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The Days of the Week
Grimm Märchen

The Days of the Week - Fairy Tale by Hans Christian Andersen

Reading time for children: 5 min

The days of the week once wanted to be free to get together and have a party. But each of the seven days was so occupied, the year around, that they had no time to spare. They wanted a whole extra day; but then they had that every four years, the intercalary day that comes in February for the purpose of keeping order in chronology.

On the intercalary day they would get together for a party, and, as February is the month of carnivals, they would come in costumes of each one’s taste and choice. They would eat well, drink well, make speeches, and be complimentary and disagreeable to one another in unrestrained comradeship.

While the vikings of olden times used to throw their gnawed-off bones at each other’s heads during mealtime, the days of the week intended to throw jokes and sarcastic witticisms such as might be in keeping with the innocent carnival spirit. So when it was intercalary day, they assembled.

Sunday, foreman of the days of the week, appeared in a black silk cloak. Pious people thought he was dressed for church in a minister’s gown, but the worldly minded saw that he was attired in a domino for merriment and that the flashing carnation he wore in his buttonhole was a little red theater lantern on which it said: „All sold our. See now that you enjoy yourselves!“

Monday, a young fellow related to Sunday, and very fond of pleasures, came next. He left his workshop, he said, whenever he heard the music of the parade of the guard.

„I must go out and listen to Offenbach’s music. It doesn’t go to my head or to my heart. It tickles my leg muscles. I must dance, have a few drinks, get a black eye, sleep it off, and then the next day go to work. I am the new part of the week!“

Tuesday is Tyr’s day, the day of strength. „Yes, that I am,“ said Tuesday. „I take a firm grip on my work. I fasten Mercury’s wings onto the merchant’s boots, see that the wheels in the factory are oiled and turning, that the tailor sits at his table, and that the street paver is by his paving stones. Each attends to his business, for I keep my eye on all.

Accordingly, I am here in a police uniform and call myself Tuesday, a well-used day! If this is a bad joke, then you others try to think of a better one!“ – „Then I come,“ said Wednesday.

„I’m in the middle of the week. The Germans call me Herr Mittwoch. I stand like a journeyman in a store and like a flower in the midst of the other esteemed days of the week! If we all march up in order, then I have three days before me and three days behind. They are like an honor guard, so I should think that I am the most prominent day in the week!“

Thursday appeared dressed as a coppersmith, with a hammer and a copper kettle, as a symbol of his noble descent. „I am of the highest birth,“ he said, „paganish, godlike! In the Northern countries I am named after Thor, and in the Southern countries after Jupiter, who both knew how to thunder and lighten, and that has remained in the family!“

And then he beat his copper kettle, thereby proving his high birth. Friday was dressed as a young girl, and called herself Freia, also Venus for a change, depending upon the language of the country in which she appeared.

She was of a quiet, cheerful character, she said, but today she felt gay and free, for this was intercalary day, which, according to an old custom, gives a woman the right to dare propose to a man and not have to wait for him to propose to her.

Saturday appeared as an old housekeeper with a broom and other cleaning articles. Her favorite dish was beer soup, though at this festive occasion she did not request that it be served for everyone, only that she get it, and she got it.

And so the days of the week had their party. Here they are in print, all seven of them, ready for use as tableaux at family parties. There you can make them as funny as you wish. We give them here as a joke on February, the only month with an extra day.

Backgrounds to fairy tale „The Days of the Week“

„The Days of the Week“ is a fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), who is best known for his timeless stories such as „The Little Mermaid,“ „The Ugly Duckling,“ and „The Emperor’s New Clothes.“ Andersen was a prolific writer, and his fairy tales have been translated into over 150 languages, making him one of the most read authors in the world. His stories are known for their moral lessons, emotional depth, and fantastical elements.

„The Days of the Week“ stands out from Andersen’s other works as it is a lighthearted and humorous tale that personifies the days of the week. The story does not follow a traditional narrative structure, nor does it contain the typical magical elements found in other Andersen tales. Instead, it presents an amusing scenario where the days of the week gather for a carnival party on the intercalary day, which occurs once every four years in February.

