MEXICO - MEXICAN - MEXICAN-AMERICAN
MEXICO - MEXICAN - MEXICAN-AMERICAN
Book titles are in blue and underlined. Click on them to find out more about the books and how to buy them.
To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Alphabetized for your convenience with short descriptions to save you research time.
|Ashes for Gold: A Tale from Mexico (Mondo Folktales) by Katherine Maitland (1995 - Ages 9-12)
Tricked by a clever acquaintance, a poor Mexican still manages to turn ashes into gold.
|Borreguita And the Coyote: A Tale from Ayutla, Mexico (Reading Rainbow Books (Sagebrush)) by A. Aardema (1998 - Ages 4-8)
What's a little lamb to do about a fierce coyote that wants to eat her? Why, trick him, of course...and and trick him again...and trick him one more time! Here's a lively retelling of a Mexican folk tale by master story teller Verna Aardema, illustrated in bold, winning colors by Petra Mathers.
|Corn Woman (The): Stories and Legends of the Hispanic Southwest - Angel Vigil (1994)
The culture, history, and spirit of the Hispanic Southwest are brought to readers through this fascinating collection of 45 cuentos (stories and legends) from the region. From ancient creation myths of the Aztecs and traditional tales of Spanish colonialists to an eclectic sampling of the work of modern Latino storytellers, this book provides a rich tapestry of both obscure and well-loved stories-religious stories; animal tales; stories of magic, transformation, and wisdom; and chistes (short comic tales).
|Coyote & Native American Folk Tales: Native American Folk Tales - Joe Hayes (1983 - Ages 9-12)
These are Joe Hayes' personal selections from the legends of everyone's favorite prankster. Coyote's foolish antics have long been a source of entertainment as we watch him outsmart himself time and time again. These stories also teach us many of the origins of Native American myth and spirituality. Ten tales sure to delight readers of all ages.
|Cuentos de Cuanto Hay: Tales from Spanish New Mexico by J. Manuel Espinosa (intro) and Joe Hayes (translator). (1998)
In the summer of 1931, folklorist J. Manuel Espinosa traveled throughout northern New Mexico asking Spanish-speaking residents for cuentos de cuanto hay, tales of olden times. Espinosa's transcriptions were published in Spanish in 1937. Now storyteller Joe Hayes makes them available once again, in the original Spanish and now for the first time in English translation. To read these stories is to enter a world where the devil may come knocking on your door and ask you to marry him—and...
|Cuentos from Long Ago by Paulette Atencio (1999)
This bilingual sampler of southwestern tales, legends, and myths offers the modern reader wisdom passed down for hundreds of years. The themes of these stories are universal--love and its costs, forgiveness, good versus evil--but the voices, images, and incidents are unique to the Southwest. Set in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and northern Mexico, this timeless material offers lessons about life and how to triumph over its hardships.
|Cuentos from My Childhood : Legends and Folktales of Northern New Mexico by Paulette Atencio (1999)
These twenty-five New Mexico legends and folktales, in English and regional Spanish, were told to the author by her mother, who in turn learned them from her godmother. They relate to the supernatural and deliver the truths and moral messages of centuries-old folktales told around the world.
|Dichos: Proverbs and Sayings from the Spanish by Charles Aranda (1977)
Reader Review: Reading this book "Dichos" sure brings back memories of when I was growing up; my mom and my grandma. I recognized so many of the "Dichos" as I was reading through the book of my mom & grandma saying these "dichos". Those were the good old days. This book deserves 5 stars.
|Domitila: A Cinderella Tale from the Mexican Tradition by Jewell Reinhart Coburn and Connie McLennan (illus) (2000)
Domitila is not only "sweeter than a cactus bloom in early spring," she is also a talented cook and an amazing leather artist. Most of the classical elements of a Cinderella story can be found in Domitila. A gentle weaving of her mother's nurturing with strong family traditions is the secret ingredient for Domitila to rise above hardship to eventually become the Governor's bride.
|Eagle and the Rainbow (The): Timeless Tales from Mexico by Antonio Hernandez Madrigal and Tomie dePaola (illus) (1997 - Ages 9-12)
With dePaola's richly colored, robust illustrations, this is a tiny treasure of hard-to-find Mexican folktales that sparkles with wisdom and wonder. The selection is small--five legends, one each from five of the indigenous cultures of Mexico. At the conclusion of each legend, Madrigal provides a brief description of the culture and customs of the people to whom the legend is attributed.
