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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bailey - Cuffy Wakes Up - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Right now bears seem to be trying to get my attention for a variety of reasons.  They seem to be in the news, my Inbox, and even visiting the backyard at night of a friend living in a planned Florida community.
Ocala, Florida
I've given stories before by Thornton W. Burgess and mentioned years ago having an elderly lady tell me everything she knew about animals came from his books.  It would have been easy to discount the books as old-fashioned tales of animals acting like people.  The more I looked, however, the more I saw their value. At the same time as Burgess wrote, Arthur Scott Bailey was doing roughly the same thing, but is less well known. 

One thing I miss about not working in one location these days is I don't get to try out material with a special group.  More importantly, I don't get to develop continuing stories that might become a program just about that character or topic.  Bailey's mischievous young bear, Cuffy, is a perfect example.  He was the first of many of Bailey's characters starting in 1915 with The Tale of Cuffy Bear.  Bailey wrote over 40 books through the 1920s, including four more about this mischievous, always inquisitive little bear who manages to be true to both bear behavior (ignore placing him in clothing a la Beatrix Potter) and that of his young audience.  In 1929 he brought Cuffy back in Cuffy and the Circus; Cuffy and the Scarecrow; Cuffy Bear's Holidays; and Cuffy Bear and the Snowman.

I've no idea if those follow-up adventures stay true to both ursine and childlike character.  Since I anticipate no opportunity to do programs with his many adventures, I've ignored copies of Bailey's books often in antique stores.  They remind me of The Velveteen Rabbit as they generally bear the scars of being well-loved, i.e. clearly read, by children, .

For the coming month and a bit more, I'm going to be very busy.  Bailey's The Tale of Cuffy Bear seems well suited to appearing here.   The stories are short and described by C.D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. on Online-Literature.com,also known as The Literature Network, as being "charming whimsical tales. Rich in adventure and lessons in responsibility and growing up, they also teach easily understandable information about the animal world. Bailey weaves tales that are enchanting and educational, with references to nursery rhymes and folklore, lushly illustrated by Harry L. Smith.".

Wikipedia quotes this review from the Newark Evening News: Mr. Bailey centered all his plots in the animal, bird and insect worlds, weaving natural history into the stories in a way that won educator's approval without arousing the suspicions of his young readers. He made it a habit to never 'write down' to children and frequently used words beyond the average juvenile vocabulary, believing that youngsters respond to the stimulus of the unfamiliar.

With those evaluations to validate its appeal let's introduce Cuffy.  I'll add a bit more background and look ahead later.
 
  

Lois here with a brief interruption: If you go to The truth about bears and hibernation you will discover bears hibernating during the winter is a common misconception.    O.k. if you can get past that bit of information you'll discover they do something fairly close to it called "torpor."  The difference is their body temperature, unlike true hibernators, doesn't drop to match the outside temperature.  However their heart rate is extremely low, they don't eat (well, some may snack a bit! so leave them alone -- some even briefly come out of their dens for a short, slow check on warmer days), nor do they release bodily waste, and they live off extra body fat stored right before winter.  As a result they come out leaner, but without losing muscle.
But Cuffy is now awake and ready to get into trouble beyond cuffing his sister.
I didn't want to give that picture by Harry L. Smith and show what was going to happen, but grown-ups saw it coming I'm sure.  I once had a "rescue" malamute whose history said she had tangled with a porcupine and had to have the quills removed.  She never did trust veterinarians after that, so it was good to know why.  Of course, just as Br'er Rabbit makes a similar mistake with the Tar Baby, it's not unusual for somebody who is angry, or as Bailey put it, "loses his temper", to make the mistake of  striking again.  Cuffy's paws definitely taught him to leave porcupines alone.  Now if I could just teach a dog to leave alone any black kitty with a white stripe who has a strong smell.

My own battered copy of The Tale of Cuffy Bear doesn't include this initial comment from a similar series of Bailey's books.

