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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Babbitt - 2 Turtle tales (Keeping the Public in Public Domain) & More

Why did the turtle cross the road?

I know that sounds like the start of an old joke, but it's not.  Spring has awakened turtles and they are slowly on the move.  They were made to be fairly unbreakable, but there are limits and that includes being unable to handle a car running them over.  If you see one on the road, please slow down, putting on your emergency flashers and pull over to the side where you can help.  They're fairly determined, so this may help you.
(Nadilyn Beato is an artist at http://reptilearts.com and, while that is copyrighted, it's her public service announcement -- I found it on Facebook.  She has an Etsy store selling her art and is based in New York.)

Please note that those determined turtles are best moved to the other side of the road where they were headed.  Also they aren't going to believe you are helping them, so do it carefully.  Snapping Turtles are particularly difficult and are fast enough with their mouths, so try to approach from the back.

Here in Oakland County, Michigan I often say we should be called Lakeland County as there are lakes, ponds, and wetlands everywhere!  This means rural and suburban roads often have traveling turtles we should protect.  Turtles date back hundreds of millions of years, older even than crocodiles or snakes, so we need to do what we can to keep them safe from our vehicles.

Of course I want to share a pair of brief turtle stories.  The Jatakas; Tales of India as retold by Ellen C. Babbitt keep some of our oldest stories in a short easily enjoyed form.  Both these stories may be familiar in other cultures.  The first will sound rather like Br'er Rabbit and I'm not saying the story traveled from India, but it's probably just human "reverse psychology."  The other first came to my attention in 1968 when Janina Domanska published a Polish version called Look, There Is a Turtle Flying.  I do believe that came from those old Indian tales moving out into other lands.  Either way here they are for us to enjoy.
"Please don't throw me in the briar patch!"  Br'er Rabbit's version is better known, but maybe Turtles did it first.

The next story is so appropriate for me...and maybe you, too.
I confess I sometimes think I was destined to be a storyteller since I got in trouble for talking from my earliest days, especially in school.  Fortunately it never was as catastrophic as it was for poor Turtle.  I often say "I tell for fun and profit", so keep me and the world of storytelling in mind when you look for a program.
*******************
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/ 
     
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, May 12, 2018

Colum - Pu-nia and the Sharks - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Hawaii's volcano has all the world watching with what some say could be a once in a century eruption.  For the official information, the U.S. Geological Survey has information straight from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory or as the USGS site calls themself, "science for a changing world."  Changes have closed Volcanoes National Park indefinitely.

As a storyteller it makes me think of today's story, which I love to tell.  No, there's no volcano in it, but it certainly could be a good time to talk about them.  What there is, however, is sharks and a bit of a problem its ending caused.  After I give the story here, I want to discuss that controversy.  I will also say more about its collector and a bit related to the topic of Public Domain...the very heart beating behind my posting "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" stories here.

But first the story.
 
 
I first discovered that story through
Margaret Read MacDonald's excellent, audience participation storytelling book, Twenty Tellable Tales.  As you might expect from her folklore background, she also explained its background.  She, too, goes back to Padraic Colum, but only to his Legends of Hawaii.  That 1937 book includes this story from his earlier two volume work, Tales & Legends of Hawaii.  It's the opening story in Volume I, At the Gateways of the Day. 
I mentioned on an earlier story by Colum "There are some stories by Colum put into a form of copyright limbo" -- this is because of the need for renewal 28 years after original copyright under the old law.  There is now an online database to find book renewals for 1923-1963 at Stanford and those original two volumes  were not renewed, letting them fall into public domain in the fifties.  Probably Colum's later work was simply his and his publisher, Yale University Press, repackaging nineteen of the most popular stories.  All three of those books were the result of a four month stay for the Hawaiian Legislature's Commission on Myth and Folklore and mainly was based upon the Fornander Collection of Hawaiian Antiquities and Folk-lore.  In his Introduction he notes the traditional storytellers use of gesture "makes the telling of a story a dramatic entertainment."  He also said there was no longer a school for gesture and it was being lost.