|Eagle on the Cactus (The): Traditional Stories from Mexico by Angel Vigil (2000)
A glimpse into the living legacy of Mexican folklore. After an overview of Mexico's history from the Mesoamerican indigenous era to modern times, Vigil explores the fascinating traditions of Oaxacan wood carving, Huichol bead and yarn art, folk masks, folklorico dance costumes, and Mexican folklore. A collection of tales follows, including classic tales, pourquoi creation tales from native people of pre-Hispanic Mexico, and tales from the Spanish colonial era of Mexican history-trickster tales, adventure and wonder stories.
|Emerald Lizard (World Storytelling) - Pleasant DeSpain (August House 1999)
The author has explored Latin America its countries, countrysides, customs, cultures, and especially, its stories. While his repertoire of traditional world folktales includes narratives from almost every culture around the globe, DeSpain's talent shines even brighter when relating the legends from Latin America. His exploration of the heart and soul of this enormous region demonstrates his passion for Latin America and its people and their stories.
|Fiesta! by Sherry Shanan and Paula Barragan (August House - coming September 2008)
Sherry Shahan and Paula Barragan, the award-winning team that brought you a bilingual look at colors (Spicy Hot Colors) and numbers (Cool Cats Counting) take you on a colorful romp through the year by looking at Latino Festivals such as Cinco De Mayo and Inti Raymi (Festival of the Sun). By the end of this book, you will be sure to say, OLE!!
|Giant & the Rabbit (The): Six Bilingual Folktales from Hispanic Culture by Sarah Barchas (1996)
Six folktale reflecting the richness and diversity of Hispanic culture are shared bilingually by storyteller Sarah Barchas. The package includes a guidebook that can be used in classrooms or with ESL students.
|Holy Mole!: A Folktale from Mexico by Caroline McAlister (August House 2007 - Ages 4-8)
When the Spanish viceroy comes for an unscheduled visit to the monastery, the cook goes into a frenzy. What will they feed this important ambassador to the king? Carlos, the orphan boy who works in the kitchen, tries to stay out of the way as lunch is hastily prepared, but his curiosity gets the best of him. His eagerness results in a moment of crisis, followed by what Brother Roberto can only assume is a miracle.
|Magic From Mexico New Edition: Spells, Prayers & Recipes by Dr. Mary Devine (2000)
A mysterious ancient religion, born in America, lives and thrives. Explore Brujeria, the religio-magical system with Aztec roots that has survived the Spanish Conquest, the Inquisition, and urban-industrial America. Brujeria and the Church are no strangers to one another. When the Spanish priests tried to redirect the people's worship of the Aztec Goddess Tonantzin by naming Her "Our Lady of Guadalupe", they unconsciously helped to preserve the Old Religion of Mexico and the power of the brujas, the village wise-women.
|Mayan Folktales: Folklore from Lake Atitlï¿½n, Guatemala by James D. Sexton (editor) (1999)
Here are everyday tales of village life; legends of witches, shamans, spiritualists, tricksters, and devils; fables of naguales, or persons who can change into animal forms; ribald stories of love and life; cautionary tales of strange and menacing neighbors and of the danger lurking within the human heart. These legends narrate origin and creation stories, explain the natural world, and reinforce cultural beliefs and values such as honesty, industriousness, sharing, fairness, and cleverness.
Mexican-American folklore: Legends, songs, festivals, proverbs, crafts, tales of saints, of revolutionaries, and more (The American folklore series) - John West (August House 2007)
|Momentos Magicos/Magic Moments
by Olga Loya (August House 1997 - Ages 4-8)
In Latin American culture with its blend of Indian, Spanish, Catholic, and African influence magic is a part of the everyday world. Momentos mA-gicos, or magic moments, can come in many forms. For storyteller Olga Loya, magic occurs every time an ancient story is passed from teller to listener. The sixteen stories here are full of momentos ma-gicos.
|My Land Sings: Stories from the Rio Grande by Rudolfo Anaya and Amy Cordova (illus) (2001 - Ages 9-12)
Stories as beautiful and mysterious as the Rio Grande itself...A young Spanish man named Rolando journeys to the New World to find the legendary Fountain of Youth. But at what price will Rolando taste the waters of eternal life? On a dare, Lupe goes down to the river one night to search for la Llorona, a ghostly woman who walks in search of her drowned baby. Abel, a shepherd, saves a snake from a fire and in return is given the ability to understand the speech of animals.
