph: Let me rest a little under the shade of this tree. Joseph therefore made haste, and led her to the palm, and made her come down from her beast. And as the blessed Mary was sitting there, she looked up to the foliage of the palm, and saw it full of fruit, and said to Joseph: I wish it were possible to get some of the fruit of this palm. And Joseph said to her: I wonder that thou sayest this, when thou seest how high the palm tree is; and that thou thinkest of eating of its fruit. I am thinking more of the want of water, because the skins are now empty, and we have none wherewith to refresh ourselves and our cattle. Then the child Jesus, with a joyful countenance, reposing in the bosom of His mother, said to the palm: O tree, bend thy branches, and refresh my mother with thy fruit. And immediately at these words the palm bent its top down to the very feet of the blessed Mary; and they gathered from it fruit, with which they were all refreshed. And after they had gathered all its fruit, it remained bent down, waiting the order to rise from Him who bad commanded it to stoop. Then Jesus said to it: Raise thyself, O palm tree, and be strong, and be the companion of my trees, which are in the paradise of my Father; and open from thy roots a vein of water which has been hid in the earth, and let the waters flow, so that we may be satisfied from thee. And it rose up immediately, and at its root there began to come forth a spring of water exceedingly clear and cool and sparkling. And when they saw the spring of water, they rejoiced with great joy, and were satisfied, themselves and all their cattle and their beasts. Wherefore they gave thanks to God.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: GUEST,cristoir@rochester.rr.com
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 10:45 PM

If the question you are asking is where did you find the information
on the transformation of the apocryphal gospel palm tree to the English cherry tree, the place I would look is the Oxford Book of Carols (or the New Oxford Book of Carols, depending on what edition you found). That title has a load of information on the background of of hundreds of Christmas carols (famous and obscure alike).

Chris Brennan
cristoir@rochester.rr.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 10:55 PM

But better to refer to The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (vol.II, p.1), where the matter is gone into in more depth.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CHERRY TREE CAROL
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 11:31 PM

The version in The Oxford Book of Ballads, ed. Arthur Quiller-Couch, differs from the DT version. Here is item 101, The C. T. C. from the Oxford Book of Ballads, 1910.

THE CHERRY TREE CAROL

Joseph was an old man,
And an old man was he,
When he wedded Mary
In the land of Galilee.

Joseph and Mary walk'd
Through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries
So red as any blood.

Joseph and Mary walk'd
Through an orchard green,
Where was berries and cherries
As thick as might be seen.

O then bespoke Mary,
So meek and so mild,
'Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
For I am with child.'

O then bespoke the babe
Within his mother's womb,
'Bow down then the tallest tree
For my mother to have some.'

Then bow'd down the highest tree
Unto his mother's hand:
Then she cried, 'See, Joseph,
I have cherries at command.'

O then bespake Joseph-
'I have done Mary wrong;
But cheer up, my dearest,
And be not cast down.

'O eat your cherries, Mary,
O eat your cherries now;
O eat your cherries, Mary,
That grow upon the bough.'

Then Mary pluck'd a cherry
As red as the blood;
Then Mary went home
With her heavy load.

As Joseph was a-walking,
He heard an angel sing:
'This night shall be born
Our heavenly King.

'He neither shall be born
In housen nor in hall,
Nor in the place of Paradise,
But in an ox's stall.

'He neither shall be clothéd
In purple nor in pall,
But all in fair linen,
As were babies all.

'He neither shall be rock'd
In silver nor in gold,
But in a wooden cradle
That rocks on the mould.

He neither shall be christen'd
In white wine nor red,
But with fair spring water
With which we were christenéd.

Then Mary took her young son
And set him on her knee;
'I pray thee now, dear child,
Tell how this world shall be.'-

'O I shall be as dead, mother,
As the stones in the wall;
O the stones in the street, mother,
Shall mourn for me all.

'And upon a Wednesday
My vow I will make,
And upon Good Friday
My death I will take.

'Upon Easter-day, mother,
My uprising shall be;
O the sun and the moon, mother,
Shall both rise with me!'

(pall- fine cloth; place- palace)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Dec 02 - 11:46 PM

The Oxford Book's version seems to be an amalgamation of Child's A and B.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE CHERRY TREE CAROL (Kentucky version)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 12:28 AM

The Cherry Tree Carol (Child No. 54) was collected in Kentucky by Sharp (also in Sharp and Karpeles 1932) in 1917 from William Wooten. This is from Bronson, Group Ad, 16.

THE CHERRY TREE CAROL

When Joseph was a young man,
A young man was he,
He courted Virgin Mary,
The Queen of Galilee,
He courted Virgin Mary,
The Queen of Galilee.

As Joseph and Mary
Were walking one day,
Here is apples and cherries
Enough to behold.

Then Mary spoke to Joseph
So neat (meek?) and so mild:
Joseph, gather me some cherries,
For I am with child.

