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Origins: The Friendly Beasts (Christmas)

Related threads:
Tune Req: friendly beast (14)
Lyr Add: Orientis Partibus (anon. medieval carol) (10)
Tune Add: Orientis Partibus (8)
Lyr/Tune Req: Sir Donkey? / Orientis Partibus (4)


GUEST,Sonja 02 Dec 01 - 02:30 PM
wildlone 02 Dec 01 - 03:40 PM
MMario 02 Dec 01 - 08:27 PM
Genie 03 Dec 01 - 02:33 AM
MMario 03 Dec 01 - 09:28 AM
Genie 03 Dec 01 - 03:41 PM
MMario 03 Dec 01 - 03:56 PM
GUEST,Sonja 03 Dec 01 - 10:30 PM
MMario 04 Dec 01 - 09:21 AM
Mrrzy 04 Dec 01 - 12:04 PM
MMario 04 Dec 01 - 12:23 PM
Genie 04 Dec 01 - 06:22 PM
Genie 04 Dec 01 - 06:23 PM
Genie 10 Dec 01 - 03:38 PM
John J 12 Dec 01 - 11:45 AM
Mary in Kentucky 19 Dec 01 - 11:14 PM
Genie 20 Dec 01 - 12:39 AM
Genie 20 Dec 01 - 12:57 AM
katlaughing 20 Dec 01 - 01:10 AM
GUEST,Dale 20 Dec 01 - 01:28 AM
Genie 20 Dec 01 - 02:39 AM
MMario 20 Dec 01 - 08:35 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 20 Dec 01 - 11:17 AM
GUEST,Argenine 22 Dec 01 - 04:58 AM
GUEST,Sonja 16 Jan 02 - 09:02 PM
Genie 04 Dec 02 - 02:11 PM
Haruo 04 Dec 02 - 03:43 PM
KateG 05 Dec 02 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,Sonja 05 Dec 02 - 05:50 PM
Haruo 06 Dec 02 - 12:05 AM
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Subject: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 02:30 PM

I heard a few years ago of a legend about the first Christmas, in which Mary could not get baby Jesus to go to sleep.  All the people (Joseph, shepherds, etc.), angels, and other animals (cows, sheep, doves, etc.) tried, but no one could lull him to slumber.  Then a little tabby cat jumped up into the manger and purred him to sleep.  Mary was so grateful that she kissed the tabby cat on the forehead--and to this very day, all tabbies have an "M" on their forehead.  (It's more distinct on some tabbiest than others, but it's always there, though it sometimes looks like two inverted "V"s.)

After hearing of this legend, I wrote the tabby cat into the old (15th C.?) French carol, "The Frienly Beasts"  (which is in the current Unitarian Hymnal under the title "Jesus, Our Brother.")   Here is my verse to honor the tabby cat.  It needs to come right after the verse about the doves cooing him to sleep.

Sonja
 

"Wait, neow," said the tabby cat, silken-furred.
"To sing him to sleep it took more than those birds!
So to lull him to slumber, I softly pur-r-r-r-r-r'd."
"I," said the tabby cat, silken-furred.

© 1994 Sonja W. Oates


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: wildlone
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 03:40 PM

Click here
Thank you for the info.
The Yetties heard my mother sing this and they now use it in their christmas concerts but I did not know how old it was.
With what you posted and google I can tell them.
dave


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: MMario
Date: 02 Dec 01 - 08:27 PM

Sonja! That is lovely - I sing a version of the 'Friendly Beasts' - may I use your verse, please?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 02:33 AM

Sure, MMario,
As with other things posted at Mudcat, I understand the idea is that folks may use them noncommercially at will.   For me, that means I don't care if you sing my verse in a paid gig, even, but if you record it, I want a bundle, naturally!   ; )

However, I typed the verse inaccurately above.  Here is the correct version:

"Wait, neow," said the tabby cat, silken-furred.
 "To keep him from crying took more than those birds!
 So to lull him to slumber, I softly pur-r-r-r-r-r'd."
 "I," said the tabby cat, silken-furred.

