Appalachia Music

Thus Every Beast By Some Good Spell

The Friendly Beasts Christmas Carol

One of the best things about Pap and Paul’s new Christmas cd-is that it has the song-The Friendly Beasts on it. A few years ago I shared the video of the song with Blind Pig Readers-you all loved it-but more than a few of you said you sure wished it was on the Songs of Christmas cd-well now it is.

The song originated in France-maybe as early as the 12 century. According to the The United Methodist Reporter website the song is sometimes called Song of the Ass, The Donkey Carol, or The Gift of the Animals. I’ve never heard it called anything but The Friendly Beasts. Actually the song isn’t all that common when it comes to Christmas songs. I grew up hearing Pap sing the song but can’t really think of hearing anyone else sing it except The Louvin Brothers -I would bet Pap learned it from them.

The Friendly Beasts

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

Said the donkey shaggy and brown I carried his mother up hill and down I carried his mother to Bethlem town Thus said the donkey shaggy and brown

Said the cow all white and red I gave him my manger for a bed I gave him my hay to pillow his head Thus said the cow all white and red

Said the sheep with curly horns I gave him my wool for his blanket warm He wore my coat on Christmas day Thus said the sheep with curly horns

Thus every beast by some good spell in the stable dark was glad to tell of the gift he gave to Emmanuel Of the gift he gave Emmanuel.

We are very grateful and humbled by all you folks who have already purchased a cd-THANK YOU! It really is packed with some of the best Christmas music I have ever heard. You can go here-Pap and Paul’s Music to purchase a cd.


You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    November 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    One of my favorites! I remember one of the children in my family singing it at a Christmas program 😉 I loved the previous post about your girls not sharing a room any more (though it made me a bit sad, too!) I was the oldest of five children and got to have my own room first – it was exciting and scary all at the same time!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 18, 2013 at 2:04 am

    I remember this song from childhood…of me or someone! LOL
    I can’t beleive there are people that belive that beasts are not in heaven…
    I have looked into the eyes of critters, not just the doggie and kitties that are domesticated…but say that poor skeert possum that landed in the cage…There is something there I can’t explain, a feeling, a kind of communication…don’t know exactly what it is! That is why I would rather let them go, transfer them to somewhere else out of our reach than kill them.
    We eat deer, but the better half doesn’t kill them, although if we were starving I guess he would knock down one or two that comes thru the garden and yard..Since we don’t depend on the wild beasts for food I would rather see them at dawn and evening outside the backyard window or front! LOL
    We fuss when they are in the garden but try eltronic eyes etc to keep them out….works sometimes…
    There was a calf at my Grandmas, when I was a child that had the most beautiful brown eyes, with lashes two inches long..I would talk to her and near foundered her on treats…It seemed she could look into my soul with those big eyes…
    Gotta go…
    Loved the song..and the guys singing it..beautiful!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 17, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I especially liked Paul and Pap’s rendition of “The Friendly Beasts.”
    I’ve written a poem using as its epigraph Denis A. McCarthy’s quatrain:
    “Christmas morning, the legends say,
    Even the cattle kneel to pray;
    Even the beasts of wood and field
    Homage to Christ the Savior yield.”
    I will send you a copy of the poem in an e-mail and hope you will enjoy reading it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    I like that “Pig People” comment. Can I be a “Pig Person” too?

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 17, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I love the way Paul and Pap deliver
    “The Friendly Beasts.” It was nice
    to see them performing the song.
    Congradulations to Donna Godfrey!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    The sense of sharing comes through both the lyrics and the performance, maybe that’s why so many people want it on the Christmas cd (that and it hasn’t been overplayed elsewhere)! Thank you for including it.

  • Reply
    Minnie Nombres
    November 17, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I have been listening to Pap and Paul sing this for quite some time on You Tube. They do a fantastic job with it and lots of other stuff too. That don’t mean we don’t need to buy the CD. My car don’t play YouTube nor can I play it while I do dishes.
    Some of the older Pig People might remember when Burl Ives sang it way back in the 50’s.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I KNOW I’ve heard this song before. I wish I could remember where…
    Beautifully done!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    Such wonderful talent! I am glad that I had a chance to hear this piece as I had never heard it before. I am so enjoying the music and stories on your site. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    November 17, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    love the way this song sounds when played by the Blind Pig gang

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    I remember someone (maybe Garth Brooks and a woman) recorded this. I remember a camel and maybe a dove also in their version. Over the years people add verses to many songs.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I’ve always loved this song and Pap & Paul do it proud!

  • Reply
    Shawn J
    November 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I really like reading all the stories on your blog, thanks for sharing and I would love to win a cd.
    smjohns63 at yahoo dot com

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    November 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Just a lovely Christmas carol.

  • Reply
    Mel H.
    November 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    Would the “boys” be insulted if I said they remind of the Everly Bros. on this’n?

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    I’m so glad “The Friendly Beasts” was included, to complete the CD 😉

  • Reply
    Linda Johnson
    November 17, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I had a book as a child with this poem in it and the music for the song was at the back. Loved the book but as I am 64 have no idea where it might have gone. Thanks for the lovely rendition and the memory.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 10:26 am

    I’ve never heard this song before, but I like it…
    Would love to win the cd and take it with me to my daughters for thanksgiving ….we can play it while cooking then decorating for Christmas…

  • Reply
    Gina S
    November 17, 2013 at 9:10 am

    I love the words and harmony in the video. Seemed to me that I could look back through time to see them singing together over the years.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Peter, Paul and Mary recorded this song back “in the day”. I have heard this song many times over the years and have sung it in church. It is a wonderful Christmas song and your men have given it new life. Thank you so much.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 8:08 am

    I enjoyed this song to the nth degree. I was thrown off by the title and didn’t realize I knew it until I listened. It was the 2nd verse with “The donkey shaggy and brown” that awakened my memories. It came back; I remember now. I also remember that beautiful word you showed us on this blog sometime back that I had not heard before Tipper…it was RABBONI!

  • Reply
    Deborah Catoe
    November 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I love not only the music that Pap and Paul make, but the love that they have for each other, it shows in every song. thank you for sharing the love and music with us. Deborah Catoe

  • Reply
    November 17, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Our internet is on the blink again, been about a week and a half, we can only read, videos are pretty much out, maybe in about another week we’ll be back in business,(getting a different provider) Never heard of this song,, I missed it some where down the line, but as always I bet they do a good job..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 17, 2013 at 7:20 am

    I think the thing that make this song great is the sweetness of Pap’s voice! It’s a beautiful song and congratulations to Donna!

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    November 17, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Always love the harmony of family voices. There is something very special about voices of closely related people shareing a song. Pap & Paul have it and the girls do, too.

  • Leave a Reply