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Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. April Ballad Christmas carol. The Cherry-Tree Carol. Francis James Child. Il pesceballo.

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List of the Child Ballads " The Crabfish ". Hidden categories: Articles needing additional references from April All articles needing additional references All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from December Reading this version it would seem that at the start of the carol, Joseph doesn't know who the father of Mary's child was, but that by the end he comes to realize it.

This is not too far from what's described in the Bible, although in the Bible it's a dream rather than a cherry tree. Or maybe the dream was of a cherry tree Per Wikipedia: "The indigenous range of the sweet cherry extends through most of Europe, western Asia and parts of northern Africa, and the fruit has been consumed throughout its range since prehistoric times.

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Also the version I know has Joseph marrying Mary "in the land of Galilee". And when I finally compile my definitive list of "Christmas carols with least theological support", this one will be near the top of the list. It seems to me that this carol which I'd never heard or read before is taking poetic license to describe a theology.


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Are you asking about the symbols in the poem, or the theology? Your title says theology, but your individual points seem to be about symbols. Turning now to your points, we can see the correspondence: Joseph was an old man : In Pseudo-Matthew's gospel, Joseph is a grandfather who is selected by his peers to be the guardian of the year-old Mary: Thou hast been made blessed in thine old age, O father Joseph, seeing that God hath shown thee to be fit to receive Mary.

The Queen of Galilee : This exact phrase is not used in Pseudo-Matthew's gospel, but Mary's companions in Galilee derisively apply the title "queen" to her: Since thou art the last, and humble, and younger than all, thou hast deserved to receive and obtain the purple. Mary sees not a cherry tree but a palm tree presumably a date palm bearing fruit: Date palms do not grow in the English-speaking countries of the 16th century, so a different tree was needed for the song, and the resemblance between dates and cherries is perhaps not far-fetched.

Hungry, Mary says to Joseph: I wish it were possible to get some of the fruit of this palm.

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Joseph responds to Mary, saying: I wonder that thou sayest this, when thou seest how high the palm tree is; and that thou thinkest of eating of its fruit. However, the infant Jesus then takes matters into his own hands: 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. Theology The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew is one of several infancy gospels that attempt to "fill in" the details of the childhood of Jesus.

The text for this play is dated to page ii. Clayton, page 18 Clayton, page Sign up or log in Sign up using Google.

The Cherry-Tree Carol

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Like any library, Christianity Stack Exchange offers great information, but does not offer personalized advice , and does not take the place of seeking such advice from your pastor, priest, or other trustworthy counselor. Featured on Meta. Joseph led her under a date palm tree to rest.

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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.


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In it he predicts his crucifixion and, as here, his birth on January 6, the "old-style Christmas" which many people in the Appalachians celebrated until early in this century. The tune here is from Kentucky; the text is composite. Note to pickers: you will observe that I put all the high B notes on the G string rather than the B string.