 © 1994 Sonja W. Oates
 
 

Sonja

BTW, the French carol dates back to the 12th C.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: MMario
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 09:28 AM

well - I like to ask anyway...and If I ever record anything I'll not only ask but pay as appropriate...(tho who would ever be stupid enough to buy a CD of me, I can't imagine)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 03:41 PM

Is this the version you sing, MMario?

Animals' Christmas Eve

Genie

This thread here has the original tune, which apparently has been 'majorized' in recent years.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: MMario
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 03:56 PM

No - I sing a "version" which is cobbled together from various sources - usually the donkey, cow, sheep, dove, and rooster, and a final verse - but would love adding in the cat after the dove. sometimes do an introductory verse. I thought this was in the DT - but can't find it today.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 03 Dec 01 - 10:30 PM

I could not find it in either the DT or the forum, though it is mentioned in some threads, so here are the lyrics minus the camel verse (sometimes included, although the magi aren't part of the nativity scene, per the Bible) and including the tabby cat verse.
This is just in case the link posted by Wildlone expires.

Sonja

Jesus, Our Brother  (The Friendly 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 her safely 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 my 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 would not cry;
We cooed him to sleep, my love and I."
"I," said the dove, from the rafters high.

"Wait, neow," said the tabby cat, silken-furred,
"To keep him from crying took more than those birds!
 So to lull him to slumber, I softly pur-r-r-r-r-r'd."
 "I," said the tabby cat, silken-furred.

And all the beasts, by some good spell,
In a stable dark were glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emmanuel,
The gifts they gave Emmanuel.

Words:  English translation of traditional 12th C. French carol.
Sixth (tabby cat) verse by Sonja W. Oates   © 1994
Music: Orientis Partibus French melody (13th C)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: MMario
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 09:21 AM

okay - I was being lazy - my variant:

1st verse:

On Christmas Eve, or so they say
The animals kneel to the East and Pray
And each one has a tale to tell
Of Christmas Eve that first Noel

then I do donkey, cow, sheep, dove.

I said the rooster in his pen
I caroled his birth to the world of Men
I announce it anew as dawn comes again
I said the rooster, in his pen

Last verse:

And thus it was by some good spell
In the stable dark each beast will tell
Of the gift he gave Emmanual
On Christmas Day, the first Noel


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Mrrzy
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 12:04 PM

Is it just me or does that first line of Tabby Cat not scan with the rest of the song? I'm trying to get the rhythm right... I, said the Donkey, all Shaggy and Brown v. Wait, neow, said the Tabby Cat, silken-furred? Where do the schwas come in?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: MMario
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 12:23 PM

It has to be fudged a little, yes, but not too much. Or maybe I find it easier because I usually hold the "I" a bit, so fit the "wait now" into that spot


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:22 PM

That's the way Sonja and I sing it, MMario-- the "Wait neow" substitutes for the "I." (The "Wait" actually is the last beat of one measure and the "neow" is the first beat of the next.)

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 04 Dec 01 - 06:23 PM

That's the way Sonja and I sing it, MMario-- the "Wait neow" substitutes for the "I." (The "Wait" actually is the last beat of one measure and the "neow" is the first beat of the next.)

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 10 Dec 01 - 03:38 PM

Just wondering if anyone has the original French lyrics to this song. I'd love to have them.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: John J
Date: 12 Dec 01 - 11:45 AM

From my mate John Mc, who in spite of all I've nagged, is STILL not a Mudcatter!