Whether gesture was lost might be debatable in watching hula dancers, but MacDonald also notices Martha Beckworth's longer version of the tale in Hawaiian Mythology with Punia in the shark ten days and eating the shark from the inside until it heads to shore (Motif F912, Victim kills swallower from within and Motif F811.4 Jonah, Fish or water monster swallows a man).  Since the story probably pre-dates the arrival of missionaries in 1820, it's interesting to read more from MacDonald on the variants on the motif through out the world.

But Controversy?

I once told this story at a school where all classes had studied various aspects of oceanography.  I remember walking the halls and seeing the class displays of student work, including one class which obviously enjoyed sharks.  My telling of the story went along to the traditional ending.

Silence.

I could tell the school was polite, but I had just killed off the King of the Sharks.  (Appropriately Colum in his final notes tells us: The shark's name, Kai-ale-ale, means "Sea in great commotion.")  The program went on and was well enough received, but the ending now troubled me.  It continued to trouble me until 1997 when Lee Wardlaw produced a picture book version.  In her book's adaptation the ending has Punia not only outsmart the shark, but let him go free with the warning that, if the shark returns, Punia will let all the ocean creatures know how he was outsmarted!

I asked my fellow storytellers what they thought of my stopping the story at the end and giving my audience the choice of endings.  They felt I needed to tell the story with my ending chosen.

I don't.  I don't ask the audience to vote, merely in their own mind decide if King Kai-ale-ale is killed, as is traditionally told, or if Punia outsmarted him once again and the shark leaves in disgrace.  I don't ask the audience to tell anyone else, but explain their ending is their version of how story ends for them.  Wardlaw is a teacher as well as award-winning author of over 20 books (yes, this book, has a few awards) and, as a result, I'm sure she understands the problem with the traditional ending.  Like any good educator she offers a teacher's guide.  I like that, among Language Arts activities, it suggests: As a class, write your own adventure where you outsmart another animal.  How would you outsmart a bear, snake or lion?  What would you use to trick them like Punia did?

On Amazon I see yet another version by Beverly Moffett Mohan and a different Study Guide for Wardlaw's book.

Now what's your version?  (As I tell my audiences: Only you need to know.)

********************
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/ 
     
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, May 5, 2018

Mooney - How the Redbird Got His Color - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This week we've had the dubious pleasure of being the only power outage in our neighborhood, not once, but twice.  We came home Wednesday night to a dark house and figured the storm had blown out power somewhere.  Thursday we found out we were the only ones affected and figured that put us low on the priority list for DTE Energy.  I just hoped our freezer contents survived the delay.  Thursday evening before dark two DTE trucks and several men came up our long hill to inspect.  With a certain amount of difficulty, but experienced skill, they maneuvered an incredibly long extension pole up our power pole and through a tree that straddles that pole.  SUCCESS!

We figured that was the end of it except for their sending a tree trimmer out to once again trim back that tree.  It's the same tree or power pole that annually attracts a mockingbird to sit up there and perform a concert of all the songs the bird has learned.  I hope this won't lose the bird, but want power even more than the birdsong.

Supper was better than previous attempts without power.  Life was good, then BANG!!!  I remembered the DTE representative asked if there had been a loud bang or pop and I had been unable to answer because the Wednesday outage happened while we were away.  There was no mistaking what we heard Thursday night, however, and we figured those branches had again hit our transformer.  Called in a new power outage and the automated message, just like Wednesday night, guesstimated power would be restored by 2:30 a.m.  Yeahyeah I thought and, after unplugging items as the message advised, went to bed.  

At about 1:30 in the wee hours of the morning DTE returned.  They cut down a section of the tree big
This is NOT our raccoon, but a photo by Marcel on Stocksy
enough to be a young tree, but still leaving plenty of tree.  Out with the big long pole and down comes a body.  This time the source of our problems turned out to be a RACCOON!  He was huge, but all those warnings about not touching power sources must never have reached the Raccoon Network.  The poor fellow was minus his ears and tail.  That tail was on the ground, well burnt.  We can't swear it was this fellow on Wednesday night, but bet it was him and he was luckier on Wednesday than on Thursday night.