|Picture Tales from Mexico by Dan Storm (1995 - Ages 4-8)
These charming tales reflect generations of Hispanic story-telling tradition. Gathered in the early 1900s, these stories were originally published in 1940 by the Storm brothers who grew up hearing them while living in Mexico.
|Spanish-American Folktales: The Practical Wisdom of Spanish-Americans in 28 Eloquent and Simple Stories by Teresa Pijoan De Van Etten (August House 1990 - Agees 9-12)|
|Spicy Hot Colors: Colores Picantes by Sherry Shahan and Paula Barragan (August House 2004 - Ages 4-8)
Colors explode off the page as Sherry Shahan's energetic, jazzy poetry introduces young readers to colors in English and Spanish. In a style brimming with rhythm and syncopation, Shahan introduces nine colors by interweaving images and dance steps. Ecuadoran artist Paula BarragA-n's computer-enhanced cut-paper illustrations capture the rhythm and vivacity of the text.
|Stories from a Dark and Evil World by Teresa Pijoan and Sharon Franco (translator)
In every religion, culture and language, the spirits of the dark side are as real as the spirits of the light. The simple sorrow of everyday life can trigger a visit from an evil spirit. These are stories of the foreboding beings and presences who exist just outside our consciousness.
|Story of Colors/La Historia de Los Colores (The): A Bilingual Folktale from the Jungles of Chiapas by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos and Domitilia Dominquez (illus) (1999)
This wonderful folktale reveals some of the down-to-earth wisdom of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. At the same time, it provides us with a fresh perspective on the struggles of the people there. They fight to conserve their culture and a vision of the world which they see as flowering with holiness-a holiness that cannot be measured in dollars or defined by politics.
|Tio Conejo/Uncle Rabbit: And Other Latin American Trickster Tales
- Olga Loya (August House 1997 - Ages 4-8)
Latino stories of the trickster are told in many countries and retold to each generation because they instruct, and because they are fun. In folktales, the trickster can be the wise one or the fool, the one who fools or the one who is fooled. That is why children of all ages enjoy hearing these tales. In these four stories, told in Spanish and English, the trickster takes animal form a monkey, an opossum, a dog, and a rabbit.
|When Night Falls, Kric! Krac!: Haitian Folktales - Lilane Louis (1999)
When night falls in Haiti, it's time for stories. The storyteller says "kric," the audience responds "krac," and all of the children become very excited. This collection brings you wonderful treasures from a country that is rich in spirit and culture. Through lively tales remembered from childhood, storyteller Liliane Nerette Louis shares with readers and listeners the warmth, fondness, and humor of her beautiful and mysterious homeland. The 28 tales are arranged by subjects and themes.
|Why Opossum Is Gray: A Story from Mexico (First-Start Legends) by Janet Palazzo-Craig (1999 - Ages 4-8)
Little Opossum learns the value of playing 'possum when she tries to steal fire from the great Firemaker.
Troll First-Start Legends are a delightful introduction to the fascinating world of multicultural legends written and designed especially for primary-level readers.
Online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story and song titles are in quotations.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Short descriptions included for your convenience and to save you research time.
Mexican Folklore from American Folklore from S.E. Schlosser.
Includes Mexican Ghost Stories, Mexican Myths & Legends, Mexican Fairy Tales and Latin American Folklore.
Resources for Spanish Teachers - If you teach Spanish, you'll find these resources useful for helping your students learn.
Spanish Fairy Tale: "Once Upon a Fairy Tale: The Bird-Cage Maker."
Aesop's Fables in Spanish.
Folklore: Legends, Saings, Beliefs from lasculturas.com.
Extensive pages of Mexican Folklore.
The role of Mexican folklore in teaching and learning from Learn NC. Ways to use folklore in the classroom.
"La Llorona" - Mexican folklore. From Xomba.
History on Mexican Folklore: Folkloric dance traditions of Mexico.
"Señor Coyote and the Cheese: A Mexican Folktale as retold by Marci Stillerman.
Magic Tales of Mexico, collected by Gabriel A. Cordova, Jr. Includes "Domingo Siete (Sunday Seven):; "El Principe Oso (The Bear-Prince)"; "Blanca Flor (Whiste Flower)"; "El Conejito Verde (The Little Green Rabbit)"; "Clemencia y Jose (Clemencia and Jose)"; "La Reina More (The Gypsy Queen)"; "El Saco de Piojo (The Louse-Skin Coat)"; "La Camara Prohibida (The Forbidden Chamber)"; and "El Secreto del Gigante (The Giant's Secret)". Also contains Notes & Bibliography. Spanish/English side by side.
