La journée de Saint Nicolas is observed on December 6th in France, especially around the Alsace, Lorraine, and Nord-Pas-de-Calais (and surrounding Belgian) regions! Typically, children leave their shoes out on December 5th in hopes that Saint Nicolas will come and fill them with candy and chocolate. December 6th is observed as an important Christmas tradition and celebration, often among families!
Today, the most morbid French legend surrounding Saint Nicolas is about three children who got lost in the woods. An evil butcher lured the cold and hungry children into his shop, where he killed and salted them in a large tub, preparing a yummy meal! Thankfully, Saint Nicolas came and revived the children. Today, he is known as the protector of children. Below is a YouTube clip of the song, along with lyrics in both French and English!
Enjoy, and I hope you all had a great Saint Nick’s Day!
Ils étaient trois petits enfants
Qui s’en allaient glaner aux champs.
1. Tant sont allés tant sont venus,
Que sur le soir se sont perdus.
S’en sont allés chez le boucher:
“Boucher voudrais-tu nous loger ?”
2. Ils n’étaient pas sitôt entrés
Que le boucher les a tués
Les a coupés en p’tits morceaux,
Mis au saloir comme pourceaux. *
3. Saint Nicolas au bout d’ sept ans
Vint à passer dedans ce champ,
Alla frapper chez le boucher:
“Boucher voudrais-tu me loger ?”
4. Entrez, entrez, Saint Nicolas,
Il y a d’ la place, il n’en manqu’ pas.”
Il n’était pas sitôt entré
Qu’il a demandé à souper.
5. “Du p’tit salé je veux avoir,
Qu’il y a sept ans qu’est au saloir”.
Quand le boucher entendit ça,
Hors de sa porte il s’enfuya **
6.”Boucher, boucher, ne t’enfuis pas !
Repens-toi, Dieu te pardonnera”.
Saint Nicolas alla s’asseoir
Dessus le bord de ce saloir
7.”Petits enfants qui dormez là,
Je suis le grand Saint Nicolas.”
Le grand saint étendit trois doigts,
Les p’tits se levèrent tous les trois.
8. Le premier dit: “J’ai bien dormi”.
Le second dit:” Et moi aussi”.
A ajouté le plus petit:
“Je me croyais au paradis !”
There were three little children
Who went a-gathering in the fields.
1. They went so much to, and so much fro,
That by the evening they had gotten lost.
They went to the butcher’s house.
“Butcher, would you give us lodging?”
2. No sooner had they come in,
Then the butcher killed them.
He cut them into small pieces,
Put them in the salting-tub as piglets.*
3. After seven years passed, Saint Nicholas
Happened to cross that field.
He went to knock on the butcher’s door,
“Butcher, would you give me lodging?”
4. “Come in, come in, Saint Nicholas.
There’s room, no shortage of it.”
No sooner had he come in,
Then he requested supper.
5. “I want some of the salted meat
That’s been in the salting-tub for seven years.”
When the butcher heard that
He ran away from his house.
6. “Butcher, butcher, don’t run away!
Repent, God will forgive you.”
Saint Nicholas went to sit down
On the edge of the salting-tub.
7.”Little children who are sleeping here
I am the great Saint Nicholas.”
The great saint stretched out three fingers.
The little ones got up, all three of them.
8. The first one said “I slept well.”
The second one said “And I did too.”
The youngest one added:
“I thought I was in paradise!”