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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Magnus - Never-Wash - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

The photographers at the wonderful free image site, Unsplash.com had many images with the identifying subject of "Hot."  I chose this because it looks like the heat coming off the sun.
With over 185 million in the U.S. under watches and warnings, I feel wimpy complaining about what would have been a summer's afternoon growing up in muggy St. Louis (that's MO -- didn't know of the St. Louis here in MI). Then I read Wikipedia's definition:
A heat wave is a period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries. While definitions vary, a heat wave is usually measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season.
Michigan had a beautifully cool, but wet long spring, then we jumped into what would be comparable to a few days in August. 

All of this sent me thinking of HELL.  We have a Michigan town by that name (as well as a Paradise), but I remembered deals with the devil are a popular topic for stories and often the devil loses.  Whether Faust or beyond, it's obviously something many have considered.  Leonard Magnus was the early translator of the Russian folktale collector (Cyrillic transliteration gives us two forms of the name, Aleksandr Afanas'ev, Alexander Afanasev) who saved about 600 stories.  I love those tales, but was surprised I've not posted any since 2015.  Also the only information on Magnus came from the online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction! which says:

Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com
(1879-1924) UK linguist, author, translator and textual scholar who specialized in Russian literature; of sf interest is A Japanese Utopia (1905), whose Japanese protagonist finds, in a Lost World north of Japan, an advanced, benignly anarchic Utopia. According to his Times obituary he died after, while travelling through Russia collecting folktales and folklore for a forthcoming book, he was "attacked by a malignant germ".
The Encyclopedia page link can also take you to a photo of that book's cover, but apparently A Japanese Utopia has yet to be translated into English. We're much more fortunate with Russian Folk-Tales, so spend these hot days chilling out there as if you were in frosty Siberia.  (Also take a look back at my earlier 2015 article on Magnus as he is definitely not the only translator of Afanas'ev and did only 73 of the approximately 600 tales.)

Today's story may be known to you in the German version collected by the Brothers Grimm as the tale of "The Bear Skinner."  The version Magnus offers is more compact and "Russified."  Back in 2015 I quoted him on the difference of Russian folktales from that of the German tales as having an outlook "of a careful observer, who has become callous, because he is helpless" and further notes "the prevailing note is sadness; but there is no absence of humour; yet fun merely happens, and is inherent; there is no broad, boisterous fun."  He points out the absence of fairies, giants, gnomes and personifications of nature; but the inclusion of the supernatural. . . the devil in this tale is a lesser devil, so let's see if this deal works out or not.
 
I love the classic "I was at the wedding..." statement.  As for that little devil, well should we be happy for him not going into "burning pitch" because he got two souls instead of one?  I suspect they were due there eventually anyway. 

So now I say about this weather, make no comments about the devil, just "GO JUMP IN THE LAKE!" (I bet that soldier did.)
Photo by Alessio Lin on Unsplash





Wednesday, July 10, 2019

UPDATE

Photo by Callie Gibson on Unsplash
I don't like to do this, but figure it's better to do this as an Update than even try to find a story to post this week.  I'm so "out of it"  I don't believe I could think my way out of a paper bag.  Unsplash.com has a photo that is a great visual of how I feel.

Stanislavski said "There are no small parts, only small actors."  I agree.  I just wish I hadn't agreed to be in a play right now.  Didn't even audition for it, but the director is a friend who was in need and  told me "only 1 line and 2 weeks of rehearsals."  It's been 4 weeks and we open this Friday.   I'm onstage for all court scenes and see myself as reacting as I hope the audience will. 




If you're here in the metro area, I hope you can come.  (The play version is very different from the movie.)

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Déjà vu

I've never done this before and don't plan to do it regularly, but this was on my Facebook page.  I think you can see why I'm taking this very personal shortcut.

This week has been deja vu time @ St. Joe Mercy hospital. Years ago my older daughter had brain surgery there. Remember seeing 4th of July fireworks from the window. Monday I took my husband there & he's still there with a bad leg infection.

Nobody home to walk or feed our dog, so I can't stay the night there this time. It's cooler for the dog then, so I took him for a nightime walk. Fireworks everywhere made it sound like a war zone + some in the air. The "Magnificent Beastie" had no reaction, just another walk. Last year he went to Frankenmuth & a fireworks display. The only thing was the tons of fans wanting to pet him. With our current heat & storms I wish the 3 of us were there again.

