The Friendly Beasts Printable Lyrics – PDF

“The Friendly Beasts” is a traditional Christmas carol, known also as “The Song of the Ass,” The Donkey Carol,” “The Animal Carol” and “The Gift of the Animals.” The origins of this song go back to the 12th century Latin hymn “Orientis Partibus” which was attributed to Pierre de Corbeil, Bishop of Sens. The English words in use today were written by Robert Davis in the early 20th century.

The song narrates of Jesus’ birth from the animals’ point of view: each animal present in the manger is saying what they have offered to the baby. The donkey carried Mary safely to Bethlehem, the cow gave Him the manger, the sheep gave him a warm blanket made from their wool and the dove cooed Him to sleep.

In each verse the first line is repeated in the end, making it easy for the singers to join in the song. This technique is common in the music of many traditional cultures of the past, since people had to learn the songs orally and couldn’t rely on written notes. This, therefore, makes the song an ideal choice for younger kids and preschoolers who have not yet acquired the skills of reading and writing.

On this page you can find lyrics, a printable lyrics PDF file for free download and a sing-along video of the song.

Table of Contents

Printable Lyrics PDF

Click on the button to download a PDF file with lyrics to this song for free.


Jesus our brother kind and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude.
The friendly beasts around him stood.
Jesus our brother kind and good.

A brilliant star shone through the night
And filled the world with wondrous light
While friendly beasts stayed by his side
A brilliant star shone through the night

“I,” Said the donkey, all shaggy and brown.
“I carried His mother uphill and down.
I carried her safely to Bethlehem town.”
“I,” Said the donkey all shaggy and brown.

“I,” Said the cow, all white and red.
“I gave Him my manger, for a 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 a 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.
I cooed him to sleep so he wouldn’t cry.
We cooed him to sleep my mate and I.”
“I,” Said the dove from the rafters high.

Every beast by some good spell
In the stable dark was glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emanuel.
The gifts they gave Emanuel.

Sing-along Video

The Friendly Beasts

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