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SAN RAMON'S DAY IN THE MORNING
 ONE summer morning the red rooster on his perch in the fig tree woke up and took a look at the
He was a very responsible rooster. He was always the first one up in the morning, and I
really think he believed that if it were not for him the sun himself would forget to rise.
It was so very early that a few stars still shone, and a pale moon was sailing away toward
the west. Over the eastern hills the rooster saw a pink cloud, and knew at once that it
was time to wake the world. He stood up and stretched his wings. Then he crowed so long
and loud that he nearly fell off his
 perch backward, on to the cat, who was sleeping on the roof just below.
"Cock a doodle do-o-o!" he screamed. "I'm awake, are you-oo-oo?"
At least that is the way it must have sounded to all the other roosters in the little
village, for they began at once to answer him.
"Cock a doodle doo-oo, we're up as soon as you-oo," they cried; and soon there was such a
chorus of them calling back and forth that the five hens woke up, one after another, and
flew down from the perch, to hunt bugs for their breakfast.
Last of all the turkey opened his eyes and flapped heavily to the ground, gobbling all the
The cat stretched herself and sprang from the roof to the fig tree and sharpened her claws
on its bark.
The birds began to sing, and still there was no sound from the tiny gray adobe house under
the fig tree.
The little white hen tiptoed round to the
 front of the hut and peeped in at the open door. There in one corner of their one room lay
Tonio and Tita and their father and mother, all sound asleep.
The little white hen must have told the red rooster what she saw, for he followed her and
looked into the hut too. Then he ruffled his neck feathers, flapped his wings, and crowed
so loudly that Pancho and Dona Teresa and the Twins all woke at once and sat up with a
bounce, to see what was the matter.
It startled the little white hen to see them all sit up suddenly in a row, so she squawked
and scrambled out through the open door as fast as she could go.
The red rooster ran too, and the two of them never stopped until they disappeared behind
the bee-hives in the garden.
The moment she was really awake, Dona Teresa began to talk.
"Upon my soul!" she cried, crossing herself, "the red rooster gave me a dreadful
 turn. I was just in the midst of a most beautiful dream! But now he has driven it all
out of my head with his silly noise, and I cannot even remember what it was about!"
Dona Teresa rose, and while she talked she deftly rolled up the mat on which she had slept
and stood it on end in the corner of the room. You see it didn't take any time at all to
dress, because they always slept with their clothes on. But Dona Teresa was very
particular about one thing. She made them all wash their faces and hands the very first
thing every single morning!
For a wash-basin there was a part of a log, hollowed out like a trough. Beside the hollow
log there was a large red olla, with a gourd in it. Pancho had dipped water from the olla
into the trough and was already splashing about, while Dona Teresa, rolled the Twins off
on to the floor and placed their mats in the corner with the others.
"Come, my pigeons," she said to them, "it is time to be stirring. We are very lazy
 to lie in bed after cockcrow on San Ramon's Day!
"Oh, Little Mother," cried Tita, picking herself up, "is it really the fiesta of San
Ramon? And may I take the little white hen to be blessed, all myself?"
"You may take the little white hen if you can catch her," Dona Teresa answered. "Indeed,
we must take all the animals, or at the very least one of each kind to stand for all the
others. The turkey must be caught, and the goat must be brought from the field so I can
milk her. Tonto [that was what they called the donkey] is waiting in the shed to be made
ready, not to speak of the cat and dog! Bless my soul, how many things there are to be
While his mother talked, Tonio had taken his lasso down from the nail where it hung, and
was just quietly slipping out of the door with it, when Dona Teresa saw him. "Here
you—Tonio," she cried, "come back and wash yourself!"
 Can't I wait until I've caught Pinto?" Tonio begged. "What's the use of washing? You only
get dirty again. Lots of the boys don't wash at all except on Sunday."
"Come right back and wash yourself this minute," commanded Dona Teresa. "You might as well
say it's no use to eat your
 breakfast because you'll be hungry again right away! As long as I'm your mother you shall
begin the day right at least."
Tonio groaned a little, and came back to the trough. There he did something that he called
washing, though I feel quite sure that there were corners behind his ears that were not
On the wall above the place where the sleeping mats had been spread, there was a picture
of the Virgin and Child, and Dona Teresa kept a little taper always burning before the
When they had all washed, Dona Teresa called Pancho and the Twins to her side, and all
four knelt in a row before the picture, crossed themselves, and murmured a little prayer.
"If you want the day to go right," said Dona Teresa as she rose from her knees, "always
begin with saying your prayers and washing your face. And now, Tonio, run and catch Pinto
for your father while I get his breakfast, for the cows must be rounded up
 for milking even if it is San Ramon's Day; and Tita, you take the little red olla and go
While the Twins were gone on these errands, Pancho fed the donkey, and Dona Teresa made
the fire in her queer little stove; only she didn't call it a stove—she called it a
brasero. It was a sort of box built up of clay and stones. The brasero stood in an
 alcove, and beside it was a large red olla, which Dona Teresa kept filled with water for
her cooking. Beyond the brasero was a cupboard for the dishes.
Dona Teresa knelt before the brasero and pulled out the ashes of yesterday's fire. Then
she put in some little sticks, lighted them, and set a flat red dish on top of the brasero
over the tiny flames.
In the corner of the room there was a pretty basket covered with a white drawn-work
napkin. Dona Teresa turned back the napkin and counted out ten flat cakes, made of corn
meal. They were yesterday's tortillas. These she put in the dish to heat.
When they were warm, she brought some of them to Pancho, with a dish of beans and red
chile sauce. Pancho sat down on a flat stone under the fig tree to eat his breakfast. He
had no knife or fork or spoon, but he really did not need them, for he tore the tortillas
into wedge-shaped pieces and scooped up the beans and chile sauce with them, and ate
scoop, beans, chile sauce, and all in one
 mouthful. The chile sauce was so hot with red pepper that you would have thought that
Pancho must have had a tin throat in order to swallow it at all; but he was used to it,
and never even winked his eyes when it went down. Just as he was taking the last bite of
the last tortilla, Tonio came back, leading Pinto by the rope of his lasso.
Tonio was very proud of catching Pinto and bringing him back to his father all by himself.
He even put the saddle on. But the moment he felt the saddle-girth around him Pinto
swelled up like everything, so that Tonio couldn't buckle it! Tonio pulled and tugged
until he was red in the face, but Pinto just stood still with his ears turned back, and
Then Pancho came up. He took hold of the strap, braced his knee against Pinto's side, and
Pinto knew it was no use holding his breath any longer, so he let go, and in a minute
Pancho had the strap securely fastened and had vaulted into the saddle.
 He was just starting away, when Dona Teresa came running out of the hut with something in
her hand. "Here's a bite of lunch for you," she said, "in case you get hungry in the
field. There's beans and chile sauce and four tortillas."
She had put it all nicely in a little dish with the tortillas fitted in like a cover over
the chile sauce and beans, and it was all tied up in a clean white cloth.
 Pancho took off his sombrero, put the dish carefully on his head, and clapped his hat down
over it. The hat was large, and the dish just fitted the crown, so it seemed quite safe.
Then he galloped off, looking very grand and gay, with his red serape flying out behind
When he was out of sight, Dona Teresa and the Twins had their breakfasts too, sitting on
the stones under the fig tree.