Fortunately as of Tuesday I have off rehearsals from Pontiac Theatre IV's play of Grisham's "A Time to Kill" until Monday. Then it's "Hell Week" -- the final week until we open July 12 at the Pontiac Little Art Theatre.

I know, I know, when this all ends I'll be bored, but right now I WANT MY ROADIE BACK! . . . the one with the banjo!!! (Shh, don't tell him 'cause I give him a hard time about that banjo.)


Hopefully next week will be back to what passes for normal.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Puppetry Resources

LoiS with signing tiger puppet from workshop, A to Z  Puppets Are Easy
Puppetry will never be my main focus, but it is a great supplement for my storytelling work with children.  Prior to this the Puppets label has been here 21 times, so here's another.  Librarian William M. Painter wrote three books: Musical Story Hours: Using Music With Storytelling and Puppetry; Story Hours With Puppets and Other Props; and a third, combining the two and adding artwork, Storytelling with Music, Puppets, and Arts for Libraries and Classrooms.  I acquired that last book recently from another storyteller/teacher.  Published in 1994, it had been years since I read it and, at that time was working as a full-time librarian, just storytelling in my time off.  This book is indeed best suited to the library and teacher audience, but it still had some value for me.  (Must borrow again the one with specifically puppets and props.)

I confess that the music I use in my programs is usually live.  CDs too often seem to take my focus, whether I'm the one operating the player or somebody else is.  (His ideas are enticing, so maybe I shouldn't give up too easily.)  Painter's use of art prints, especially the Norman Rockwell or Winslow Homer works was a good reminder.  I liked also his reminder about how audience members could enjoy operating the puppets and props.   Audience participation is always worth considering.  Librarians and teachers can get more use from his picture book recommendations, but I still found a few stories beyond Picture Books since I don't have the same Fair Use exemptions.

The back of the book has a Resource Directory.  Thought I'd update my book with websites since they weren't available in 1994.  Several companies were merged in both the library and puppetry fields or their existence ended, including puppetry advocate, Nancy Renfro, but also Russ Berrie.  Some puppets, like Dakin, are now only found by sites like re-sellers on Etsy and Amazon.  That usually requires searching for something fairly specific, but https://www.etsy.com/market/dakin_puppets gives 63 results currently for a company that was a long-time supplier.  The companies still around have mainly gone to fairly large sites and when searching you can try "puppet" for both finding puppets or puppet stages or "dramatic play":
Stepping into the library world the term changes to "supplies" and then use "puppet."  Amalgamation among library suppliers reduced the number of sites:
Looking further than the book I found two major craft sites include puppetry resources.  Again search "puppet."
Beyond that I was saddened to find that both the email list, Puptcrit, which is still listed on the Puppeteers of America site, and the independent network, Puppet Hub, have shut down.  Archive.org's Wayback Machine lets you view the open discussions of Puppet Hub at https://web.archive.org/web/*/www.puppethub.com if that's any help to you.

The national organization, Puppeteers of America, produces its own quarterly journal and mentions the only comparable online resource, The Puppetry HomePage, saying it "is webmastered by Rose Sage and is one of the best for on-line puppetry resources."  The closest it comes to offering puppets is information on building them.  P.O.A. offers both regional and national festivals.  They also list what may be your best resource, Regions and guilds.  Getting together with other puppet enthusiasts can give you ideas beyond the pre-made resources here.  My own guild, Detroit Puppeteers Guild, is very welcoming and loaded with talented members of many kinds.

I also have some resources on my personal website: my handout, "An Alphabet of Puppets and Storytelling" which gives a wide variety of ways to use puppets, and on my page of Specialized Resources I have sections including Audience Participation and, of course, Puppets.  There you will find pattern sources and the commercial puppet manufacturers, Folkmanis and the team of Melissa and Doug.  Both companies are also sold by some of the suppliers above and in fine toy stores.

As almost a postscript, just today I received the National Storytelling Network's June edition of "Storytelling Magazine" and it has a Guest Editor's Section on Puppetry in Storytelling to take into even further possibilities.

I always remember the title of one puppet play collection:

Don't just stand there-jiggle!

May you and your audiences enjoy the jiggling!

