Little Donkey

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Cover of original 1959 edition of sheet music of Little Donkey

Little Donkey is a popular Christmas carol, written by English songwriter Eric Boswell which describes the journey by Mary the mother of Jesus to Bethlehem on the donkey of the title.[1]

It was No. 1 in the UK Sheet Music Chart[2] from mid November 1959 until the end of the year, and a recording by Nina & Frederik reached No. 3 the following Christmas.[3]

The song has also been recorded by Gracie Fields, The Beverley Sisters, Vera Lynn, Aled Jones[4] and many others, and it is a traditional part of the festive season and nativity plays for many young children.

In the 21st Century the song has become something of a signifier of childhood Christmas in popular culture having featured in the comedy acts of Alan Carr, Russell Brand and especially in The Ricky Gervais Show which featured a running gag about Karl Pilkington's drum performance of the song.[5]


  1. ^ John, J. (2005). A Christmas Compendium. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-8264-8749-0. Retrieved 2008-10-14. 
  2. ^ "UK Sheet Music Charts". [dead link]
  3. ^ "1960 UK Singles Charts". 
  4. ^ Jones, Aled (2010). Aled Jones' Favourite Christmas Carols. Random House. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-4090-5110-7. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Pilkipedia - Little Donkey".