A Huron Carol

My nephew sent me a playlist to play during Advent.  So I was going to send him my blog post on the Huron Carol.  Only I can't find it.  So, I'll give you the story.  This carol is probably the first carol written in the Americas.  It was written around 1642, by the Jesuit missionary, Father Jean de Brebeuf.  Pere Brebeuf was one of what the Indians called "Black Robes."  He ministered to the Hurons in Canada.

Pere Brebeuf wrote it in their language and with references the Indians could identify with: Gitchi Manitou is God or Great Spirit, the babe was wrapped in rabbit skin, the wisemen were chiefs from afar and their gifts were fox and beaver pelts.

Anyway, what happened to Brebeuf and his Huron friends is not pretty.  They were raided by the tribe's enemy, the Iroquois and tortured to death.

Here is a version in English.  I bought the song on iTunes. I recommend it. The melody is  traditional Native American.
'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:    
 "Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp'd His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high...
"Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
"Jesus your Chief is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."


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