A Word To Grown Ups

To you;--parents, guardians, teachers and all others upon whom devolves the supremely important responsibility of directing the early years of development of childhood, this series of Tuck Me In Tales which sketch such vivid and delightful scenes of the vibrant life of meadow and woodland should have tremendous appeal. In this collection of stories you will find precisely the sort of healthy, imaginative entertainment that is an essential in stimulating thought-germs in the child mind.
Merely from the standpoint of their desirability for helping the growing tot to pass an idle half hour, any one of these volumes would be worth your while. But the author had something further than that in mind. He has, with simplicity and grace, worthy of high commendation, sought to convey a two-fold lesson throughout the entire series, the first based upon natural history and the second upon the elementary principles of living which should be made clear to every child at the earliest age of understanding.

Bailey's books were in several series, that introduction came from the Tuck Me In Tales.  The Tale of Cuffy Bear was part of the Sleepy-Time Tales series.  There was also a series called Slumber-Town Tales.  Those series titles seem to give a good indication of how Bailey began writing. 


The Wikipedia article mentions various personal facts about Bailey's life, including speculating he probably began writing for the young children, Allen and Estella.  He raised them as his own although they were from his wife's previous marriage.  Since he is not known for writing before his marriage, that seems a fair assumption.  Wikipedia concludes with one other interesting side note.  His stepson, Allen, grew up to become the Professor Emeritus of Forest Management at West Virginia University, and even has a scholarship named in his honor.  Bailey's training?

Thirty-nine of Bailey's books can be found on The Literature Network, which offers a large searchable supply of online literature (3500 full books, over 4400 short stories and poems by over 260 authors, plus a quotations database of over 8500 quotes, and over 340 quizzes).  As if that's not enough, they also have additional Forum discussions.  You just may want to explore the site.  They post that USA Today listed it one year in its annual article, "Hot Sites."

Looking ahead, as I said, the next several weeks will be busy.  As a result I'm planning more of Cuffy's adventures from the original book about him.  I am thinking about these topics: animals swimming without instruction; eagles; bees (definitely not the same as in Winnie the Pooh); forest fires; and possibly a second look at hibernation.
********
Here's my closing for days when I have a story in Keeping the Public in Public Domain
***************** 

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
               - Karen Chace - http://karenchace.blogspot.com/search?q=public+domain
               - 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 http://web.archive.org and put in http://www.story-lovers.com/ in the search box.  I recommend using the latest "snapshot" on November 2016
               - Tim Sheppard - http://www.timsheppard.co.uk/story/storylinks.html
               -  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.  For an example of using the "Wayback Machine", 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 gone, but using the Wayback Machine you can still see it.  At the Wayback Machine I put in his site's address, then chose 2006 since it was a later year and clicked until I reached the Library at http://www.pjtss.net/library/.  

    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, July 8, 2017

Another Story (or Two) to Build a Better World

On June 17 I did an article about why I believe stories can make a difference.  Today I have another, but first look ahead to this Wednesday, July 12.


I hope you, too, realize the importance of supporting the laws for net neutrality passed in 2015 and now under attack.  I try to avoid controversy here.  It's not my purpose, so here's a Wikipedia article on Net Neutrality that's both international and gives both sides of the topic.  I'm sure you can easily find more by searching, using the term.  Some will date back to right before its passage when it was first explained, like this Business Insider/Tech Insider article about Net Neutrality for Dummies and How It Effects You.  We stuck together then like another famous story, David and Goliath, and surprised everyone by winning.  Goliath, in this case the big cable and cell phone companies, is trying to get back up.  LET'S WORK TOGETHER AGAIN!

The internet, with all it's flaws, still can help us Build a Better World and today I want to feature a story from Toledo...no, not the Toledo right below the Michigan mitten, but its namesake in Toledo, Spain.  It's a legend many discover as they enter this famous old city.  I've found photos and another retelling on the internet, but want to give you the story as I first discovered it told by Richard Marsh.  He's a former Michigander, now living in Ireland, who loves to winter in Spain, but wherever he goes he's always a Storyteller.  I've enjoyed hearing him -- never enough times! -- and he also writes books you can still obtain.  This is from Spanish and Basque Legends (that link also lets you click on a 15 minute Talk Radio Europe interview about the book.

The story comes with Richard's permission (but please remember it is his copyrighted version and contact him first if you wish to use it).  You may do that using this email address: Richard at RichardMarsh dot ie -- that address omits the @ symbol and the final ".ie" for Ireland to end his address.  You certainly may use that also to buy his books or CDs. Here's his website: http://www.richardmarsh.ie/ .