In the story, Andersen explores the cultural and historical significance of the days of the week, referencing various gods from Norse and Roman mythology, such as Tyr, Thor, and Jupiter. By doing so, he highlights the deep-rooted meanings and values that societies have assigned to each day. The tale also emphasizes the importance of leisure, unity, and humor, making it an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.

Though „The Days of the Week“ may not be as well-known as some of Andersen’s other fairy tales, it remains a charming and imaginative work that showcases his storytelling prowess and ability to engage readers through humor and satire. The Story was published in 1839 in Hans Christian Andersen’s collection, „Picture-Book Without Pictures.“ In this collection, Andersen presented stories inspired by his observations and musings.

The tale is a charming reflection on the passage of time and the qualities each day possesses. Andersen gives each day a distinct personality, attributing various moods, emotions, and activities to them. The story showcases Andersen’s ability to use imagination and anthropomorphism to create a whimsical and engaging work. Given that it is not a traditional fairy tale, „The Days of the Week“ does not have a background story or plot. However, it reflects Andersen’s style of blending elements of fantasy and reality, as well as his talent for creating engaging and imaginative content for readers of all ages.

Interpretations to fairy tale „The Days of the Week“

„The Days of the Week“ is not a traditional fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen that personifies each day of the week and reflects on their individual qualities and characteristics. „The Days of the Week“ by Hans Christian Andersen offers several interpretations and themes that can be explored.

The personification of the days of the week: By giving human characteristics to each day, Andersen creates a whimsical and entertaining story. This personification helps readers relate to the days of the week on a personal level, reminding them that each day has its unique qualities and purposes.

The importance of leisure and celebration: The story demonstrates the desire of the days of the week to take a break from their responsibilities and enjoy themselves. This can be seen as a commentary on the importance of leisure and celebration in our own lives, emphasizing the need for balance between work and play.

The cultural significance of the days of the week: Andersen draws on various cultural references, such as the Norse and Roman gods, to represent the days of the week. This highlights the deep-rooted historical and cultural significance of the days, showing how societies have imbued each day with specific meanings and values.

Unity and camaraderie: Despite their differences, the days of the week come together to celebrate on the intercalary day. This can be interpreted as a reminder of the importance of unity and camaraderie, encouraging people to set aside their differences and come together in celebration.

The role of humor and satire: The story is filled with jokes, sarcasm, and witty remarks, showcasing the role of humor and satire in storytelling. Andersen uses this approach to engage readers and offer a lighthearted take on the days of the week, which can be applied to other aspects of life as well.

The passage of time: The story serves as a reminder of the cyclical nature of time and how each day brings its own unique opportunities and challenges. By personifying each day, Andersen emphasizes the importance of making the most of every day and being mindful of the passage of time.

The value of everyday life: Each day has its own distinct characteristics, showing that there is beauty and meaning to be found in the ordinary, everyday moments of life. The tale encourages readers to appreciate the simple pleasures and experiences that can be found in each day.

Anthropomorphism: Andersen’s use of anthropomorphism in the tale adds a whimsical and imaginative touch to the concept of the days of the week. By giving human qualities to each day, he makes the story more engaging and relatable, allowing readers to connect with each day on a deeper level.

Cultural significance: The tale reflects the cultural and social norms of Andersen’s time, including the importance of Sunday as a day of rest and religious observance. It also highlights the significance of traditional weekly activities, such as the market day and days dedicated to work or leisure.

