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When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he,
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee.

As Joseph and Mary were walking one day
Here are apples, here are cherries enough to behold.

Then Mary spoke to Joseph so meek and so mild,
"Joseph, gather me some cherries, for I am with child."

Then Joseph flew in anger, in anger flew he,
"Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee."

Then Jesus spoke a few words, a few words spoke He,
"Let my mother have some cherries, bow low down, Cherry Tree."

The cherry tree bowed low down, bowed low down to the ground,
And Mary gathered cherries while Joseph stood around.

Then Joseph took Mary all on his right knee:
"What have I done--Lord have mercy on me!"

Then Joseph took Mary all on his left knee:
"O tell me, little baby, when Thy birthday will be."

"The sixth day of January my birthday will be,
When the stars in the elements shall tremble with glee."

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Source: Folk-Songs of the Kentucky Mountains, Josephine McGill, 1917, p.60.

The Cambridge Edition of Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads gives two versions of this carol. In version A the above stanza [2] appears thus:
Joseph and Mary walked through an orchard green
Where was berries and cherries as thick as might be seen.

Roud: 453 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Child: 54

Related Songs:  The Cherry Tree Carol (1) (thematic)

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