The Bridge of San Martín

(Toledo)



The figure of a woman can be seen carved in stone in a niche over the keystone of the central arch of the Bridge of San Martín at Toledo. This story tells why she is so honoured.

A bridge near this spot was destroyed by flood in 1203 and immediately replaced. That bridge in turn was deliberately destroyed in the 1360s for strategic reasons during a battle for the kingship between the half-brothers Pedro I the Cruel and Don Enrique de Trastámara. The present bridge, a jewel of medieval architecture restored in the 17th and 18th centuries, was built in 1390 at the order of the Archbishop of Toledo, Don Pedro Tenorio.

The archbishop hired one of the most renowned architect-engineers of that time, whose name is not recorded. The work commenced, and the people of Toledo and the archbishop watched the progress of the bridge with satisfaction. Soon, the magnificent central arch, rising to 27 metres with a 40-metre span, was completed, and it was obvious that it would be only a matter of days before the scaffolding that supported the stonework could be removed.

One night, however, the engineer seemed unusually quiet and preoccupied when he came home from the day’s work. He refused to answer his wife’s questions, and after his supper he left the house without telling her where he was going. He went to the bridge, where he descended a ladder and inspected the foundations of the central arch. He arrived back home pale and disturbed. His wife pressed him again for an explanation, and he hesitantly told her what the problem was.

He had unaccountably made a serious error in his calculations. He could see now that as soon as the scaffolding was taken down, the central arch would collapse, killing any workmen in the vicinity. He would be responsible for the deaths of the workers if he said nothing. If he admitted his error and dismantled the bridge, his reputation would be destroyed, and no one would ever employ him as an engineer again.

What was he to do? Of course, he couldn’t let the men die, but what would he say to the archbishop? How could he explain why the bridge had to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch, when the archbishop had been impatiently urging him to complete the work as soon as possible? No matter what he did he would be ruined. He covered his face with his hands and wept bitterly.

His wife was a brave and clever woman, and she immediately saw that there was only one solution. She also knew that she had little time to do what had to be done. She waited only a moment until she could see that her husband had fallen into a troubled sleep, exhausted by his worries. Then she took a torch and went out.

The night was dark and stormy, and she passed through the deserted streets unnoticed. As the rain began to fall more heavily, she was afraid that her torch might be extinguished, and that would be fatal to her plans. She arrived at the bridge and walked trembling to the central arch, then she threw the burning torch into the complex arrangement of wooden posts and poles and ropes that made up the scaffolding. The torch sputtered briefly in the rain, but soon the flames took hold and, fanned by the wind, rose quickly. Her task accomplished, the engineer’s wife ran home.

As the engineer had rightly calculated, as soon as the scaffolding burned away there was a tremendous crash of what the Toledans naturally took to be thunder. But it was the falling of the central arch of the bridge. The following morning, the archbishop and the people of Toledo surveyed the damage. Seeing the burnt scaffolding, they quite understandably attributed the disaster to a bolt of lightning during the storm. The archbishop ordered the engineer to recommence the construction of the bridge, which he did with a contented mind and a heart full of gratitude to his wife.

However, the woman was troubled with feelings of guilt. On the day the bridge was dedicated and officially opened, she requested an audience with the archbishop. Fully expecting to be punished or at least scolded, she admitted that she had destroyed the bridge and explained her reason. But the archbishop, instead of castigating her, praised her cleverness and courage in saving countless lives and the reputation of her husband. And he ordered a stone carved with the figure of a woman to be placed on the bridge to commemorate her deed.

*** 

Richard years ago, when discussing the story among fellow storytellers said:
You can't see the carving from the bridge itself, and from a distance it appears very worn and indistinct. Some skeptics say it is not of a woman at all, but of the archbishop who commissioned the bridge.

If you think about it, this story fits the idea perfectly about Building a Better World in thinking about Character Education or Values through storytelling.  Yes, it's a legend, but it makes the ideas of Honesty, Responsibility, Respect, and Courage memorable.  I consider it among three tales covering the basics to Build A Better World.  It not only covers the idea of building, it goes well with the story of "The Gift of Insults" given in my June 17 article (and correctly attributed as a gift of story by Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho, and so it should never be given anonymously).  I like to follow "The Gift of Insults" with an interesting practice followed by the Babemba tribe in Africa to reestablish within their community someone who has acted irresponsibly or unjustly.  In the case of the bridge builder for San Martín the legend finds an unusual way of coping with the need for Honesty, Responsibility, Respect, and Courage, but doesn't escape its need to act with those attributes.