Ah,but dear boy,a few problems arise from this basic theory,how is the whole thing guided? ,have you considered the impact on the system of the wrong sort/colour of leaf landing on the carpet,presenting the cats with an intermittent imbalance in the basic theory,or possibly an innocent incontinent badger meandering down the"track" leaving regular droppings which I'm sure could cause oscillations,the culmination of which could be "cat--astrophic" You realise, of course ,that there would have to be regular changes of cats during a journey of any length to avoid undue stress (and not to upset the shapeless knitted hat and grannyglass brigade.) I would suggest something along the lines of revolving chambers (similar to the Colt .45 peacemaker) whereby the cats could be rotated into the powercar,fed, rested.and I would suggest re applied with the tikka sauce.The intervals should be set by some responsible body. As to propulsion ,I would strongly suggest a holographic image of a dog should be projected to the rear of the train this could be varied from a slow walk to full speed,therefore enabling speed to be controlled.Braking could be the converse,a dog coming towards the train.Express routes could use the images of a hunting pack in full cry.. I think I may have the guidance system problem sorted out,line either side of the shagpile strip with dog fur,this will repel the train and keep it "on the rails" Hoping this will be of use, Reginald P.Cattlyttre. Engnr(retd)


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Subject: The Friendly Beasts
From: Mary in Kentucky
Date: 19 Dec 01 - 11:14 PM

THE FRIENDLY BEASTS
anon. French

Jesus, our brother kind and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude;
And the friendly beasts around Him stood.
Jesus, our brother, kind and good.

"I," said the Donkey, shaggy and brown,
"I carried His mother up hill 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 my hay to pillow His head."
"I," said the Cow, all white and red.

"I," said the Sheep, with the curly horn,
"I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm,
He wore my coat on Christmas morn."
"I," said the Sheep, with the curly horn.

"I," said the Dove, from the rafters high,
"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 every beast by some glad spell,
In the stable dark was glad to tell
Of the gift he gave Emmanuel.
The gift he gave Emmanuel.

@Christmas

fromThe Christmas Revels Songbook, Revels Inc., Cambridge

see also Orientis Partibus

MT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 12:39 AM

Back to the original topic, here (click) is another posting of (a slight variation of) the lyrics.



I would post the original French lyrics if I had them.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 12:57 AM

And here is a thread about the tune:

Orientis Partibus

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: katlaughing
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 01:10 AM

Genie/Sonja, you might be able to find the French lyrics HERE. I don'y read French well enough to know if it is listed or not.:-)

kat...love your cat verse!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Friendly Beasts
From: GUEST,Dale
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 01:28 AM

Two excellent recordings come to mind, an older one by The Louvin Brothers and a recent one by The Ennis Sisters of Newfoundland. Both are worth seeking out. It is also extremely well done by several groups here in Arkansas, but I am not aware of any commercial recordings by them.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 02:39 AM

Glad you liked the feline verse, Kat.  I'm gonna try again to clickify the link to Orientis Partibus again.   (I could swear I did it the same way I've done it when it worked before!  If it doesn't work, maybe a Joe clone could fix it.)
Here's a link to the Orientis Partibus lyrics, too.
 

BTW, kat, your link did not have a song title that would translate as "Jesus, Our Brother," or "Friendly Beasts" or anything like that, but it did have Rudolf, The Red-Nosed Reindeer in French (Le P'tit Renne Au Nez Rouge), and I posted it separately.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: MMario
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 08:35 AM

I got a good chuckle from the audience when I sang the cat verse last weekend. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 20 Dec 01 - 11:17 AM

I went lookiing and haven't found the French version. Will have to ask some of my French Speaking friends to see if they know it. Meanwhile I did find two links which are interesting:

Friendly Beasts
CBC Books

The first is a slightly modified version of the song, which also includes a cat, as well as a dog. By Joel Mabus.

The second is a book which the CBC talked about last Christmas season, and the book apparently tells something of the history of the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: GUEST,Argenine
Date: 22 Dec 01 - 04:58 AM

Here's the version you referred to.

Argenine

           The Friendly Beasts
           (new words by Joel Mabus, © 1999,
           based on old English folk song)

           Jesus our brother, kind and good
           Was born to us in a stable rude;
           Each friendly beast beside him stood.
           Jesus our brother, kind and good.