Folktales of Mexico. History, Myths and Legends from Wikipedia.
"The Smiling Rabbit" from Folktales from Mexico.
"Horse Hooves and Chicken Feet" - Mexican Folktales.
SOS: SEARCHING OUT STORIES AND INFORMATION - MEXICO - MEXICAN - MEXICAN-AMERICAN
Advice, Discussion and References from Storytellers, Teachers, Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)
Book titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more stories and information.
Story titles are in quotation marks.
To retell any stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.
1) "Sunday Seven" (Domingo Siete)
Long ago there were two hunchbacks. One was kind but the other was mean and spiteful. The two hunchbacks cold not work in the village because everybody made fun of them; therefore they went into the hills to cut wood. That is, the kind one cut all the wood since the mean and spiteful one was very lazy and was always telling his companion;
"Ay!, how sick I am today. It is better if you go and cut the wood this week." His partner, being kind-hearted, would go into the mountains and do all the work week after week.
One day, when the mean one had stayed at home as usual, the good woodcutter worked very hard and was very tired. Since his house was far away, he decided to camp near a small spring. About midnight, the woodcutter heard someone singing. At first he thought that somebody had camped near by but when he had listened to what was being sung, he realized that the voices he heard were not human.
Very cautiously he arose and silently walked to the place where the singing came from. Imagine his surprise when he saw a group of fairies singing and dancing around a blazing fire.
Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday three,
Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday three.
That was all the fairies sang, they repeated the same line over and over again. It seemed that it was the only song they knew. The woodcutter then decided that he would talk to them. Naturally, as soon as he heard them singing again, he went near the fire and the fairies saw him at once.
"What do you want, oh mortal?" asked the fairies. "Why do you come to bother us?"
"Because I can help you. Listen tome and you will see that your song will sound better this way." Then he sang:
Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday three,
Thursday and Friday and Saturday six.
Oh! The fairies were filled with joy. They noticed then that the good woodcutter was a hunchback. They told him to kneel down and with a magic wand touched his hump. Immediately it disappeared, leaving him strong and strong.
Suddenly the earth began to tremble; the rocks began to share, all with a terrifying sound.
"It is the ogres who come!. Quickly!" the fairies told the woodcutter. "Climb that tree; otherwise the ogres will kill you." And the fairies disappeared.
Quick as the wink of an eye, the woodcutter climbed the tree and hid in it foliage. No sooner had the woodcutter settled himself than three ugly and huge ogres sat themselves at the base of the tree and began to chat.
"Well, amigos, what evil deeds have you performed during the year?" Thus they asked each other.
"Well," said one of the ogres, "I have blinded the entire village. And so blind are they, that not even the sun can they see."
They all laughed and poked each other in the ribs.
The second ogre then said:
"Ha! you think that was work? I have condemned the people of my kingdom to silence. And so dumb are they that even the children are unable to cry."
The ogres laughed louder than before.
"Well, senores," said the third, "I haven't been idle either. I have made my people so deaf that they cannot even hear the cries of the souls in purgatory."
And the ogres laughed more loudly than ever, rolling on the ground with merriment. They were so evil that all human miseries caused them joy. The poor woodcutter, hearing them speak thus, trembled with horror.
"However," said the ogre who had spoken first, "if you have done as I have, then everything proceeds well. Those poor unfortunates whom I have blinded don't know how easily they can be cured. Nevertheless, don't think I am going to cure, much less give them the remedy."
"Good," said the second ogre. "You are going to tell us, no? I also have a remedy to cure the deafness of my people and I am sure that our friend here has also a remedy for the dumbness of his people."
"You are right," answered the third ogre, "I also have a remedy."
"Senores," said the first, "to cure the blindness of my subjects all one has to do is to collect the dew during the first week of April. Then by rubbing a finger dipped in this dew over the eyes of the blind, they will be cured."
"You must guard you secret well; it is very ingenious." exclaimed the second ogre. "But listen to my remedy. As I have told you, I have deafened my subjects. Do you know how they can be cured? It is certainly more difficulty to cure this deafness than the blindness you spoke of. You have heard of the Hill of the Bells; all one has to do is take the person who is afflicted with dearness to this Hill, place him next to the rock, and then strike this rock with a hammer. The sound resulting from the blow will cure the deaf person."