Going back to his book, Spanish and Basque Legends, Richard includes 16 pages of color inserts to accompany the many stories, but admits he still didn't have enough space for all the pictures he wanted to include.  In a "Rest of the Story", I want to say the bridge crosses the Tagus River, is definitely medieval -- some say the 14th century, while others attribute it to the reign of Alfonso X the Wise (the towers at each end came later were part of later renovations), and in 1921 was declared a National Monument.

Here are some pictures of the bridge you may enjoy.





When Richard was contemplating how he wanted to tell the story he tried to stay faithful to the legendary sources.  While I was looking further, I found on Tony and Helen Page's TravelSignposts she fleshed out the story.  Helen adds a wonderful and appropriate subtitle "The Legend of Puente de San Martin – How One Woman Saved Her Husband from Disgrace."

She points out precisely the miscalculation the engineer realized...
Once all the scaffolding were removed, the central arch of the bridge would not be strong enough to support the weight of the cartloads of stone being brought in for the construction of the Toledo Cathedral.

Wikipedia omits the legend, but does mention its five arches, with the largest in the middle reaching an impressive span length of 40 meters -- that's slightly over 131 feet for those of us who are metrically impaired -- and very few bridges in the world had reached that mark until then.

Yes, I know that's only two of the three stories I mentioned earlier are the foundation for my program to Build a Better World.  I like to involve the audience and, since many of my audiences are mixed ages, I often tell in voice and sign, especially to open a program, teaching some signs along the way.  A Haitian tale about a girl with the melodious name of Tippingee (I mention the concept of Name Signs as there's no time to fingerspell such a name) is perfect and one of many exceptional stories found in the book, The Magic Orange Tree and Other Haitian Folktales.  I stay true to the story's folk roots, but YouTube has a delightful video of the late folklorist and author of the book, Diane Wolkstein, telling the story to fifth graders at PS242 in Harlem along with a mention of her website, DianeWolkstein.com still maintained by her sister, Megan.  The story brings in the "building blocks" of Cooperation, Creative Thinking, and yet again Courage.

Whether you are able to cross that bridge in Toledo, Spain, or one in Toledo, Ohio, or some other bridge near you, may it be safe and help you Build a Better World.
 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lowe and Jacobson - Nathan Hale - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

"I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country" 

Don't you wish famous extemporaneous speeches from the past had been taped or at least recorded by someone trained in shorthand?  Plato and Xenophon each have their own version of the last speech by Socrates.  Are the Beatitudes exactly as Jesus said it?  (Other speakers of the past can't claim Divine Inspiration for how they were recorded.)  Did a soldier have either an advance copy or write down Queen Elizabeth's Spanish Armada speech?  If famous speeches fascinate you, go to Emerson Kent's Famous Speeches in History, you can even get an audio track or video clip of some speeches.  That site covers people, wars, maps, documents, timelines and much more under the delightful tag line of "History for the Relaxed Historian."

Wikipedia tries to be "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit."  Their "anyone can edit" feature on Nathan Hale looks skeptically at those famous words along with other facts known or believed about him.  Perhaps you might prefer this article by Mary J. Ortner, Ph.D. about Captain Hale for the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, since he was most certainly a Connecticut Son of the American Revolution.  (Scroll down on the page to get to her article.)

1810 depiction of the boxer, Richmond
When looking into the facts about the end of this legendary American patriot, we know, for example, that Hale was 21, but did you know many believe a 13 year-old former slave and Loyalist named Bill Richmond was one of the hangmen?  That name is common enough that the Wikipedia article on him debates if it was the same as the former slave of that era who became a famous boxer in England.  Either way, can you imagine being 13 years old and doing that?  Even the character of the man in charge of Hale's hanging, Provost William Cunningham, is debated.  I looked unsuccessfully in Wikipedia under his official name only to stumble upon "Major 'Bloody Bill' Cunningham", which talks about his switch from membership in South Carolina's 3rd Regiment of Rangers to the British army.   There he was known for violent, ruthless raids.  There's plenty of reasons this man, called by rebel soldiers and South Carolinians a villain, continues to fascinate historians.