Then Joseph flew in angry,
In angry he flew:
Let the father of the baby
Gather cherries for you.

Lord Jesus spoke a few words
All down unto them:
Bow low down, low down, cherry tree,
Let the mother have some.

The cherry tree bowed low down
Low down to the ground,
And Mary gathered cherries
While Joseph stood around.

Then Joseph took Mary
All on his right knee.
He cried: O Lord, have mercy
For what have I done.

An Joseph took Mary
All on his left knee.
Pray tell me, little baby,
When your birthday will be?

On the fifth day of January
My birthday will be,
When the stars and the elements
Doth tremble with fear.

A piece of sheet music is given.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 11:10 AM

It was "the sixth day of January" that was Old Christmas.

Linn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 11:31 AM

I shall use some of those verses.
Could someone explain Old Christmas please. Bat Goddess?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 11:46 AM

“Old Christmas” is really December 25 but reckoned on the Julian calendar, the calendar used by the ancient Church and still in use today by some Eastern Churches. Today, Old Calendar Christmas falls on January 7; the difference grows by another day every 130 years. Since this carol is very old it stems from a time when the churches of the British Isles had not yet adopted the Gregorian calendar. It's quite possible that there are versions of The Cherry Tree Carol in which the date of Christmas ranges anywhere from January 4 to January 7, depending on when they were written down.

The most common date in the carol is January 6 and this causes some people to equate the date with the Feast of the Epiphany which is celebrated on January 6. Old Calendar Epiphany is also on January 6 which falls on January 20 in the Gregorian Calendar. The reference in the carol, however, refers to Christmas and not to Epiphany.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 12:21 PM

A speedy and full answer. Thanks, but still puzzled.
If the date was alays Dec 27th, the early carrollers must have been on the new callender, but using the date which equates to the day on which it fell under the old callender. Have I got it?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 12:48 PM

Yes, you've got it.

The ancient Church moved Christmas to December 25 pretty early on, somewhere in the fourth or fifth century I think. All Churches and demoninations celebrate on December 25 today. The difference is only in which calendar they use.

When the Gregorian Calendar was adopted by Rome in 1582 it was in force only within the Roman Empire. Setting the calendar right in 1582 meant removing 10 days from the month of October that year and fiddling with the leap year adjustment so the calendar would stay in synch with astronomical observation.

The Eastern Churh and, I believe, the Church of England—created in 1534—didn't immediately adopt the new “Papist” calendar. Not only was it Roman Catholic, it meant that important dates in “God's sacred calendar” were now gone. Over time, governments adopted the Gregorian calendar for practical reasons having to do with synchronicity and commerce but many churches never adopted it. The last government to accept the Gregorian calendar did so early in the 20th century.

Since Christmas is a religious holiday, it's date was set by the Church, not by governments. When governments began adopting the Gregorian calendar, Christmas started showing up in January, at least until the Church adopted the Gregorian Calendar as well.

      - Mark


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Subject: Tune Add: THE CHERRY TREE CAROL (Kentucky version)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 03:34 PM

Here is the tune for William Wooton's set as quoted above.

X:1
T:The Cherry Tree Carol
S:William Wooton, Hindman, Knott County, Kentucky. Sept.21, 1917.
N:Noted by Cecil Sharp
N:Pentatonic. Mode 3.
N:Child 54, Roud 453.
B:Maud Karpeles (ed.), English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, 1932.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:3/4
K:G
G2|(Bd) Hd2 e d|(BA) G2 (ed)|(dB) d2 (eB)|
w:When Jo-*seph was a young_ man, A_ young_ man was_
d4 (BA)|G3 B A G|E2 D2 (DE)|G E D2 G2|
w:he, He_ court-ed Vir-gin Ma-ry, The_ Queen of Ga-li-
B4 (BA)|G3 B A G|(ED) D2 (DE)|G E D2 B2|G4|]
w:lee, He_ court-ed Vir-gin Ma-*ry, The_ Queen of Ga-li-lee.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 04:02 PM

Many Ukrainians settled in the Alberta-Manitoba region of Canada, and in the States as well. Members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church still observe Christmas on January 7. Christmas Eve calls for a Holy Supper, at which at least 12 different dishes must be served, including the mandatory Kutia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Joe_F
Date: 14 Dec 02 - 06:16 PM

I love that line "While Joseph stood around". It is obviously an American interpolation, but it is perfectly in the spirit of the original.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: open mike
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 01:49 AM

What's Kutia??
I love Ukranian "easter" eggs--
there is a belief that the people
who decotate them keep
the world revolving by keeping
the tradition of making these
Pysanka eggs alive.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 01:44 PM

A small observation, not provable- when we used to sing this ballad, around Chrismastime, the oldtimers would explain that, back when the calendar was changed, there was so much disagreement and arguments that someone actually added the verse, "On the sixth day of January my birthday shall be..." as an annonymous protest to the moving of Christmas to December 25. It makes sense, but is it true?

