The Ox’s Carol

oxThere are many pictures of the Ox and the Ass on Christmas Cards, leaning over the manger, where the Baby Jesus is lying in his crib the midst of  a pile of straw, inside the barn where they themselves usually live. Here the Ox tells us his story: all that he has done before he even gets to see the Baby. He ploughs the field, treads the corn, and drags the straw inside the door – all for the Baby to lie in. At last he comes in himself to guard the Baby, and there he joins the Ass, his old friend – who is also called a Donkey – and together they warm the Baby in the crib with their breath. All through the night, the Ox wraps the straw around the Baby’s head in his tiny bed where the animals fed – all for the Baby to sleep in. Finally, the Baby falls asleep.

Illustration by Gilly Kohler