That cast of characters and the contrast of known facts and controversies could easily enrich this story which gives enough to bring the legend of patriot Nathan Hale alive beyond those words which rallied soldiers and is commonly given when talking about the American Revolution.  It comes from Fifty Famous Stories by Samuel E. Lowe and Viola E. Jacobson.  May it enrich your celebration of the Fourth of July.

This idealized bronze statue honors the heroism of Yale College graduate Nathan Hale. Hale’s defiant last words, inscribed on the statue’s base, made him a national hero, and his legend remained powerful over a century after his death when alumni donated this monument. Unable to afford the renowned Gilded Age sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, they commissioned the piece from his former assistant, Bela Pratt, who had studied at the Yale School of the Fine Arts under John Ferguson Weir. Combining dignity and beauty with a traditional martyr pose, Pratt’s statue stands beside Connecticut Hall, where Hale lived as a student.
A gift to Yale College by graduates and friends, 1914

I'm sure that sculpture and the artwork on the postage stamp which opened today's posting, even though Wikipedia cautions us about guessing at his appearance, lets us put a reasonable image in mind of Hale.  Speaking of reasonable images, the bindings of old books fitting our "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" are fragile.  As a result images here may be less satisfactory, with slight blurring or crookedness, than I might like when I scan them.

That said, here's my closing for days when I have a story in Keeping the Public in Public Domain
***************** 

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
           - Karen Chace - http://karenchace.blogspot.com/search?q=public+domain
           - 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 http://web.archive.org and put in http://www.story-lovers.com/ in the search box.  I recommend using the latest "snapshot" on November 2016
           - Tim Sheppard - http://www.timsheppard.co.uk/story/storylinks.html
           -  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.  For an example of using the "Wayback Machine", 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 gone, but using the Wayback Machine you can still see it.  At the Wayback Machine I put in his site's address, then chose 2006 since it was a later year and clicked until I reached the Library at http://www.pjtss.net/library/.  

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.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Jacobs - Beth Gelert - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

ANGER!  Is there anybody who hasn't felt it?  If ever there was a tale to pop in your head before acting, "Beth Gelert" is it.  Anybody addressing the topic of Anger Management or Character Education and Values needs this story in their resources.

Read the story first, it won't take long. After it I'll give both Joseph Jacobs' own notes on the story and additional online information including photos -- but please don't skip ahead as it will ruin the story.  The story is given repeatedly by many people, but I think it's best told by Jacobs. He was an Australian best known for his collections of English and Celtic folklore and I've earlier posted a bit of that and a little of his Aesop fables.  This comes from his book, Celtic Fairy Tales, published in 1892.
 
That story has been told many times and even can be traced moving across the globe.  Wait a second.  I'm sometimes asked "Is that story true?"  Well truth and what really happened or even if it happened as a story may retell it can be different things.

Historic UK tells the facts in the briefest way:
To this day, a cairn of stones marks the place, and the name Beddgelert means in Welsh 'The grave of Gelert'. Every year thousands of people visit the grave of this brave dog; slight problem however, is that the cairn of stones is actually less than 200 years old!
Nevertheless this story has great appeal. History and myth appear to have become a little confused when in 1793, a man called David Pritchard came to live in Beddgelert. He was the landlord of the Royal Goat Inn and knew the story of the brave dog and adapted it to fit the village, and so benefit his trade at the inn.
He apparently invented the name Gelert, and introduced the name Llywelyn into the story because of the Prince's connection with the nearby Abbey, and it was with the help of the parish clerk that Pritchard, not Llywelyn, raised the cairn!