"That is nothing," said the third ogre. "To cure the dumbness of my people, one must go into the fields and pick flowers from the cenizo plant, which blooms only after a good rain. These flowers are set to boil, and a tea is made from them. The afflicted is given this tea to drink. Then not only is he cured of dumbness, but of every known ailment."
The ogres were enjoying themselves a great deal, but since dawn was approaching, they agreed to meet again at the same place a year from that date.
As son as the ogres left. the woodcutter clambered down from the tree saying to himself, "since the fairies have been kind tome, I will repay kindness with kindness. I will go and cure those poor afflicted persons the ogres talked about. However, since it is a long time until April, I will first go and cure the deaf and the dumb."
Walking, walking, the woodcutter finally reached the land of the dumb. The good man picked the cenizo flowers, brewed the tea, and gave it to the dumb. Immediately their speech was restored. So grateful were all these people that they loaded the woodcutter's little donkey with bars of gold and silver. From the land of the dumb, the woodcutter traveled to the kingdom of the deaf. He took the deaf to the Hill of the Bells and cured them. Dios mio! what joy! These people also gave the woodcutter a donkey loaded with gold and silver bars. Since April was near, the woodcutter traveled to the country of the blind. Camping on a grass-covered prairie, he waited for the first week of April When the proper time arrived, the good woodcutter collected the dew from the grass, entered the village of the blind, and cured all. As a reward, the previously blind loaded their benefactor with still more gold and silver.
At last he returned to his home, where his friend the envious hunchback, awaited him. The good woodcutter related his adventures but the evil one didn't care about the gold or the silver. He wanted to rid his back of its hump.
"Compadre," the evil one would ask his good friend, "why don't you tell me where this tree is? The ogres will be there soon; maybe I can also be rich like you. But above all, I hope the fairies will straighten my back."
The kind-hearted woodcutter took pity on his friend and agreed to do as he asked. On the morning of the day set for the meeting of the ogres, the good woodcutter took his friend to the tree. The mean hunchback, without even thanking his kind companion, climbed the tree and set himself to await the arrival of the ogres and the fairies.
Before the fairies arrived, the earth and the rocks trembled as in the previous occasion and the ogres met under the tree.
"Amigos", said the largest ogre, "there is a traitor amongst us. Someone has cured the blindness of my subjects. We were the only ones who know what was said here a year ago; it must be one of us."
"It wasn't I," said the second, "because in my kingdom the dumb can now talk."
"And my previously deaf people can now hear," called in anger the third. "A woodcutter came to my kingdom and cured everyone."
"He was the one that cured my subjects!" exclaimed the other two ogres.
The fairies appeared then, singing and dancing. Their fear of the ogres was forgotten.
Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday three
Thursday and Friday and Saturday six.
The hunchback, who had seen the fairies come out, was impatient to add to the song, hoping that his hump would be removed. When the fairies reached the word "six" the hunchback yelled the first thing that came to his mind:
"And Sunday seven!"
For an instant the ogres and the fairies stood as if carved from stone. Recovering their faculties in an instant, the fairies exclaimed, "Our song has been ruined!" Then they disappeared.
The ogres by this time had also looked around. Yelling "There is the traitor!" they reached into the tree and brought down the hunchback.
"And so it was you, insignificant spider, who revealed our secrets! Well, take this!" And the ogres decorated the back of the hunchback with another hump.
NOTES FOR DOMINGO SIETE
"Domingo Siete" is one of Mexico's best known tales. Any malapropism made by a Mexican will draw the comment, "y salio con su Domingo Siete" (he came out with his Sunday Seven), meaning that he has said or done something foolish.
J. Frank Dobie has recorded a version of "Domingo Siete' in Tongues of the Monte, pp 7-18. Dobie has interspersed the story with his own comments, but retains the flavor and the sequence fairly well. Another version closely allied to "Domingo Siete' was published in R.S. Bogg's book, Three Golden Oranges, pp49-58, under the title "Tonino and the Fairies."
In the Aarne-Thompson index (Type 503), the central incident of the story concerns fairies who remove the hump from a hunchback after he gains their confidence. He does this by any of several means, by joining in their dances, by making music for them, or by supplying the names of missing days of the week in their song; sometimes also, by submitting peacefully while the fairies cut his hair or shave him. The avaricious companion is also present in the story; however, he is given the hump that was taken from the hero.