 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Copway - How the Water Lily Came - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I love to take my husky/malamute (I lovingly call him a Malamutt!) out for long walks in local parks.  Horse trails are particularly good and a nearly unknown gem among the Oakland County Parks is  Rose Oaks out in Rose Township.  With all the rain I usually wouldn't go there, but earlier this week I put on my muck boots and headed out.  What a treat!  I remembered the lake, but don't recall the lovely section that formed a smaller pond with many lovely water lilies.  I also watched a heron and a crane in the distance.  I'm no photographer so that photo came from a site I'll mention later, but it comes the closest to looking like what I saw.

Those water lilies made me hunt for an Anishinaabe story I've never told, but remembered.  Was sure it was collected by Schoolcraft . . . nope.  Looked online and found the only version of it at the site I will mention in a bit.  Turns out there are "any of 58 species in 6 genera of freshwater plants native to the temperate and tropical parts of the world" according to Britannica.com in the scientific family Nymphaeaceae.  Wikipedia disagrees and claims 70 known species as of a 2018 source with only 5 genera.  I'll leave it to the scientists to argue about that.

Fortunately the original story was easily found in the original  Index to Fairy Tales Myths and Legends .  That old 1915 reference book by Mary Huse Eastman continues in value, helping find wonderful stories now safely in the Public Domain.  Looking under Water Lily the searcher is sent to the story of "The Star Maiden" and I remembered the picture book version retelling by Barbara Juster Esbensen with beautiful illustrations by Helen K. Davie.  I don't own the book and don't know how much the story's "retelling" changes it, but the Index gave many books and Mary Catherine Judd's Wigwam Stories always gave her sources and this one helped me find "the first published history of the Ojibwa in English."  It seems that George Copway, or Kah-Ge-Ga-Gah-Bowh meaning "He Who Stands Forever" was "Canada's first literary celebrity in the United States."  This was before Canada in the 1980s adopted the term "First Nations", but Michigan's Native People, the Anishinaabe are on both sides of the border.


George Copway, or Kah-Ge-Ga-Gah-Bowh may not be as lovely as the Star Maiden, but "He Who Stands Forever" has given us a memorable story.

Water Lily by Jay Castor on https://unsplash.com/
The pond photo at the start of today's story came from Dibaajimowin, a site I recommend you prowl for stories from modern day Ojibwe and Metis and on https://www.dibaajimowin.com/myths/the-legend-of-the-water-lily you will find yet another retelling of the story.

Ojibwe elder and author, Simon Otto, was one of my mentors and I'm proud that he called me "negee" or "friend."  He didn't write about the Star Maiden, but in the preface to his Walk in Peace; Legends and Stories of the Michigan Indians he said his stories were from his own memories and he respected "all versions of the same basic legend themes and does not intend that only his stories be rigidly authentic.  Legends grow from different circumstances and are told in highly personal styles.  There are many varied tribal dialects in the Indian language.  Moreover, the legends and stories differ in detail but concur, generally.  That the legend itself can enhance the teaching of Native American culture, is of the greater importance."  Simon has left us to go on the Long Walk, but he often ended his storytelling with the phrase, "Walk in Peace", and it certainly was his desire in his many books.  I can hope you have a chance to appreciate his work and "the teaching of Native American culture."  I'm sure George Copway or "He Who Stands Forever" would agree.
********************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
           - Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!




Saturday, June 15, 2019

Andersen - What (Father) Does Is Always Right - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Andersen's statue in New York city's Central Park
For this Sunday's celebration of Father's Day I wanted a bit of whimsy and found the perfect story only to discover I posted it last year!  "The Seventh Father of the House" by the Norwegian collectors, Asbjornsen and Moe is a lot of fun and I still recommend it, but today's story is also Scandinavian, although some debate calling the works of Hans Christian Andersen folklore.  He is an excellent creative writer, but many of his stories draw upon folk roots and Andersen's introductory sentence to the story makes that clear.

Then there's the problem translating from the Danish Andersen's title or lead character.  Two excellent Danish authors, Erik Blegvad and Erik Christian Haugaard, each included the story in their anthologies of Andersen and translate it as Father.  Haugaard's book is Andersen's complete works, including Andersen's own notes to his published "booklets", as the stories came out in small collections and in 1861 the author called it a "Danish folk tale that I heard as a child and have retold in my own way." Those same notes give some interesting views by Andersen on the critical response to that collection:
It has been both said and written that this collection was the poorest I have yet produced, and yet among its pages are to be found two of my best fairy tales: WHAT FATHER DOES IS ALWAYS RIGHT and THE SNOWMAN.
(The Snowman was given here five years ago.)

