Written in 3/4 time, "The Cherry Tree" was discussed in the December 1995 issue of Inside Bluegrass
magazine by Bob Waltz in his article The Cherry Tree Carol
. Waltz says the story may have originated in the Infancy Gospel Of The Pseudo-Matthew
, an apocryphal 9th Century Latin work. Here, it was not a cherry tree but a date tree. The Gnosis Archive
has published this particular passage; herein, Mary and Joseph are fleeing from King Herod when they find a palm tree in the desert. Mary is (obvious) fatigued by the heat of the Sun, and asks Joseph if he will pick her a date, to which he replies:
I wonder that thou sayest this, when thou seest how high the palm tree is; and that thou thinkest of eating of its fruit. I am thinking more of the want of water, because the skins are now empty..."
But he reckoned without his infant son, for "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. And immediately at these words the palm bent its top down to the very feet of the blessed Mary; and they gathered from it fruit, with which they were all refreshed."
Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2