Stith Thompson in The Folktale, p.49, states that in its present form the tale was recorded as early as the seventeenth century in the literature of both Italy and Ireland, and that earlier there had been an Arabic literary story dating from the fourteenth century in which a demon or afrit removes the hump from the hero and puts it on a second man, the villain.
Bolte-Polivka in Hausmarchen, Vol. 111, pp.324-328, discusses the different versions, stating that this type of story is very popular in Wester Europe, especially in France. Thompson (The Folktale, pg.49) also reports one lone version from a Japanese collection.
Relationship of "Domingo Siete' to tales of the sam general type.
1. The hero is a hunchback.
2. The hero has an avaricious companion.
3. The hero completes a rhyme for the fairies.
4. The fairies remove the hero's hump (Thompson's Motif F 344.1).
5. The companion persuades the hero to lead him to the meeting place of the fairies.
1. The avaricious companion in "Domingo Siete' is also a hunchback.
2. Three ogres appear in the story "Domingo Siete".
3. The hero of "Domingo Siete' overhears the ogres discussing cures for certain illnesses.
a. Blindness. (Aarne Thompson Type 1135 Motif D-1821.4)
4. The hero of "Domingo Siete' cures the afflicted people who in turn reward the hero with gold and silver.
5. The ogres in "Domingo Siete' place a second hump on the avaricious companion, believing him to be the person responsible for revealing their secrets.
Aarne-Thompson: Type 503
R.S. Boggs: "Tonino and the Fairies." (From Three Golden Oranges, pp 49-58.)
J. Frank Dobie: Tongues of the Monte, pp 7-18 (No name given to the story.)
Sra. Carmen F. de Cordova
El Paso, Texas
[This story and many others may be found at:
El Principe Oso (The Bear-Prince)
Blanca Flor (White Flower)
El Conejito Verde (The Little Green Rabbit)
Clemencia y Jose (Clemencia and Jose)
La Reina Mora (The Gypsy Queen)
El Saco de Piojo (The Louse-Skin Coat)
La Camara Prohibida (The Forbidden Chamber)
El Secreto del Gigante (The Giant's Secret)
2) The Legend of the Poinsettia
A charming story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness rather than joy.
"I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes," said Pedro consolingly.
Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.
As she approached the alter, she remembered Pedro's kind words: "Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes." She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.
Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes.
From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season.
Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!
This story and other information may be found at:
3) "Rabbit and his Cap of Antlers' – a Mayan tale from Mesico
[Told by don Pedro Miguel Say, Q'anjob'al Maya. Translated and edited by Fernando Peñalosa and Janet Sawyer]
Once when the rabbit, that is, the mayor, still had his antlers, he met a deer. The rabbit said to the deer: "Brother, look at the cap [antlers] Our Father gave me." "Come here, brother," said the deer, "Lend it to me," said the deer to the rabbit. "You're too small, it doesn't fit you, but I'm big.Maybe your cap will fit me, I'm going to try it on my head."
The rabbit handed his cap to the deer and the deer put it on his head:. "Look brother, how nice it looks on me. I'm going to dance so you can see. Then I'm going for a walk and afterwards I'll come back here to you and I'll give you your cap back," said the deer to the rabbit. The deer went off and didn't come back with the rabbit's cap.
The rabbit was waiting for him, just waiting and crying because he didn't have his cap any more. It occurred to him to get up from where he was crying and go notify his king. He came before the king: "Father!" said the rabbit to the king.
"What have you come to tell me, my son?" the king asked the rabbit. "My brother went off with the cap you gave me, father. My brother, the deer told me he was just going to try it on, and I gave him the cap you had given me, father."
"'Why did our father give it to you?' the deer asked me. 'Our father should have given it to me, because I'm big. Your cap fits me well,' my brother said. I thought he was my brother. So I gave it to him, but he just went off with it anyway. He left, and I just sat waiting for him to come back with my cap. He didn't come back and I got tired of waiting for him so long. That's why I have come to ask you, father, to give me another cap in place of the one my brother took, and also make me taller because my uncle deer said I was too little."
"'That cap doesn't fit you,' he told me, father. That's why I want to grow as big as my uncle deer." "All right, I'll make you taller, my son. I'll make your body grow. If you do what I say, I'll give you what you ask for," said the king to the rabbit.
"What shall I do for you, father?" asked the rabbit. "Now I'm telling you that if you want to be as big as your brother the deer, I'm going to grant your wish," said the king to the rabbit. "Now, go and bring me fifteen loads of skins. If you bring them to me I'll make your body grow and I'll give you your cap back."