           "I," said the ass with the homely face
           "I brought his parents to this place;
           I bore the load, I kept the pace;"
           "I," said the ass with the homely face

           "I," said the ox, who went unfed,
           "I gave my manger for his bed;
           I gave my hay to rest his head."
          "I," said the ox, who went unfed."

           "I," said the lamb, all cut and shorn,
           "I gave my wool to keep him warm;
           He wore my coat on Christmas morn."
           "I," said the lamb, all cut and shorn."

           "I," said the dog, so brave and true,
           "I guarded him the whole night through,
           As if he were my own pup, too."
           "I," said the dog, so brave and true."

           "I," said the cat with the soft gray fur,
           "I made him smile with my purr.
           I snuggled close to him and her."
           "I," said the cat with the soft gray fur.

           "I," said the dove in the tree nearby,
           "I cooed for him so he would not cry.
           "We cooed, we cooed, my mate and I."
           "I," said the dove in the tree nearby."

           Each beast who would on Christmas Day
           Give, in his or her own way,
           No less a gift would He repay
           Each friendly beast of Christmas Day.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 16 Jan 02 - 09:02 PM

MMario,
Glad the tabby cat verse worked for your audience.

All you folks, thanks for the info. Look like the friendly beasts are alive and well.

Sonja


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Genie
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 02:11 PM

Still looking for the original French lyrics.


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Subject: Lyr Req: French original of 'The Friendly Beasts'
From: Haruo
Date: 04 Dec 02 - 03:43 PM

I'm frankly wondering whether there ever were any original French lyrics (or even any "old English" lyrics); the tune is undeniably old (and French, I think), but I'm not sure there's any documentation on the text prior to 1925 or so. May be a Niles-like case.

Haruo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: KateG
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 03:49 PM

Sonja, I love your tabby cat verse. I've always felt that the roster of animals was incomplete. For my own amusement, I added a dog verse:

I said the sheepdog all black and white,
I kept the watch so they would not fright,
I kept the watch on Christmas night,
I said the sheepdog all black and white.

I was singing the song while walking my own dog a few weeks ago, and this verse came to me. I then had to apologize to Abby, since she is not a black and white sheepdog. But I just couldn't see a black and red Rottweiler in that setting (even if Roman antecedents are claimed for the various mastiff breeds).

Kate G


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Tabby Cat Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: GUEST,Sonja
Date: 05 Dec 02 - 05:50 PM

So THAT's why nobody but the tabby cat could get the baby to go to sleep -- the dog kept barking at those sheep all night! LOL!

Great verse, Kate.

SWO


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Kitten Verse to 'Friendly Beasts'
From: Haruo
Date: 06 Dec 02 - 12:05 AM

I'm going to post the Hawai'ian version in the other thread but since it has a "kitten" verse I thought I would add it here, too, with the English (the Hawai'ian hymnal credits the kitten and rooster verses (in English) to Edith Wolfe, no date):

Kitten verse in Hawai'ian (tr. Annie Kanahele, < 1972)

Ae, ka po-po-ki, li-'i-li'i,
# Kia-'i au # make ki-hi hale,
I na_ka-hu-hi-pa na me-a a pau,
Ae, ka po-po-ki, li-'i-li'i.

(the # is a quarter rest [vocal] where English would not be silent;
"Ae", "Kia", "make", "hale", "pau", and the last two syllables of each occurrence of "li-'i-li'i" are not hyphenated to indicate that in Hawai'ian two syllables are to be sung to one note of the tune; same for "na_ka-hu-hi-pa", where the particle "na" and the first syllable of "kahuhipa" are sung to one note of the tune.)

Kitten verse in English (Edith Wolfe, also credited with the Rooster verse)

I, said the kitten, furry and small,
I watched from my corner and purred in my stall,
I watched from my corner, lest he should fall:
    I, said the kitten, furry and small.

Haruo


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