The Huron Carol

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

‘Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunter heard the hymn: “Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

This is the first verse of the Huron Carol as found in a Catholic Hymnal. When I first encountered this song I thought it was a sweet retelling of the Christmas Story by devout Indigenous Peoples in Canada: that they had told the story of Jesus’ birth in their own terms. Would that it were so. The original carol was written by the Jesuit Jean de Brébeuf in the 1600s, who lived among the Hurons [they called themselves ‘Ouendake’ pronounced in English as ‘Wendat.’ The more common name is a French slur meaning ‘rough/uncouth.’] as a missionary and anthropologist. He learned their language and their ways and got along well with them. Brébeuf was killed horribly by a rival tribe in 1649. In 1926, the hymn was ‘translated’ by Jesse Middleton. It is true that ‘translation’ does not imply word-for-word replacement, rather the purpose is to convey the sense and feeling of the work. Here is a side-by-side of the original and the two English versions:

Brebeuf’s words in the Wendat language.The Wendat words rendered into EnglishMiddleton’s interpretaion 
Estenniayon de tsonwe Iesous ahatonnia
onn’ awatewa nd’ oki n’ onyouandaskwaentak
ennonchien eskwatrihotat n’onyouandiyonrachatha
Iesous ahatonnia, ahatonnia. 

Iesous ahatonnia.

Ayoki onkiennhache eronhiayeronnon
iontonk ontatiande ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
Warie onn’ awakweton ndio sen tsatonnharonnion
Iesous ahatonnia, ahatonnia.

Iesous ahatonnia.
Have courage, you who are humans. Jesus, He is born.
Behold, it has fled, the spirit who had us as prisoner.
Do not listen to it, as it corrupts our minds, the spirit of our thoughts.
They are spirits, coming with a message for us, the sky people.
They are coming to say, ‘Come on, be on top of life, rejoice!’
‘Mary has just given birth, come on, rejoice.’
‘Three have left for such a place; they are men of great matter.’
‘A star that has just appeared over the horizon leads them there.’
‘He will seize the path, a star that leads them there.’
As they arrived there, where He was born, Jesus.
The star was at the point of stopping, He was not far past it.
Having found someone for them, He says, ‘Come here.’
Behold, they have arrived there and have seen Jesus.
They praised a name many times saying,
‘Hurray, He is good in nature.’
They greeted Him with respect,
Oiling His scalp many times, saying, ‘Hurray!’
‘We will give to Him honour to His name.’
Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp’d His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high…
“Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.”

Brebeuf’s intent was to tell the story in the peoples’ own language, in terms that would connect their native religion to Christian theology. He showed cultural sensitivity by putting it in their tongue. His tune was that of a French folk-song. The English version of that seems stilted to our ears, and overly wordy, but a word-for-word translation can sound like that. [ex: The pen of my aunt is on the bureau of my uncle.] The Middleton version panders to a quaint notion of Indian life and ways. [Remember that for most of the 1900s, ‘Indians’ were non-people in Canada and the US.] As a cute song, it is OK. But PLEASE don’t attribute it to Brebeuf or the Wendat people or imagine that Native Peoples are sitting around their Christmas trees in a wigwam singing this song on December 25. Instead, take Brebeuf’s Christmas words to heart: “Come on! Be on top of life! Rejoice!” Good message.

Our recipes are based on ingredients that the First Nations people used: corn, tomato [OK, Wendats did not grow tomatoes], eggs, squash, beans, bison.

Corn Salsa Egg Toast: 196 calories 7 g fat 5 g fiber 10 g protein 26.6 g carbs 55.6 mg Calcium  NB: The food values are for the meal and fruit only and do not include the optional coffeePB GF – if using GF bread  Here is a taste treat for breakfast-time.

3 Tbsp Corn-Tomato Salsa** 1 slice 70-calorie whole grain bread [Dave’s Killer Bread is perfect] one 2-oz egg, fried or scrambled or hard-boiled 2 oz apple   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Toast bread lightly. Cook the egg or slice the hard-cooked egg. Spread salsa on bread and top with egg. Plate with fruit and enjoy another easy, flavorful meal.

**CORN-TOMATO SALSA  makes 1½ cups  1 cup corn kernels 1 cup diced tomato 2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper 2 Tbsp diced red onion 2 Tbsp cider vinegar ¼ tsp dry mustard 1/8 tsp turmeric ¼ tsp sugar 2 dashes ground cumin  Stir everything together and find lots of ways to use it. 

Squash-Cupped Bison Chili: 215 calories 3.5 g fat 7 g fiber 14.5 g protein 34 g carbs 120 mg Calcium   PB GF  What an easy, delicious, and satisfying meal. HINT: One squash is enough for 2 servings, and the chili is enough for 4 servings. Invite a fellow-Faster for dinner. Save the remaining chili for another meal later.

For tonight’s meal: 5 oz delicata squash, seeds removed 1 cup Bison Chili** or use Chili Non Carne  2 oz melon, as a garnish

Weigh the delicata squash whole and uncut to get a sense of how much will be 5 oz. You will be cutting off the ends of the squash and removing the seeds, to produce a hollow tube of squash: about two inches of squash that will stand up on the plate. Put the squash in the microwave oven and cook it until it can be easily pierced with a skewer. Assemble by standing the squash cup in the middle of the plate and pouring the chili in and around it. Then position the melon. Unusual! Teriffic!

Bison Chiliper cup – 136 calories 3 g fat 5 g fiber 13 g protein 14.5 g carbs 57 mg Calcium PB GF  4 oz ground bison 15 oz canned tomatoes – in chunks or diced drained in a sieve [save the juice] 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 cup red onion, chopped ½ cup green pepper, chopped ¾ cup canned red or black beans, drained and rinsed 2-4 tsp chili powder ¾ tsp salt ½ – 1 tsp ground cumin   Cook the venison, onion, garlic, and green pepper in some of the tomato juices until vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients and cook gently until the chili is hot throughout. Taste to see if it needs more seasoning.   makes 4 one-cup servings

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