We're high up on a hill and the wind of the past few days and today have been strong, but I'm betting and hoping our dead raccoon ends our current power outages.  We do have high wind advisories for our county and the wind loves our hilltop.  I'm just grateful it didn't last too long and also came in warmer weather.  I've lost a very full aquarium of tropical fish in past outages, but this time it was both brief enough and warm enough that I see the dark helped add a large school of baby fish -- large enough to open a baby fish school district.  

In honor of our dead raccoon I went looking for a good raccoon story and happily found this brief Cherokee tale collected by James Mooney in his Myths of the Cherokee.  It captures the rascal nature of raccoons and their tendency to climb trees, while giving an interesting pourquois tale about another creature I enjoy.


That "Redbird" is indeed the "northern cardinal."  Coming from Saint Louis, home of the baseball Cardinals and, when I was growing up, still was the home of the football Cardinals, it's a natural that I love those birds.  We get a few to brighten up winter, but here's a screenshot from Voices and Vocabularies of a cardinal duet explaining more about their song.  If you go to that link, you can hear it, too, as well as discover a site dedicated to birds and the environment.


As I write this, 260,000 in our area have lost power because of wind damage on Friday and they expect to be out until Sunday evening.  For their sake, I pray it's sooner.  Hopefully my own power continues as otherwise there was no way I could bring today's story to you even if I went and borrowed a library computer. 
******************** 

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/ 
     
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, April 28, 2018

Olcott - Pansy-Boy - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

There's a reason I love wildflowers...I'm a TERRIBLE gardener!  I swear plants see me coming and cringe.  If they have a way of thinking, I just bet they are thinking "OH NO!  DON'T LET HER GET ME!"  If the opposite of having a green thumb is a black thumb, as in death, that's me.

Right now in the stores I'm seeing the most adorable pansies.  I am at least waiting until next week.  Last year at this time I had pansies happily in a planter at my front door.  Off I went to a storytelling conference for a few days and came back to pansies that had been wind-beaten and probably frozen.  They didn't live.

I love pansies with their cheerful little flower faces. 

I'm certainly not alone in my love of them.  The pansies in the photo on the right is from Karen at Beatriece Euphemie's Vintage Cottage Style blog where she talks about how every year she tries to find as many different types of pansies to plant in pots for her deck. She lives in Washington state, but I can tell from her latest blog article on April 23 that her area is much farther into spring than here in my part of Michigan.  She even says, "The last few years I have been able to find what is called, 'Glacier Pansies' or 'Icicle Pansies'. These are sold in the fall and will bravely bloom their little hearts out all winter long and then put on a spectacular show come Spring."  Hmmm.  Tempting.

She gives a bit of background, saying they are "derived from the wildflower called 'Hearts-ease', 'Johnny Jump up' (and kiss me), or 'Viola Tricolor'. The name 'Hearts-ease' came from the woman St. Euphrasia, whose name in Greek signifies 'cheerfulness of mind'. The Specific colors of the original flower 'Viola Tricolor'- purple, yellow, or white- are meant to symbolize 'memories, loving thoughts, and souvenirs', respectively, as these traits are all helpful in easing lover's hearts."  She also tells,"Pansy gets it's name from the French word Pensee', meaning 'Thought' and was so named because the flower resembles a human face; in August it nods forward as if deep in thought. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, the Pansy was given to lovers or friends as a symbol of how often they were thought of."

On the practical side she says they die off or go dormant when the sun of summer gets too hot for them.  The thing she doesn't include is this very brief story from the ancient Greek lyric poet, Pindar, as retold by Frances Jenkins Olcott, in her botanically themed book, The Wonder Garden.  I enjoyed the Vintage Cottage Style blog enough that I think I'll send it to her along with letting you enjoy it.
By the way, I was curious about where Arcady was, it was a region in ancient Greece poetically associated with a tradition of rural, bucolic innocence.  There also were at least three kings there, although it's spelled Aepytus, their own stories show it wasn't always a happy life to be king in ancient Greece.  There still is a modern region of Arcadia, although this home of the Greek god, Pan, and possible site of the mummified remains of Alexander the Great, has had massive numbers of its population emigrate to the Americas in the past century.  There was such a drain, often half a village, that it was feared the towns would turn into ghost towns.

