Ashes From Gold – Las Cenizas Por El Oro – A Folktale from Mexico for Use in Kids Yoga Classes

Mexican flying pole dancers in Puerto Vallarta, 2010 by Sydney Solis

Mexican flying pole dancers in Puerto Vallarta, 2010

I wrote this script based on a Mexican folktale for my son's second grade Montessori School of Golden, Colorado classroom in 2006.

Get kids to TELL stories in their entirety for listening and attention, original thinking and critical thinking skills and images created on the inside - in the body, not externally consumed from a book.

I love books, but oral is primary! It has so many advantages. Try it out!

Use this as a reader's theatre or to tell orally. Then act it out with play or with yoga. Asana suggestions and Spanish vocabulary at end of this story.

There is no right or wrong! Only play the Storytime Yoga® way!

Ashes From Gold - Las Cenizas por el Oro - A Folktale from Mexico for Use in Kids Yoga Classes

Retold by Sydney Solis

Cast of Characters



Once upon a time there was a man named Paco. Paco era muy flaco. He was very skinny. He was also not very smart, no era muy inteligente.  Paco had a friend named Pedro. Pedro era muy gordo, he was very fat. And he liked to play tricks on his friend. One day, Pedro visited his friend Paco.


Mira! I have all this gold! El oro!”

PEDRO: “How did you get all that gold? El oro?”

PACO:  “I sold ashes, las cenizas, from my fireplace, de la chiminea! You can sell ashes in the marketplace, el mercado, too, and the people will pay you with gold! El oro! Try it, Paco!”

NARRATOR: But that wasn’t the truth. Pedro had been to the market earlier and sold some other things.

PACO:  I’m going to sell ashes in the market too and get some gold! El oro!

NARRATOR: Paco shoveled a bunch of ashes from his chimney, la chiminea, into a big bag and started out on the long journey into town to sell his ashes, las cenizas, at the mercado, the market. When he got there, the market, el mercado, was filled with many people, muchas personas.

PACO:  Ashes! Ashes for sale! Cenizas, se vende cenizas, solo 10 pesos! Only 10 pesos!

TOWNPERSON #1:  What? Are you crazy? Es Loco!

PACO: Ashes! Ashes for sale! Look lady, you can have these ashes for only 5 pesos! On sale!

TOWNPERSON #2: (LAUGHING) You are crazy? Es loco! Why would I buy ashes? HA HA!

PACO: Ashes! Ashes for sale. Se vende las cenizas! Only one peso!

NARRATOR:  All the people gathered around him and started laughing louder and louder.

TOWNSPERSON #3: You are a fool! You make us laugh!

TOWNSPERSON #4:  Your ashes are worth nothing! No valen nada! A fool’s mask is all you get!  (PUTS MASK ONTO PACO. PEOPLE LAUGH)

NARRATOR:  Paco went away ashamed. He walked slowly in the darkness back toward home. It was late and he was tired. Up ahead, he saw a campfire. Around it were three banditos, robbers. But he didn’t care. He was so tired and cold. He snuck up to the warm place they were sleeping and fell asleep too. But his face was cold, so he took out the mask and put it on his face to keep it warm before he fell asleep. In the middle of the night, en la media noche. One of the banditos woke up. He was still half asleep, but he saw Paco’s scary mask.

BANDITO #1:  AHHH! A monster! Un monsturo! HELP! Ayuda! (runs off)

BANDITOT #2:  AHHHHH! It’s the devil, el diablo, come for me for my terrible deeds! Help! Ayuda! (runs off)

NARRATOR:  Paco woke up with all the commotion. He started wiggling around with the mask on.

BANDITO #3: “AHHHH! He’s coming to get me! Help! Ayuda! Wait for me! Esperernse para mi!” (runs off)

NARRATOR:  Paco didn’t understand why they ran away. He tried calling after them, but they were gone. He noticed there were three big bags where the banditos used to be. He called after them for their bags.

PACO:  Hey! You forgot your bags!

NARRATOR:  But nobody came. Paco opened up the bags. They were each filled with gold, el oro! Paco was so happy. He took the gold, el oro, home. He was able to buy decent clothes and a new house. One day Pedro came to visit him again.

PEDRO:  Paco, how did you get such nice clothes and a house?

PACO:  Well, remember that you told me to go to the market, el mercado, and sell ashes, las cenizas? Well that’s what I did!”

NARRATOR: Pedro was stunned. He couldn’t believe it. But he thought to himself.

PEDRO:   If Paco can get ashes for gold, las cenizas por el oro, I can too! And he ran off to his own fireplace.

NARRATOR:  Can you guess what happened to Pedro? It’s what you call getting a taste of your own medicine.

PEDRO: Ashes! Ashes for sale! Cenizas! Se vende las cenizas!




El Mercado – Market

Las Cenizas – Ashes

El Oro – Gold

Flaco – skinny

Gordo- fat

Era – was past tense

La chiminea – chimney

Loco, loca – crazy

Se vende – for sale

Mira – look

Muchas – many

Las Personas – people

Muy – very

Inteligente – intelligent

El Monsturo – monster

El Diablo – devil

Ayuda – help

Valen – value (plural)

Nada – nothing

El Bandito – bandit

Esperense – to wait (plural)

Para – for

Mi – me

La media noche - midnight


Yoga Asana Suggestions to Go With the Story

The traditional Storytime Yoga® method allows for listening of the story to deepen children's concentration and listening skills. I ask kids questions about the story, and guide the story along if they don't answer. The story is then reenacted with yoga poses to teach narrative structure. These asanas are only a suggestion. Ask kids what yoga poses to use! Or make up anything! For detailed instructions on using yoga asana with story, see my book Storytime Yoga: Teaching Yoga to Children Through Story.

I. Who is the story about?

Pedro - Take Warrior I, virabhadrasana I or Warrior II, virabhadrasana II pose

II. What happens next in the story?

Paco is tricked by Pedro to sell ashes. - Pedro can be a snake - bhujangasana.

III. What happens next in the story?

Paco tries to sell the ashes in town, but the townspeople laugh at him. They put a fool's mask on him.

Townspeople can be triangle pose - trikonasana.

Do some pantomime of the actions, and some neck rolls and pantomime for the mask. Or try out a real mask for fun! Better yet, have kids make a mask as part of the lesson.

IV. What happens next in the story?

Paco is sad and wanders out of town. He finds a campfire and lies down to sleep next to it, not realizing there are robbers there. Campfire can be bound angle pose - baddha konasana

V. What happens next in the story?

The robbers wake up, see the mask and are scared it's the devil so run away, leaving behind all the gold they had stolen.

Make running in place movements. I also like to use dance moves, such as the buffalo tap dance step. Fun! and great coordination skills!

VI. What happens next in the story?

Paco finds the gold and shows Pedro, who in turn goes to sell ashes in town and is made a fool with a taste of his own medicine!

Bend down and touch toes in standing forward bend, uttanasana, as in Pedro is made a fool.




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