Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Oh!

By Master Storyteller Joe Hayes

from his book "Tell Me a Cuenta/Cuentame un Story"

Once, at opposite sides of the same town, there lived a poor woman and a rich woman.

The poor woman's husband had died and left her with six children but without a penny to raise them. The rich woman's husband had also died, but he had left her with a fortune in gold and silver. But the rich woman was very stingy and didn't like to share with anyone.

The poor woman thought and worried  for a long time about how to feed her children, and the only idea she had was to ask the rich woman if she might work for her. The rich woman told the poor woman to come every day to clean the house and wash the clothes and make tortillas for the rich woman's children.

So all day on Monday the poor woman spent the whole day at the rich woman's house, cleaning it and washing clothes and -slap-pat, slap-pat-making tortillas. At the end of the day, she received no pay for her work. Tuesday was the same-clean the house, wash the clothes and-slap-pat, slap-pat--all the livelong day. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were no different.

Then Saturday came. At the end of the day, the rich woman brought all the dry tortillas her family had not eaten during the week. She handed them to the poor woman and said, "Here is your pay for the week." The poor woman returned home and fed her children as best she could on the dry tortillas. Then she put her children to bed.

The poor woman sat in front of her fireplace, worrying and wondering. "What am I going to do? My children can't grow strong and healthy if all they eat is stale tortillas." Then she got up and walked outside, hoping the cool air would clear her mind, so that she might think of some way to make a better living. She walked to the edge of town.

And then, from far away, she heard tiny voices singing:

Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, oh!

            Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, oh!

Sometimes they would sing in English, and then she would hear them say:

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, oh!

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, oh!

The song seemed so happy that the poor woman followed its sound. She came to a clearing in the trees, and she saw a band of tiny men dancing in a circle and singing over and over:

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, oh!

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, oh!

The song made the poor woman smile. But it also made her think of how hard she had worked on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday at the rich woman's house. The poor woman sighed and said, "And Thursday and Friday and Saturday as well."

The little men stopped dancing and looked at her. "Como?" they asked the poor woman. "What did you say?"

The poor woman apologized. "Oh, excuse me, little men. I didn't mean to interrupt you. But I was thinking about the next three days, too. And then she had an idea, and she said to them, "Listen! Maybe you would like to sing:

            Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, oh!

            Jueves, Viernes y Sabado, so!"

And in English that would be:

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, oh!

            Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so!

"Oh!" cried the little men. "Que buena cancion! What a good song!" And they started to dance again, singing the way the poor woman suggested.

They danced until the first rooster crowed in the village. Then they stopped their dance and went away. But the leader of the little men stayed behind. He walked up to the poor woman stroking his beard.

"You made our dance happy," the leader said. "Every Saturday night when we dance on this spot, we'll sing the song you taught us." Then he reached behind a rock and pulled out a clay pot. He handed it to the poor woman.

The poor woman thanked the little man over and over and then ran home. When she got to her house, she lifted the lid from the clay pot. It was full of gold! The poor woman hid all the gold except for one coin, which she kept out to buy food for her children.

The first time she went to the store for food, who should she meet up with on the street but the rich woman. When the rich woman saw the poor woman's packages of food, she said, "Aha! You stole money from me when you worked in my house last week!"

"No. I haven't stolen anything from you," the poor woman answered. And she told the rich woman all about the little men who danced in the clearing on Saturday night, and how they had given her a clay pot full of gold.

It made the rich woman think, "Next Saturday night I'll go find those little men. I can get even more gold for myself!" All week long the rich woman waited impatiently-Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. (Oh! The week seemed to lasting forever.) Thursday, Friday . and finally, Saturday!

That night the rich woman went to the edge of the town and listened. She heard singing:

            Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, oh!

            Jueves, Viernes y Sabado, so!

The little men were singing just as the poor woman had taught them to:

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, oh!

            Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so!

The rich woman followed the sound and came to the same clearing. She saw the tiny men dancing in a circle. She said to herself, "What stupid, ugly little men."

She listened to their song for a while, and then said, "You foolish little men. You have left out a day. Deben cantar Domingo tambien. You must sing Sunday, too."

The little men stopped their dance. They tried singing the way she ordered them to:

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesay, oh!

            Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so!

            And Sunday too.

They all shook their heads. They tried the song in Spanish:

            Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, oh!

            Jueves, Viernes y Sabado, so!

            Y Domingo tambien.

The little men said angrily, "Esta cancion no sirve para nada! That song is good for nothing!" And they walked away. But the leader of the little men stayed behind. He walked up to the rich woman stroking his beard. "You have ruined our dance," he said.

But he reached behind the same rock and brought out a clay pot. He offered it to the rich woman. Without so much as a "thank you" the rich woman grabbed the pot away from him and ran home. She lifted the lid from the pot and found-tarantulas! Black widow spiders! Scorpions! Centipedes! Snakes! All kinds of poisonous creatures!

The rich woman was horrified. She ran around and around the house shouting. And then she ran out the door and down the road, and she may be running still.

But as for the poor woman, from that day on she and her children lived happily every day of the week.

            Lunes, Martes, Miercoles, oh!

            Jueves, Viernes y Sabado, so!

            Y Domingo tambien!

            Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, oh!

            Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so!

            And Sunday, too.

To order "Tell me a Cuenta/Cuentame un Story" or other books by Joe Hayes, visit Cinco Puntos Press.

Copyright © Joe Hayes
Order Joe Hayes Books at Cinco Puntos Press

Joe Hayes, Storyteller

Joe Hayes, professional storyteller and SFAOL contributor, has performed in hundreds of schools, libraries, museums and parks. He tells folktales from many cultures, and among his favorites are the local cuentos, the Hispanic tales of New Mexico. A highlight of every summer in Santa Fe, for children and adults alike, are his storytelling sessions outside the tepee at the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe.

In 1982, Mariposa Printing and Publishing company in Santa Fe presented 10 of these stories in "The Day It Snowed Tortillas." Now in its ninth printing, the book has become a regional favorite and has brought delight to readers throughout the country.

From the melodic song of "La Hormiguita"to the classic lament of "La Llorana," "The Day It Snowed Tortillas" is a collection that will captivate hearts for years to come. If you enjoy the stories of Joe Hayes on SFAOL, you can order this book or others he has written by visiting Cinco Puntos Press.

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