Returning to the Pansy-Boy himself, o.k. I know the term "pansy" has been used negatively, but the image of a five-day-old infant happily laughing and enjoying himself on a "blanket" of pansies is certainly part of that bucolic innocence.  Karen at Beatrice Eupehemie says, "There are two varieties- clear faced and the 'Monkey faced', that has a dark blotch in the middle of the face."  It's always been the pansies with the happy face that I have loved.

Now do I love them enough to not try and grow them?!?
*******************
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/ 
     
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, April 21, 2018

The One-Room Schoolteacher Looks at Education

Crack the Whip - by Winslow Homer (public domain, but at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in U.S.)
Earlier this month my One-Room Schoolteacher program was presented at Reminisce programs in a pair of Capital Area District Libraries.  I also am booked this summer for a one-room school reunion.  All of this had me reviewing the program.  Online the Michigan Arts and Humanities Touring Directory has a video clip from an earlier performance of the program on YouTube.  I have been given continued acceptance in the directories and will be continuing in 2019-2021.  Can't recall when I first went into the directory, it's been so long!, but the Michigan Arts and Humanities Touring Grants are an excellent source for state non-profit financial assistance.  I further commend and support the Michigan Humanities Council for their work on behalf of our state's cultural climate and remember their grant-writing workshops from when I was writing successful mini-grants as a librarian.  They even have an online video to help learn how to write grants!  Our state Humanities Council works hard to help even the most remote location here in Michigan.  I've always found the staff helpful, so contact them by phone, email, or fax with your questions and comments.

While looking at my complete program I noticed an audience question about when the grading system changed to letter grades.  The best answer comes from a site called Classroom which gave the History of Grading Systems.  Colleges wanting to evaluate applicants were the first to seek a standard method.  Online discussions there make me aware that the percentages for an A, B, C, et cetera may differ as well as being controversial, but their paragraph on early K-12 grades shows evaluation shifted when compulsory education began.  Suddenly the number of U.S. public high schools went from 500 to 10,000 in the forty years from 1870 to 1910.  In my program about Liberetta Lerich Green I often mention her daughter Loa, who was a bit of an educational pioneer here in Michigan, including teaching science at Big Rapids when it was one of those few early high schools.  She will be the subject of a future article here.

Teachers have always found grading the least enjoyable part of their duties.  A fellow storyteller, Anthony Burcher, tells the following story and swears it's true.
"True story: during one of my Freshman years in college, this senior, her name was Bernadine, had a professor not turn in her grades on time and they were not going to let her graduate. A lot of us went to the dean's office, sat on his lawn and began chanting, 'Bernadine, Bernadine!' In hindsight, it was not our best chant and did explain why a lot of us got arrested for making threats."

If that doesn't make sense, read it out loud.

Oh, Anthony!

Well back to serious stuff.  Did you realize that McGuffey, yes, the one behind more than a century of Readers, believed in bringing fun into the classroom?   O.k. we may not think of Spelling Bees in that category, but it was revolutionary back in the 19th century from his origins as a "roving" teacher at the age of 14, beginning with 48 students in a one-room school.  His students brought their own books, most frequently the Bible, since few textbooks existed.  Try having a union contract with that class size and conditions!  Wikipedia has the usual articles on him and his Readers, but the same information and more originated with and can be found in the New World Encyclopedia  article about him.  I love his instruction to teachers to read aloud to their classes.  This statue honoring him has an interesting rear.
Frank R. Snyder at Miami U. posted these on Wikimedia Commons


I didn't realize the McGuffey's Readers most used from 1879 on were not by him nor was their content approved by him even though they carried his name.  Those are the readers most people know and use, including my One-Room Schoolteacher persona.  An unnamed newspaper article came in one of my books saying that "Although royalty payments from his famous Readers had ceased long before he arrived in Virginia (LoiS: 1845 according to New World Encyclopedia), McGuffey eventually received some additional funds for later revisions.  And after the Civil War, the grateful publishers also gave him an annuity--a barrel of choice smoked hams every Christmas."