That site gives a quick view of the two tablets shown at Historic UK and placed in Beddgelert.  The second tablet repeats in Welsh, so here is the English version.  It and the appealing dog are found on
IrishWolfhounds.org.  Their source is a postcard entitled "The Faithful Hound" and was published by Gwynedd Crafts, Beddgelert. The hound pictured was named Sean and sadly died in May, 1989 from osteosarcoma at the age of three.  The site also gives the poem by William Robert Spencer, often given as a source and mentioned by Joseph Jacobs.   If you are further interested in the Irish Wolfhound,  the site mentions it's the "world's tallest breed of dog."  They also provide a great deal of information on the breed for Wolfhound fanciers and potential lovers of the breed.


https://wordsmith.org/board/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=67402&page=2 looked at the legend and had a Forum discussion following it.  One Forum member, "Maverick", said:
a comprehensive look at the legend and the Celtic myths behind it Croker (Fairy Legends of Ireland, vol. iii. p. 165) points out several places where the legend seems to have been localised in place-names - two places, called "Gwal y Vilast" ("Greyhound's Couch"), in Carmarthen and Glamorganshire; "Llech y Asp" ("Dog's Stone"), in Cardigan, and another place.

I love the idea of these tales migrating across the face of the globe so that a Bhuddhistic text eventually becomes subsumed into Celtic culture (and we wonder about the migration of language!)

This concludes the literary route of the Legend of Gellert from India to Wales: Buddhistic Vinaya Pitaka - Fables of Bidpai; - Oriental Sindibad;-Occidental Seven Sages of Rome ; - " English" (Latin), Gesta Romanorum ;-Welsh, Fables of Cattwg.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/cft/cft28.htm

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Some Stories to Build a Better World

Why do I believe stories can make a difference?  Like music, a story has the ability to get inside a listener and play over and over.  I think back to a story I heard in grade school about gossip or misinformation being like feathers scattered, never to be retrieved.  Similarly I want to change the way young people handle disagreements and bullying.

Whether at​ a political l​ocation or a playground, conflict resolution and anger management are needed.  View the news to see what I mean.  Many libraries this summer use the Summer Reading theme of "Build a Better World."  It's a topic applied in many ways, but needs to include character education.  I believe it also should be brought to schools, too.  We must build that better world by reaching as young as possible in schools, libraries, or wherever children are.

A story may fit more than one topic. Beyond Anger Management and Conflict Resolution I add Cooperation, Courage, Creative Thinking, Forgiveness, Honesty, Patience, Persistence, Respect, and Responsibility.  Notice my puppet sidekick, Priscilla Gorilla, in her cheer leading outfit.  Just as stories or music can stay with us a long time, so can cheers.  I bet you remember the old saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Similarly cheers can be what is called an Earworm, an important enough topic to generate a Wikipedia article.  I'll give a sample cheer later that may contain an earworm.

I won't give all of the stories I use -- the list is long and I enjoy being able to pick stories suiting my audience.  Here the need is for stories I can either link or reprint.  Today I will only give a few stories helping Anger Management or Conflict Resolution. 


 
Because of copyright, I can't print here the African story, "A Blind Man Catches a Bird", from Alexander McCall Smith in his anthology, The Girl Who Married a Lion.  He has delighted me with his novels set in Botswana about Mma Ramotswe and The Number One Ladies Detective Agency, but that link should take you to PDF of a teacher's unit reprinting and using the story for her class of English language learners.



Fellow storyteller, Doug Lipman, in addition to other offerings, hosts the Hasidic Stories Home Page.  Because "Can You See the Turning" is an original copyrighted story by Doug, as opposed to many of the traditional tales there, I called and asked if I can reproduce it here.  As I expected, he graciously agreed.
Sometimes on the internet you can't be sure if something truly is a traditional story or not.  A site called Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors gives the story "The Gift of Insults" complete with reactions to it.  If I could choose only one story, this is the most important.  My only hesitation with printing it here is I also see it attributed to Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho, best known for The Alchemist.  I believe he is the author and should have been credited there even though his own posting of the story does end with this statement: Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet.  Generosity should still include known origin.  Because I consider the story so important I'm not going to risk your clicking on a link being too difficult.  Here it is.

