Little Drummer Boy (Xmas)

Story

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs because it is a song of peace and respect, something sadly missing in today’s world. It tells a story from the Christian Bible, but to me, it is not about religion; it is just a story of love and respect. Please listen to it as you would to any children’s story.

It tells the story of three wise men who have seen an omen in the sky (a supernova called the Star of Bethlehem) that prophesies that a baby has just been born. This baby is named Jesus, and they believe him to be the son of God. They wish to go to him to give him presents to honor him, so they set off (begin traveling) in the direction of this suddenly bright star. Along the way they meet a peasant child, a poor boy who can play the drums. He is the drummer boy. They invite him to come with them. The song begins at this point.

The lyrics are below along with links to two of my favorite versions of this song.

Right-click on either title link and open it in a new tab so you can listen to the song as you read along with the lyrics below.

The Little Drummer Boy by the Celtic Woman

The link above has a dramatic introduction. The background singers are singing in ancient Latin, a dead language still used by the Christian clergy in Italy for some reason. Please be patient. The song will start soon.

The Little Drummer Boy by Charlotte Church

The Little Drummer Boy

Come they told me (The men are inviting the drummer boy to accompany them.)
Pa rum pum pum pum (The sound of drumsticks beating on a drum.)

Our newborn king to see. (The Christian Bible calls the baby the “king of kings”.)
Pa rum pum pum pum

Our finest gifts we bring (The three wise men are bringing gold, incense, and myrrh)
Pa rum pum pum pum

To lay before the king, (to give to the baby.)
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum

So to honor him (They are doing this to honor the newborn “king”.)
Pa rum pum pum pum
When we come.

Pum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum
Pum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum
Pum pum pum pum
Pa rum pum pum
Pum pum pum pum pa rum

Little baby, (Baby Jesus in most versions. This is nonreligious version.)
Pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too.
Pa rum pum pum pum

I have no gift to bring (The drummer boy is poor and has nothing to give)
Pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give our king. (that is good enough to give a “king”.)
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum

Shall I play for you (The drummer boy has only his drum-playing skills
Pa rum pum pum pum to offer to the baby, so he asks if the baby would like
On my drum? to hear him play his drums.)
Pum pum pum pum

Mary nodded. (Mary, the baby’s mother, nods to indicate yes.)
Pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time. (to keep time = to move the foot with the music beat)
Pa rum pum pum pum

I played my drum for him. (The drummer boy played his drum for the baby.)
Pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for him. (The drummer boy played his utmost best.)
Pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum

Then he smiled at me, (The baby smiled at the drummer boy.)
Pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Come they told me (A repeat of the first stanza.)
Pa rum pum pum pum
A new born king to see.
Pa rum pum pum pum

Me and my drum
Me and my drum
Me and my drum
Me and my drum
Rum pum pum pum

Questions for the Students

  1. Did you like the story?
  2. Did you find the music to be relaxing?

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