I remember my Granny Catty Ritchie being still quite touchy on the subject of the Christmas date, and she ALWAYS observed Old Christmas, telling us in no uncertain terms that December 25th was just "a newfangled notion..."

Another observation: "...while Joseph stood around," could refer to a command sometimes given to one's horse, to get him/her into position at the mounting block, or treestump, for a lady or child, for instance: "Here! Stand-around now! Stand-around!" The inferance here would be that the unborn infant Jesus was giving God's command to bring Joseph to obedience.   At least, being farmdwellers, we always just assumed that was what it meant, in the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 15 Dec 02 - 02:30 PM

Kutia is prepared with cooked wheat and a syrup containing diluted honey, grated poppy seeds, walnuts, etc. In my area, the poppy seeds are left whole (as in poppy seed cake).
I looked for a good reference, and this one seems authentic, and gives recipes through a link. Christmas Traditions
I have a small collection of Pysanky. Some of the work is amazing in its detail.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Kim C
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 01:40 PM

I always figured Joseph was standing around because he was chagrined and embarrassed at the astonishing turn of events. :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: radriano
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 01:50 PM

Here's the version of "The Cherry Tree Carol" that I used to sing with my former band Out of the Rain. We recorded it on our first cassette.


THE CHERRY TREE CAROL traditional

As Joseph and Mary walked through an orchard green
They saw cherries and saw berries fair to be seen
As Joseph and Mary walked through the woods
The saw berries and cherries red as any blood

Oh then bespoke Mary so meek and so mild
Saying pluck me one cherry for I'm with child
Then bespoke Joseph with words unkind
Let him pluck thee a cherry that got thee with child

Oh then bespoke the baby within his mother's womb
Saying bow down you tall tree and give my mother some
Then bowed down the cherry tree unto his mother's hand
Then cries Mary, look see Joseph, I've cherries at command

Then Mary plucked a cherry as red as any blood
Then she went home with her heavy load
Then Mary took her baby all on her knee
Saying my dear son, tell me, what this world will be

Oh, I shall be as dead as the stones in the wall
Oh, the stones in the street shall mourn me all
Upon Easter day, uprisen I'll be
For the sun and the moon shall both rise with me


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Joe_F
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 06:32 PM

Kim C: Yes, that's what I thought too. But "stand around" in the sense "stand idly by" (especially when said of one person) is very American, and its appearance in a song that is a good deal older than my country has a certain charm for me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: nutty
Date: 16 Dec 02 - 07:10 PM

The version here in the Bodleian Library is said to date from between 1817 and 1827

Joseph was an old man

It's similar to the version posted earlier from the Oxford Book of Ballads


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 12:58 PM

FYI, I believe old Christmas is now Jan 8th and the song "should" be corrected to that. Please see Other thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 10:29 PM

Granny's Old Christmas song was always, "Brightest and Best," sung and hummed in her creaky old voice as she sat with chair pulled in close to the hearthfire and waited for midnight on January 5. Our huge Yule log kept the fire going almost a week, night and day. Strange, how one's GOOD memories keep as a picture in the mind, and always tinged with a golden glow.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 10:57 PM

Abby, I'm very interested in the source for your information about Old Christmas on January 8. Please refer to my post on the other thread.

Many areas of “the colonies” were settled prior to 1752(?) when the British Empire still used the Julian Calendar. It's easy to understand why people may have been reluctant to move their religious observances to the new dates. I suppose it's possible that remote settlements may not have heard about the new calendar for a long time after it was officially adopted.

Jean, Do you have any family or regional history dealing with the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar?

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Dec 02 - 11:21 PM

Mark, I am in the wrong century for the Ukrainians and Russians. The Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox Churchs celebrate on January 7.

But I just checked the Greek Orthodox Church. They celebrate January 8! So is Abby Sale 33 1/3 right? (my score 0)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 23 Dec 02 - 03:22 PM

No, the Greeks celebrate on December 25, New Calendar. Here is a link to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America for reference and verification. The North American Archdiocese remains in synch with the Ecumenical Patriarch.

      - Mark


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Subject: Lyr Add: CHERRY TREE CAROL
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Dec 10 - 10:19 AM

From Ancient Mysteries Described: Especially the English Miracle Plays... by William Hone (London: William Hone, 1823), page 90

Mary's longing for the fruit on the cherry tree, and Joseph's refusal to gather it for her on the return of his jealousy, a remarkable scene in one of the Coventry Plays,* is the subject of a Christmas Carol still sung in London, and many parts of England.

From various copies of it printed at different places I am enabled to present the following version:

CHERRY TREE CAROL

Joseph was an old man,
And an old man was he;
And he married Mary,
Queen of Galilee.

