Passing Down Wisdom: Hispanic and African American Folktales

Lesson 13

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Recount what happens in “The Happy Man’s Tunic.”

Readings and Materials

  • Book: Tales Our Abuelitas Told, A Hispanic Folktale Collection by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flora Ada  — "The Happy Man's Tunic"

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Target Task


Writing Prompt

Recount what happens in "The Happy Man's Tunic."

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Key Questions


  • Describe where the story takes place. Why is the caliph troubled? (p. 90 - 91)

  • What advice does the woman give? How does the caliph respond? (p. 91)

  • Describe what happens when the men try to find a truly happy man. (p. 92 -93) 

  • How does the shepherd boy respond to the question, “Are you happy?” (p. 95) 

  • How do the illustrations help the reader better understand the characters in the story? (p. 95)

  • The chief decides to take the young man to the palace. Why does he make this decision? What happens as a result of this decision? (p. 96)

  • Read the quotation from page 97. “Wherever they went, the shepherd’s music reminded them of their true happiness.” Explain the significance of this statement. (p. 97) 

  • According to the story, what is the secret to happiness? Can everyone have true happiness? Why or why not? 








not changing your mind about something



not feeling satisfied

Enhanced lesson plan

Enhanced Lesson Plan

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Common Core Standards

  • RL.3.2 — Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

  • RL.3.3 — Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Supporting Standards