"All right," said the rabbit, and went off to the fields, to the mountains and to the sea. The rabbit bought himself a guitar. When he came to a plain he sat down to rest. He had been playing music with his guitar for a while when an old snake came up to him.
"What are you doing, brother?" the snake asked brother rabbit.
"I've come to play music for you, uncle," said the rabbit to the snake.
"Oh, your song is sad, uncle," said the snake to Uncle Rabbit.
"Yes," said the rabbit to the snake.
"May I dance a little?" the snake asked Uncle Rabbit.
The rabbit answered: "Of course you may dance. That's why I came to play a song for you. But I would just like to ask you, uncle, where is your weak spot? Because my marimba stick might reach your weak spot. Show it to me, so I can see where it is," said the rabbit to the snake.
"All right, brother," said the snake. "Here's my weak spot, right at the end of my tail."
"All right, brother, now that I've noticed where your weak spot is, you can dance without worrying," Uncle Rabbit told the snake. The rabbit needed to collect skins, but the snake didn't suspect what the rabbit was planning to do to him.
"Dance! Go ahead and dance. Enjoy your dance," said the rabbit to the snake, "because that's why I came to play near your house. Dance, enjoy, and don't be afraid. Here, come close to me."
When he saw him nearby, the rabbit thought: "He's mine now. I know where his weak spot is." The snake danced and came near the rabbit.
"Bring your tail near," said the rabbit to the snake. The snake raised his tail near the rabbit. The rabbit saw that the snake was near him and he killed him. Then he skinned him and went off with his skin.
The rabbit came to a mountain and began to play his guitar once more. Shortly after he had come to the mountain, a big old lion approached Uncle Rabbit. He was playing his music when the lion arrived.
"Hey, uncle, why have you come here to play?" the lion asked the rabbit.
"I've just have come to play, brother," the rabbit said. "Do you like music?"
"Yes, I like music." said the lion.
"Do you like to dance?" the rabbit asked the lion.
"Yes, I like to," the lion answered. "If you'll play a song for me, I'll be wanting to dance," said the lion.
"I'm going to play some music for you, because the reason I came to your house was to play music. Dance, enjoy your dance. Don't be afraid, Good, dance, only tell me where your weak spot is. I'd just like to ask you where your weak spot is. Dance, enjoy your dance," said the rabbit to the lion.
"All right, brother, here's my weak spot, right here, on the back of my neck."
"All right brother," said the rabbit. "Dance uncle, dance, dance, dance. Don't be afraid, come closer, come here beside me. I know where your weak spot is, so I won't hit you there. I know where it is. Try to dance a little bent over."
The lion became careless while he was dancing, and the rabbit hit him on the head. The lion died, the rabbit skinned him and took away two more skins, two large skins.
The rabbit walked, and walked and walked. He took his skins to a place on the beach, and played there once more. An alligator heard the rabbit playing a song and came up to him: "Is that you playing, Uncle Rabbit?" the alligator asked.
"Yes, I'm the one who is playing for you," said the rabbit, "for I want you to dance. I thought maybe uncle would like a song. So I came to play a song for you."
"Oh, is it true what you say? I like songs and I would like you to play one for me," said the alligator.
"All right, I'll play you a song, but you have to dance."
"Yes, I'll dance, for I really like to," the alligator told Uncle Rabbit.
"I'd like to ask you where your weak spot is. Just tell me where your weak spot is. Don't worry, just show me where it is. If my marimba stick hits you, you could die," said Uncle Rabbit to the alligator.
"All right, brother, my weak spot is here, right at the end of my tail," said the alligator.
"All right, so dance. Dance with all your might and stretch out your tail." While he was dancing the alligator became careless and the rabbit hit his weak spot. The alligator died and the rabbit skinned him.
The rabbit left the beach and came near a plantation where there was sugar cane, where there were bananas, where there were oranges, where there were sapotes. Near the plantation there was a house with monkeys and coatis, as well as two other households. He came to one of the houses bringing bananas.
"Ah," the monkeys said to him "do you have bananas, uncle?"
"Here, have some." said the rabbit to one of the monkeys.
"All right," said the monkey. The monkey ate the bananas. Then the rabbit said: "Here you're just starving, but I have a plantation nearby where there are a lot of good things to eat. There are bananas, there is sugar cane, there are oranges, there are sapotes," said the rabbit to the monkeys.
"All right, uncle, give us some," said the monkeys to the rabbit.
