Ok, in honor of Cinco de Mayo (one day late) we will do another Mexican Cinderella. This one is called Domitila and the version we read was adopted by Jewell Reinhart Coburn. We had big plans to do lots of Mexican crafts to share with you for Cinco de Mayo, but it didn't happen. I have realized two things, the weather is nice so we want to be outside and Hazel needs time just to play with her toys right now, so most of the crafts will wait until after her school and classes end. Since we shared Adelita, another Mexican Cinderella, two weeks ago, we will not share all the information about Mexico. However I thought it would be fun to share a bit about Cinco de Mayo.
Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for the fifth of May. It is a special holiday in Mexico because it commemorates the day Benito Juarez, who was president of Mexico, led his followers to a temporary victory on May 5, 1862 against the French army led by Archduke Maximilian of Austria in Pueblo. The French did eventually succeed to throw out Juarez, but after pressure from the United States, France withdrew and Maximilian was executed. Juarez returned to Mexico and remained president until his death in 1872. (Source: Fiesta! Mexico's Great Celebrations by Elizabeth Silverthorne )
Now onto our story for this week: Domitila! One of the things I love about this book is on every other page is a picture and on the word pages there is a beautiful trim with a Spanish phrase on top and the English on the bottom. Each phrase is a piece of good life advice or saying.
On a rancho in the Mexican state of Hidalgo lived a poor farmer and his wife with their only child, a daughter named Domitila. The family worked hard and were very happy together. Her mother always told her, "Do every task with care, and always add a generous dash of love." Together they built the bricks for their adobe casa. One day there was a very bad storm their house was destroyed and Domitila's mother became ill. Their small corn patch was also destroyed. Her father sent Domitila to the governor's mansion since he heard they were paying well for cooks there and her money could help feed them until they could grow some more corn.
While cooking in the governor's mansion her cooking skills were recognized and she became the second cook. One night she was in charge of cooking dinner for the abuela and the eldest son of the governor. The arrogant son was upset at what she served and called for her. The abuela told him to try the food first and he loved it. The next morning he expected food just as good, but during the night Domitila had been called home since her mother was gravely ill.
She arrived home too late to see her mother. She stayed with her father in mourning. In the meantime, the eldest son decided to find the mysterious cook. He only knew she was a great cook, lived on a rancho in Hidalgo and made beautiful leather pieces. He rode all over Hidalgo in search of her. An evil widow sent him on a wild goose chase and then went to Domitila's father's casa so she could trick the governor's son into marrying her daughter.
While visiting Domitila's casa, the evil widow ends up tricking Domitila's father into marrying her. Now Domitila has to serve her evil stepmother and lazy stepsister. Domitila discovers what it is like to work without happiness and love.
Meanwhile, the governor's son smells the delicious delicacies of Domitila's at the fall fiesta. The women at the fiesta tell him all about Domitila and where to find her. Sure enough he finds her and falls in love with her. They get married and the evil widow and her daughter run away. Domitila's father joins the happy couple at the governor's mansion where they all live happily.
I loved the positive messages throughout the book and that Domitila worked to help her parents. She did not need rescuing by the governor's son. I really enjoyed this story.