Christmas Folklore From Appalachia
And The Animals Knelt

The Friendly Beasts

The friendly beasts 

Being part of the church's annual Christmas Play was as much a part of Christmas as presents under the tree when I was growing up. Didn't seem to matter if the play was set in Biblical days, present day, or somewhere in between-there was always a manger scene-and Away In A Manger was always sung.

I wasn't very old when I decided in my opinion-Away In A Manger made a much better lullaby for babies than Rock A Bye Baby. I decided if I ever had children-I'd sing it to them as a lullaby no matter what time of the year it was-and I did. The song has a sweet child like feeling to it-a child's simple point of view of worship-but it also mentions the 'cattle lowing' giving me another reason to associate barnyard animals with Christmas.

Away in a manger 
While my love for Away In A Manger begin at church-the introduction to my 2nd favorite Christmas song about barnyard animals, The Friendly Beasts, took place at home. I grew up hearing Pap sing the song-he said he first heard the song from The Blue Sky Boys-but the song's origins have been traced as far back as the 12 Century.

The Friendly Beasts tells the story of the birth of Jesus from animals points of view-a donkey, a cow, and sheep. Check out Paul and Pap's version and see if you like it as much as I do. (don't forget to stop the music player in the top right of this page before you start the video)

Hope you liked the song-drop back by tomorrow for a heartwarming story about the barnyard animals at Christmas written by Celia Miles.


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I sang Amazing Grace and Old Rugged Cross to my babies. Merry Christmas.

I've never heard that song.
Love it!
And I Love Paul and Pap's version.
Thanks for sharing it, Tipper!

We "used" that song years and years ago during our school play. One of our wee ones said: "I said the donkey all shaking around......." I ALWAYS think of that when I hear this song...which is rare...thanks for the treat!

I have been recycling my Mothers saved Christmas cards...I found this verse on two of them one from the 50's and one from the late 60's...Then I read and listened to this wonderful post...
Thought you might like this verse found on the cards...
Based on an Ancient Slavic says:
The animals gave Him a manger-bed,
Gathering near as Christ was born,
And when He smiled and blessed their love,
The animals spoke on Christmas morn.

And now on every Christmas Eve,
A wondrous miracle takes place, And the animals speak among themselves
Of the love that smiled from Jesus' face.
The song was beautiful..Thanks Pap, Paul and as always Tipper.


i am listening to the song as i type, beautiful and sweet. what a wonderful idea for a lullaby. you are so right, the christmas play was a big part of christmas and always aways had the manger scene no matter what.


"Away In a Manger" could not have chosen a more appropriate song to sing to your babies.

The song by Pap gives me goose bumps. Memories from my childhood stampede my mind this time of year - especially when I hear songs of Christmas!

You are that little girl in the picture, aren't you? I used to have one like that years ago, but she grew up. She is a beautiful woman now ( some say she looks just like me ) don't mean to brag, but I still miss the little girl ( especially Christmas mornings.

One more thing, I'm sure glad those little boys didn't let you tip over.


This is just the sweetest song-I love it.

Doesn't that just warm the soul? Absoutely beautiful! LOVE Pap's voice. I wish this song was on their Christmas Cd.

Love the song, I was always in the Christmas plays at church too. Usually the manger scene and I was always an angel and sang in the choir. I think it was because I was so shy and didn't have any lines.

Tipper, I love this song! It seems like one my kids would love too!

tipper i think that is such a wonderful lullaby to sing to your girls... and those are the memories that will say with them always... theres nothing more beautiful than hearing voices singing together... reminds me of when we were young. (im six out of seven ) and the whole family would sing songs as we went on a sunday drive.. i still can remember the voices of my parents.. and being with those i loved.. to me those are the memories that are priceless...
may you and yours have a blessed holiday ,, big ladybug hugs

Away In A Manger...what better song can there be for children at
Christmas time! The guys did a
good job on The Friendly Beasts too.
On yesterday's post, Just Jackie
did an excellent job hosting the
video of all the crafters and I
was surprised to see Chatter ( I
think ) on the guitar. Everyone
did a nice job on that song too.
Merry Christmas...Ken

I only vaguely remember hearing The Friendly Beasts song - thanks for bringing it back. It is a great reminder of the joy of giving of ones own self, just as Jesus did.

Like everything done by Paul and Pap, their rendering was fantastic.

I've told you before how much they remind me of the Louvin Brothers. Don't mean to be redundant all over again, but that version was especially Louvin-like. In fact, I'll bet you Charlie and Ira would've wished they could do it so well.

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