"There's a lot of food, and it's just going to waste, because there's no one to eat it," said the rabbit to the monkeys. "Tomorrow we'll go to my plantation, all of you and your families, and if there are some others they can come with us too. Aren't there some other friends of ours here?" the rabbit asked the monkeys.
"Oh, if you please, there's another family of our friends that are hungry; they have no food," the monkeys told the rabbit.
"Tomorrow you're all going to go with me," the rabbit said to the monkeys.
The next day all the monkeys and all the coatis set off for the plantation and arrived there. "Eat, brothers, enjoy the food," said the rabbit to all of them.
"All right," they said and they were happy. That day passed.
"Are you all satisfied?" the rabbit asked them.
"Yes, we're fine, brother."
"So let's go. Each one of you can take something along," the rabbit said to them.
"All right, uncle," they said and set off. They came to a plain.
"We're going to rest," the rabbit said to them. They rested on the plain. The monkeys were playing with the coatis and didn't know that the rabbit was plotting against their lives.
The rabbit said to them: "Bring two nets, brothers."
"What are you saying uncle, are we going to play?"
"I want you to make me two nets," the rabbit said to them.
"Why?" they asked.
"I'm going to weigh you, so we can see who weighs the most," said the rabbit.
"All right," they said, and got into the nets. "All you monkeys, get in there, and all you coatis get in over there. Push your snouts out through the net so you'll be able to breathe and won't suffocate."
"All right," the fools said.
The rabbit closed up the nets and went to look for a club, saying: "When I come back you'll get out of the nets." But when the rabbit came back with the club he was ferocious, and struck them on the snout:
"Now uncles, you're going to pay for the bananas you ate." He killed the uncles in the two nets. All those that were in the two nets died, and he skinned them all. He used an armadillo as a pack animal, the armadillo carrying the skins for him. He had collected them as the king had ordered, so that he would increase his height and give him back his cap.
He returned and came before the king with fifteen loads of skins. The king didn't believe the rabbit was going to succeed, and so he didn't realize he was bringing all those skins. When he came before the king with the skins, the rabbit said: "See, father, I have brought the skins."
The king was astonished. "Did you really go and get them?" he asked. "I don't believe you."
"No father, they're here."
"Let's see them," the king said.
"Here they are, father." He took them out of his net one at a time and the king saw him take out the alligator's skin, the lion's skin, the big snake's skin, the monkeys' skins and the coatis' skins.
"Oh," said the king," getting angry, "What do you want in exchange for these skins?"
"I want you to make me taller and give me my cap back."
"Oh," said the king, "what a shameless rabbit you are. In spite of everything you want to be big. You actually killed your own brothers. You actually killed them. You're so small. If you were larger, if I made you bigger, you'd kill all your brothers. Look here, you killed the lion, the alligator, and the snake, even though you're real little.
"Well, now, you're going to have to forgive me, my son, but this is the punishment I've decreed: Bring me your ears so I can stretch them. You shameless thing, you already killed your brothers who are bigger than you. Now never come back here again. You're going once and for all, I'm just going to make your ears grow."
Maya stories from Mexico about rabbits at this websiste:
"The Rabbit Throws Out His Sandal"
"The Rabbit and the Coyote"
"The Rabbit as Cowherd"
"The Rabbit as Swineherd"
"The Rabbit and the Ram"
"The Rabbit and the Crab"
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4) The Little Red Ant and the Great Big Crumb
A Mexican Fable retold by Shirley Climo. Illustrated by Francisco X. Mora — a fun story to tell to preschoolers. In structure it's bit of a cross between "The Little Red Hen and the Grain of Wheat" and "The Stonecutter."
In a cornfield in Mexico, a little red ant lived with her nine hundred and ninety-nine cousins. One day while they were all out searching for food, the little red ant found a "torta" (cake) crumb, but couldn't lift it by herself to carry it home. She tried to find help by asking a lizard, a rooster, and a coyote, but they wouldn't help. Then she saw a man, so she tried to ask him. He couldn't hear her so she climbed up to his ear. When she shouted into the man's ear, it scared him away. The little ant realised that if she, as little as she was, could scare a man away, then she could carry the crumb by herself. And she did!
Mabel K. Australia 4/7/08
5) Side-By-Side books.(PASSPORT BOOKS-a Division of NTC Publishing Group).
They have the Spanish and English versions of stories right next to each other.
Created 2004; last update 12/30/09
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