In summary, „The Days of the Week“ is a charming tale that offers insights into the passage of time, the value of everyday life, and the cultural significance of each day. Through his use of anthropomorphism and imaginative storytelling, Andersen creates a work that encourages readers to appreciate the beauty and meaning in the ordinary moments of life. „The Days of the Week“ can be interpreted in various ways, offering insights into the significance of each day, the importance of leisure and unity, and the role of humor in storytelling.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „The Days of the Week“

As „The Days of the Week“ is a poem rather than a traditional fairy tale, direct adaptations might be scarce. However, the tales’s theme of personifying each day of the week can be found in various forms of media and literature. Here are some examples inspired by or sharing similar themes:

Children’s Books: There are numerous children’s books and nursery rhymes that deal with the days of the week, often with the same personification aspect or associating each day with a specific activity. For example, the classic nursery rhyme „Monday’s Child“ assigns a different characteristic to children born on each day of the week. The story has been adapted into children’s books with colorful illustrations, making it accessible to young readers.

Animated series: Although not a direct adaptation, the animated television series „The Weeklings“ personifies each day of the week as a character with unique personalities and abilities, exploring their interactions and adventures together. The story has been adapted into TV shows and films, such as the animated series „The Fairytaler“ and the Danish film „Weekend.“

Calendar art and illustrations: Some artists have created calendars or illustrations that personify the days of the week, either as anthropomorphic characters or using symbols and objects associated with each day.

Teaching materials: Educators often use creative methods, such as storytelling or personification, to teach children about the days of the week. Andersen’s tale could be used as a starting point for classroom activities, discussions, or creative projects related to the theme of time and the days of the week. The story has been used as a teaching tool in classrooms to help children learn the days of the week and their meanings.

Plays and musicals: „The Days of the Week“ has been adapted into plays and musicals, bringing the story to life on stage.

Artwork: The story has inspired various forms of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media pieces.

In summary, although direct adaptations of „The Days of the Week“ might be limited, the concept of personifying each day of the week has been explored in various forms of media and literature, often aimed at children or with educational purposes. Overall, „The Days of the Week“ has been adapted in numerous ways, highlighting its enduring popularity and appeal. Its simple yet profound message of celebrating diversity and embracing individuality continues to resonate with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Summary of the plot

„The Days of the Week“ is a whimsical fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen in which the seven days of the week desire a break from their busy schedules to throw a party. They decide to do so on the intercalary day that occurs every four years in February. In the spirit of carnival, each day arrives in a costume that reflects their personality and role.

Sunday, the foreman of the days, wears a black silk cloak, appearing as a pious minister to some and as a merry party-goer to others. Monday, a young pleasure-seeking fellow, comes ready to dance and enjoy himself. Tuesday, symbolizing strength and work ethic, dresses as a police officer and ensures that everyone is focused on their tasks.

Wednesday, taking pride in being the middle of the week, positions himself as the most prominent day, with three days both before and after him. Thursday, claiming noble descent, dresses as a coppersmith to symbolize the thunderous powers of Thor and Jupiter. Friday, gentle and cheerful, arrives as a young girl who feels free to propose to a man on this special day. Lastly, Saturday, the old housekeeper, comes with cleaning items and enjoys her favorite dish of beer soup.

The story concludes by presenting the days of the week as a tableau, suggesting that they can be adapted and made as funny as desired for family gatherings. The tale is a light-hearted nod to February, the unique month with an extra day.


„The Days of the Week“ is not a fairy tale but rather a poem by Hans Christian Andersen. The story does not follow a narrative structure like a traditional fairy tale but instead personifies the days of the week, giving each day its own character and attributes. The tale describes the days‘ various personalities and actions, highlighting the different feelings and experiences associated with each day of the week.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
Translations DE, EN, DA, ES,
Readability Index by Björnsson32.5
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index75.3
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level7.2
Gunning Fog Index9.7
Coleman–Liau Index8.2
SMOG Index9.9
Automated Readability Index6.6
Character Count3.957
Letter Count3.035
Sentence Count42
Word Count744
Average Words per Sentence17,71
Words with more than 6 letters110
Percentage of long words14.8%
Number of Syllables999
Average Syllables per Word1,34
Words with three Syllables56
Percentage Words with three Syllables7.5%

Image sources: © Andrea Danti / Shutterstock

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