Unlike Blegvad and Haugaard, other authors give the title and lead character as either The Old Man or as The Good Man so, when I ran across it as "Father", I was surprised as I'd known the story for a long time.   However you translate it, the tale is about a rather foolish man with a wife who clearly loves him unconditionally.  His swapping for progressively less valuable items puts it in the category of being a "Noodlehead" tale.  (For people wanting to attribute gender characteristics, be sure to look at the two earlier Noodlehead stories given here.)  My own husband sometimes complains about how film and television make fathers always appear stupid.  I wonder if this is to counteract the old television show, "Father Knows Best"?  The Noodleheads in this story are both male and female, but the story's gentle touch moves us bouncing along to the end.

Excellent as the Blegvad and Haugaard translations are, they're not public domain.  The 19th century translations by Mrs. H.B. Paull, were chosen by Lily Owens for her 1984 complete collection of Andersen because she "found it the most pleasurably readable."  Unfortunately only one illustration is given and the artist's signature is hard to decipher, but may be Hans Richter, even though the style is not typical of his better known more avant-garde work.  On a blog that is no longer active, http://hans-christian-andersens.blogspot.com/, but saved by a site called Encyclopedian Dictionary, many illustrations are given, including the large one possibly by Richter.  Unfortunately even the illegible artist signature is not given.  That blog dating back to 2012, however, does the story a great service, so I, too, want to insert them into the story.
Here are two versions of that ending





























or
All of those, and Mrs. Paull's translation, definitely have him as an Old Man, but I'd recommend borrowing Twelve Tales / Hans Christian Andersen by Erik Blegvad as he not only translated, but did a loving job of illustrating the story and both Father and Mother show good natured Noodleheads, but also show age is not a factor in being called a "noodlehead."

By the way, for all those lovers of Hans Christian Andersen, while prowling for this article I found a very interesting site, Hans Christian Andersen: Annotated Web-o-graphy with lots of links to visit.

The story is so good natured, the storyteller needs to bounce it along in a similar way.  This illustration gives you a visual reminder of all the swaps.
Swap your stories wisely by Keeping the Public in Public Domain, whether it be Father's Day or any day, since it's always a good day for a story.
*********************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.
Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-
  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.

    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"
The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html
         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html
         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales
         - Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at https://archive.org/ .  It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 
           - Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
     
You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Historic Fort Wayne Civil War Days and More!

For most of May through July I feel like I'm constantly on the run, especially when that means being on the road.  This blog comes out on a Saturday so the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens  will celebrate their 50th anniversary with Super SatARTday.  Their building was the old Carnegie public library, so it seems appropriate that, as former children's librarian at the newer Mount Clemens Public Library, I preview my library summer reading program.  Libraries all across the country are thinking astronomically for their summer reading programs as it's also the 50th anniversary of the Moon Walk.

Sunday I return to Historic Fort Wayne for their annual Civil War Days.

Sarah Edmonds as Franklin Thompson
It's always a reunion to get together with friends and fellow re-enactors, like Elise Parker, who does a great job of presenting as Sarah Emma Edmonds, known for serving as a man and later as a nurse with the Union Army during the American Civil War. She even was granted a military pension.  In 1992, Sarah was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame and some of Elise's research helped make that possible. 

Look for us in the Commandant's house.  I'll only be able to be there on Sunday and look forward once again to bringing the story of Liberetta Lerich Green, who grew up on a Shelby Township Underground Railroad Station and her brothers were in the Michigan "Fighting Fifth" Infantry. 








The sidebar here contains Detroit newspaper articles from the Civil War era I was able to locate and reproduce about the Michigan Fifth Infantry.  Here's a picture of those brothers, Will and Ike.  Ike or Isaac started out as a bugle boy, was a "guest of the Confederacy" along with his older brother, Will, at Libby Prison.  His injuries were so bad, he was sent home, only to be brought back to be a Major with the Third Infantry which suffered even worse fatalities that the Fifth's loss of a quarter of its men.
Major Isaac Lerich and Will Lerich
For those of you who know my husband, yes, he'll be there, too, so listen for his banjo playing music from those days.
Hope to see you there or at another of my historical programs.