M’sieu Michel won’t give you two francs

The original version of “M’sieu Michel,” a Martinican song we sing this season in our online class, tells the true tale (as far as we’re told) of a labor dispute on the island between workers and their French boss. All the workers asked for was two francs in their paycheck rather than one — was that too much to ask, M’sieu Michel?! Apparently it was, because the workers became more and more insistent. When M’sieu Michel didn’t relent, they didn’t just ask for a raise — they demanded it. In real life did the workers receive an increased wage? We don’t know. In our version, OF COURSE.