Here in the greater Detroit area Henry Ford's attributed his own education and moral views to the Readers, but they were McGuffey's original series.  The original books were criticized for their anti-minority ethnic and religious views with Native Americans called "savages" and anti-Semitic comments typical of the 1830s.  The attempt of the later edition according to the current publisher, John Wiley & Sons was "to meet the needs of national unity and the dream of an American 'melting pot' for the worlds' oppressed masses."  Today we may object to some of those earlier views the New World Encyclopedia attributes as "Most prominent post-Civil War and turn-of-the-century American figures credited their initial success in learning to the Readers, which provided a guide to what was occurring in the public school movement and in American culture during the nineteenth century."

That same unnamed newspaper tells about Henry Ford's purchase of the McGuffey family home and barn near Youngstown, Ohio and taking the barn timbers to make a one-room school.  (LoiS: it must have been just over the state line as The Henry Ford lists it as being originally in Pennsylvania.)  Ford's Greenfield Village is where you can see those buildings among others at this major tourist attraction here in Dearborn in the shadow of a Ford factory. 

The Henry Ford website had those two items among 42 on their own One-Room Schools collection.  For students about to visit a one-room school or others of us interested in one-room schools, their online digitized collection is worth visiting.

In my talking with attendees to my program I find they regret the loss of religious values -- the revised Readers retain religious views without the "Calvinist values of salvation, righteousness, and piety, so prominent in the early Readers." (I'm not sure if that quote originates with the New World Encyclopedia or the publishers of the Wiley editions.  My own revised editions are reprints predating Wiley.) 

Another major complaint is the loss of cursive writing in today's schools.  It has become a mystery to today's children with adults at the programs complaining children can't read the letters they have sent to them.  One grandparent even talked about sitting down with her grandchild, showing the importance of having a signature, and helping create one.  We're heading back to the days where the illiterate signed by making an X!

Here are the final two lessons, LI and LII (yes, Roman numerals for 51 and 52) in the very earliest book, the Primer, given to children as young as five.  It shows these more secular, but still religious values, and is followed by "slate exercises."  Each lesson opens with new vocabulary.  Some of the earlier lessons include sentences in manuscript or cursive writing as early as lesson five.  Could today's five year old students manage that?  I don't give all of the penmanship exercises here, but, maybe the final page of the script alphabet will be helpful showing the upper and lower case letters. 
 
I was taught to write a few of my own letters differently, but can usually decipher earlier handwriting when reading historical documents.  Will today's children be able to do that if they can't even read messages accompanying their birthday gifts?

If you are interested in bringing my grant-qualifying programs, including the One-Room Schoolteacher, check out my website at http://www.lois-sez.com/ and also contact me. 



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Pyle - How the Good Gifts Were Used by Two - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

School Spring Breaks ended this past week where I have school residencies.  That plus two other programs has made for a busy week.  For some crazy reason that helped me wake up thinking of a story I like but have never told.  I remembered it being told (and illustrated) by Howard Pyle, but almost missed it because it starts out with a visit from Saint Nicholas who gives a gift that was not the part I remembered.  The story has that first visit, but I'm going to give only the barest part of the introduction and skip to the second half where Saint Christopher visits.  It's perfectly complete by itself.  If you want to read the whole thing, go to Pyle's The Wonder Clock at Archive.org.  (The story starts on page 123, which is officially Ten O'Clock as the book is organized to be a story for each hour.)

One other quick note, my copy of this book originally published in 1887 is bound so tightly the "gutter" (the part in the center of two pages where it is held to the binding) is a bit fuzzy when I reproduce it.  I've done all I can to enhance it here, but it starts out a bit challenging.
Saint Nicholas's visit is omitted and we continue on page 128 with Saint Christopher visiting the same two brothers.
Pyle's version almost fooled me, starting with an earlier visit, but it's a type of story about the Wise and the Foolish, specifically wishes that have you doing all day what you begin.  Estonia and Finland tell the story as sneezing all day.  Sweden has a more complicated version with legs breaking, nose pulling and a fish being the one to grant wishes.  There are also many stories with the saints traveling down to earth, but this is the one that started my day.

If you want to keep on doing all day what you're doing now, there's plenty of stories here to read!
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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/ 
     
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!