A Christmas Carol from Provence: My Leg Hurts (La cambo me fai mau)

Image of a Pilgrimage

My Leg Hurts, La cambo me fai mau, is a well-known Provençal Christmas carol sung in the south of France. It was originally written by Micolau Sabòli (1614 – 1675) in Occitan, the language of the Troubadours.

This is not a typical carol! It’s about a pilgrimage to see the new-born Jesus. What’s fascinating is that it has a whole back-story about a guy whose leg hurts and he doesn’t know if he can go. He finally goes by horse. On the way he gets into a fight with a rotund shepherd. Like I said, it’s not typical!

Below I’m posting the original lyrics to La cambo me fai mau in Occitan, an English translation, an mp3 of it being sung and a YouTube of a chorus singing it.

MP3 of La cambo me fai mau

La cambo me fai mau
(Occitan)

Li a proun de gènt
Que van en roumavage,
Li a proun de gènt
Que van en Betelèn.
Li vole ana,
Ai quàsi proun courage :
Li vole ana,
S’ieu pode camina.

Refrin
La cambo me fai mau,
Bouto sello, bouto sello ;
La cambo me fai mau,
Bouto sello à moun chivau.

Tous li bergié
Qu’èron sus la mountagno,
Tous li bergié
An vist un messagié
Que li a crida :
Metès-vous en campagno!
Que li a crida :
Lou Fiéu de Diéu es na!

(Refrin)

En aquest tèm
Li fèbre soun pas sano ;
En aquest tèm
Li fèbre valon rèn ;
Ai endura
Uno fèbre quartano,
Ai endura
Senso me rancura.

(Refrin)

Un gros pastras
Que fai la catamiaulo,
Un gros pastras
S’envai au pichot pas ;
S’èi revira,
Au brut de ma paraulo ;
S’èi revira,
Li ai di de m’espera.

(Refrin)

Aquéu palot
Descausso si sabato,
Aquéu palot
S’envai au grand galop ;
Mai, se’n cop l’ai,
lé dounarai la grato,
Mai, se’n cop l’ai,
Iéu lou tapoutarai.

(Refrin)

Ai un roussin
Que volo dessus terro,
Ai un roussin
Que manjo lou camin !
L’ai achata
D’un que vèn de la guerro :
L’ai achata,
Cinq escut de pata.

(Refrin)

Quand aurai vist
Lou Fiéu de Diéu lou Paire,
Quand aurai vist
Lou Rèi de Paradis,
E quand aurai
Felicila sa maire
E quand aurai
Fa tout ço que déurrai,

Refrin:
N’aurai plus ges de mau,
Bouto seIlo, bouto selIo,
N’aurai plus ges de mau,
Bouto sello à moun chivau.

English Translation:

My Leg Hurts

There’re many people
Who go on a pilgrimage,
There’re many people
Who go to Bethlehem.
I want to go there
I nearly have enough courage
I want to go there
If I can walk.

Chorus:
My leg hurts,
Put the saddle, put the saddle,
My leg hurts,
Put the saddle on my horse.

All the shepherds
Who were on the mountain,
All the shepherds
Saw a messenger
Who shouted to them:
Get going!
Who shouted to them:
The Son of God was born!

(Chorus)

These days,
The fevers are not healthy
These days,
The fevers are very bad
I suffered
From a quartan* fever
I suffered
Without complaining.

(Chorus)

A fat shepherd
Acting like a hypocrite,
A fat shepherd
Goes slowly,
He looked back
When he heard me talk,
He looked back
I told him to wait for me.

(Chorus)

This lout
Takes his shoes off
This lout
Runs forward
But if I catch up with him
He’ll get his due,
But if I catch up with him
I’ll punch him.

(Chorus)

I have a steed
That flies on the earth
I have a steed
That tears up the road!
I bought it
From someone back from the war
I bought it,
Five copper crowns**.

(Chorus)

When I have seen
God the Father’s Son,
When I have seen
The King of Paradise,
And when I have
Congratulated his mother
And when I have
Done all that I must.

Final Chorus:
I won’t have any pain,
Put the saddle, put the saddle,
I won’t have any pain,
Put the saddle on my horse.

Many thanks to Monique Palomares for singing this song for us! Translated by Monique and Mama Lisa. The illustration is from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, Volume 8, Issues 43-48 and edited by Mama Lisa.

Check out the song page for La cambo me fai mau for a score, midi and French and Spanish translations. There’s also a French version of this carol called, La jambe me fait mal.

Enjoy!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, December 13th, 2010 at 1:05 pm and is filed under Christmas, Christmas Songs, Countries & Cultures, France, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, La cambo me fai mau, Languages, Mama Lisa, Occitan, Occitan, Occitan Children's Songs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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