When Joseph was married,
And his cousin Mary got,
Mary proved big with child,
By whom Joseph knew not.

As Joseph and Mary
Walk'd through the garden gay,
Where the cherries they grew
Upon every tree;

O! then bespoke Mary,
With words both meek and mild,
"Gather me some cherries, Joseph,
They run so in my mind;
Gather me some cherries,
For I am with child."

O! then bespoke Joseph,
With words most unkind,
"Let him gather thee cherries,
That got thee with child."

O! then bespoke Jesus,
All in his mother's womb,
"Go to the tree, Mary,
And it shall bow down;

"Go to the tree, Mary,
And it shall bow to thee,
And the highest branch of all
Shall bow down to Mary's knee,

"And she shall gather cherries
By one, by two, by three."
"Now you may see, Joseph,
Those cherries were for me."

O eat your cherries, Mary;
O! eat your cherries now;
O! eat your cherries, Mary,
That grow on the bough.

As Joseph was a walking,
He heard an angel sing—
"This night shall be born
Our heavenly king;

"He neither shall be born
In housen, nor in hall,
Nor in the place of Paradise,
But in an ox's stall;

"He neither shall be clothed
In purple nor in pall,
But all in fair linen,
As were babies all:

"He neither shall be rock'd
In silver nor in gold,
But in a wooden cradle,
That rocks on the mould;

"He neither shall be christen'd
In white wine nor in red,
But with the spring water
With which we were christened."

Then Mary took her young Son,
And set him on her knee—
"I pray thee now, dear Child,
Tell how this world shall be?"

"This world shall be like
The stones in the street,
For the sun and the moon
Shall bow down at thy feet;

"And upon a Wednesday,
My vow I will make,
And upon Good Friday
My death I will take;

"And upon the third day
My uprising shall be,
And the sun and the moon
Shall rise up with me."

* Mystery VIII. p. 67, ante.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Richie
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 11:18 PM

Hi,

Maybe someone can clarify this for me. On this site, http://www.hymnsandcarolsofchristmas.com/Hymns_and_Carols/Notes_On_Carols/cherry_tree_carol-notes.htm


is the following:

And in approximately 1884, The Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, while teaching carols to a party of mill-girls, began to relate the carol by Dr. H. J. Gauntlett, "Saint Joseph was a-walking," [As Joseph Was A Walking] when they interrupted him, saying "'Nay ! we know one a deal better nor yond;' and, lifting up their voices, they sang, to a curious old strain,—

"Sant Joseph was an old man,
And an old man was he ;
He married sweet Mary,
And a Virgin was she.

"And as they were walking
In the garden so green,
She spied some ripe cherries
Hanging over you treen.

Yet the same information is given in Carols for use in church during Christmas and Epiphany - Page xix by Richard Robert Chope - 1876.

https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&tbo=1&q=%22Sant+Joseph+was+an+old+man%22&btnG=

I was teaching carols to a party of mill-girls in the West Riding of Yorkshire, some ten years ago, and amongst them that by Dr. Gauntlett—

"Saint Joseph was a walking "—

when they burst out with "Nay! we know one a deal better nor yond;" and, lifting up their voices, they sang, to a curious old strain,—

"Sant Joseph was an old man,
And an old man was he;
He married sweet Mary,
And a Virgin was she.

Was it Baring-Gould? Chope?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Richie
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 11:29 PM

The other question this raises is:

Since this was published in 1876, why wasn't his mentioned by Child? It's clearly a traditional version althought incomplete.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 04:35 AM

Chope; he's writing in the first person. Also, when sayings or stories are remembered better than the person directly involved, they often have a tendency to migrate to somebody more famous. Baring-Gould isn't that big a celebrity, admittedly, but he's better known than Richard Chope!

As for why Child didn't include it, the simplest explanation is that he just never came across it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 10:30 AM

Richie

If you look at the hymn site notes at the bottom of the page, you'll see that the quote is from Baring-Gould's introduction to Chope's book. (
Full Introduction elsewhere on the site). The story is presumably from the time Baring-Gould lived in Yorkshire.


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 11:01 AM

How wrong you can be! Ta, Mick.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 11:26 AM

Richie

Do you know that Baring-Gould's letters to Child are available online? They're on the EFDSS Take Six pages. If you open the Tree View link on the right of the search area and open the Baring-Gould leaf, the Child correspondence is one of the sections under that.

The Cherry-Tree Carol doesn't appear as a heading there, but I didn't read through the letters, so it may be referred to there. It's possible that he didn't mention it to Child and Child didn't come across the book reference.

I wish I'd got the Child's Unfinished Masterpiece (Mary Ellen Brown) for Christmas, as I'd intended (but didn't). It's be interesting to see if it has anything to say. Perhaps Steve or Brian can offer some help.

Mick


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