Monday's Child

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For the 1967 Argentine film, see Monday's Child (film).
"Monday's Child"
Roud #19526
St. Nicholas (serial) (1873) (14596944999).jpg
Published in St. Nicholas
Written England
Published 1838
Form Nursery rhyme
Writer Traditional
Language English

"Monday's Child" is one of many fortune-telling songs, popular as nursery rhymes for children. It is supposed to tell a child's character or future based on the day of birth and to help young children remember the seven days of the week. Of the seven days, all children those days represent have positive futures except for one – Wednesday. As with all nursery rhymes, there are many versions. It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 19526.


Common modern versions include:

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good in every way.[1][not in citation given]

Often some of the lines are switched as in:

Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child works hard for a living,
Saturday's child is loving and giving,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is bonnie and blithe and good and gay.


This rhyme was first recorded in A. E. Bray's Traditions of Devonshire (Volume II, pp. 287–288)[2] in 1838 and was collected by James Orchard Halliwell in the mid-nineteenth century.[1][not in citation given] The tradition of fortune telling by days of birth is much older. Thomas Nashe recalled stories told to "yong folks" in Suffolk in the 1570s which included "tell[ing] what luck eurie one should have by the day of the weeke he was borne on". Nashe thus provides evidence for fortune telling rhymes of this type circulating in Suffolk in the 1570s.[3]

There was considerable variation and debate about the exact attributes of each day and even over the days. Halliwell had 'Christmas Day' instead of the Sabbath.[1][not in citation given] Despite modern versions in which "Wednesday's child is full of woe," an early incarnation of this rhyme appeared in a multi-part fictional story in a chapter appearing in Harper's Weekly on September 17, 1887, in which "Friday's child is full of woe", perhaps reflecting traditional superstitions associated with bad luck on Friday – as many Christians associated Friday with the Crucifixion. In addition to Wednesday's and Friday's children's role reversal, the fates of Thursday's and Saturday's children were also exchanged and Sunday's child is "happy and wise" instead of "blithe and good".[4]

Cultural references[edit]

  • Enchanted is the first novel in The Woodcutter Sisters series by Alethea Kontis about sisters named for the day of the week, mothered by Seven Woodcutter. The first concerns Sunday, who is "bonny and blithe and good and gay". The sisters' roles and personalities are based on the rhyme, though some ironically as Sunday notes. The second novel, Hero, features Saturday as the Protagonist.
  • In The Wild Wild West episode "The Night of Miguelito's Revenge" (1968), Dr. Loveless abducts seven individuals who match the characters in the poem, on the day each character is mentioned.
  • Prior Walter refers to the poem in Tony Kushner's play Angels in America (1985–86) (Act III Scene 1)
  • Monday's Child (2004) and Tuesday's Child (2005) are novels written by Louise Bagshawe

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Iona Opie and Peter Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 309–10.
  2. ^ Traditions, Legends, Superstitions, and Sketches of Devonshire: On the Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy, Illustrative of Its Manners, Customs, History, Antiquities, Scenery, and Natural History, in a Series of Letters to Robert Southey, Esq 2. J. Murray. 1838. Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  3. ^ A. Fox, Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500–1700 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 182.
  4. ^ 'Children's charms and Oracles' New York folklore quarterly (1952), p. 46.
  5. ^ Kraft Television Theatre: Wednesday's Child on the Internet Movie Database.
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Thursdays Child | Episode 61 (Season 5, Episode 9), originally aired on CBC: February 27, 1994". Retrieved 2015-06-23. 
  8. ^ Mik Foggin. "The Chameleons -". Retrieved 2015-06-23. 

External links[edit]