Near Tokyo lived a great Samurai warrior, now old, who decided to teach Zen Buddhism to young people. In spite of his age, the legend was that he could defeat any adversary.
One afternoon, a warrior – known for his complete lack of scruples – arrived there. He was famous for using techniques of provocation: he waited until his adversary made the first move and, being gifted with an enviable intelligence in order to repair any mistakes made, he counterattacked with fulminating speed.
The young and impatient warrior had never lost a fight. Hearing of the Samurai’s reputation, he had come to defeat him, and increase his fame.
All the students were against the idea, but the old man accepted the challenge.
All gathered on the town square, and the young man started insulting the old master. He threw a few rocks in his direction, spat in his face, shouted every insult under the sun – he even insulted his ancestors. For hours, he did everything to provoke him, but the old man remained impassive. At the end of the afternoon, by now feeling exhausted and humiliated, the impetuous warrior left.
Disappointed by the fact that the master had received so many insults and provocations, the students asked:
– How could you bear such indignity? Why didn’t you use your sword, even knowing you might lose the fight, instead of displaying your cowardice in front of us all?
– If someone comes to you with a gift, and you do not accept it, who does the gift belong to? – asked the Samurai.
– He who tried to deliver it – replied one of his disciples.
– The same goes for envy, anger and insults – said the master. – When they are not accepted, they continue to belong to the one who carried them.

That's only a third of my Conflict Resolution stories.  Another story that only fits Anger will be next week in the Keeping the Public in Public Domain series.  It's a perfect story about the need to take a few moments before reacting.  Sometimes I like to joke and say "The most frequent exercise I get is jumping to conclusions."  This is a longer cheer, so if you remembered it all, there would certainly be a few moments before reacting, but the "earworm" is the final part of the cheer which should be shouted twice.  (Actions are given in parentheses.)

Hey you angry folk
Come and clap your hands (clap, clap)
Stomp your feet (stomp, stomp)
You've got the beat (clap, clap)
Feel the groove (clap, clap)
Start to move (stomp, stomp)
Now have no fear / Take it in one ear
Just wait and send it out
Yes, twice just shout it out:
IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER!
IN ONE EAR AND OUT THE OTHER!


An Australian storyteller's friends worried when she moved to the U.S. for a while.  Their perception of how violent it is may not fit the average American's daily life, but increasingly the world is becoming dangerous in both personal and global ways.


I've seen the U.S. political temperature heat up, with the need for compromise and conflict resolution disappearing first with the "Tea Party" and now "The Resistance."  When politicians are criticized for failing to accomplish anything, such knee-jerk opposition plays a role.  I guess you could say it's taking the wait before reacting to extremes.  It also seems to be making it impossible for people to get along.  My father was a business man and always said there were two things you should never discuss...politics and religion.  I might occasionally find ways my beliefs will be discussed, but I hope it doesn't get to the point of hatred.

Am I perfect enough to never get angry? On a more global scale, will stories stop ISIS or someone in need of mental health intervention?  DUNBERIDICULOUS! but maybe we can slow down and think before acting.

We need to do what we can to Build a Better World.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Carrick - The Crane and the Heron - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

"Storyteller Sorepaw" here, bringing a story from my own field and that of my neighbors, yet it reaches out from here in Michigan to Utah and possibly back into the dawn of time.  Every year at this time we are visited by a few Sandhill Cranes.  It's like watching something from the age of the dinosaurs.  In fact this article from The Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah may interest those of us who have wondered "Are Birds Really Dinosaurs?"  That article is from the controversial author, Stephen Czerkas.  He died in 2015 and Wikipedia at this point has yet to do an article on him, but as of last month the self-taught paleontologist's work attempting to trace the link from prehistoric raptors to modern birds fills up most of the 62 citations under the name of Czerkas including several from May 2017.  I'm certainly not a paleontologist, and don't know if past mistakes like his National Geographic accidental hoax about Archaeoraptor prove anything beyond curiosity will always leave us wondering.

Fortunately I do have the ability to find stories, including many in the Public Domain which can be published for our enjoyment without restriction.  The stories are not necessarily about this particular type of Crane as Sandhill Cranes are one of 15 living species of a bird with a record that continues to fascinate paleontologists and the public alike.  That fascination includes stories wherever any cranes have appeared, Asia, Europe, and here in North America.

Some other time I may add other crane stories, but today prefer a story that includes a cousin of the Crane, the Heron, who also is here in Michigan.  The Sandhill Crane and our own Blue Heron may not be the specific species in this Russian tale, but the story is a delightful look at the contrariness of courting.  I prefer it to television's attempt with The Bachelor.  Earlier on this blog we've had another article and three stories by or about Valery Carrick .  Those stories and today's tale come from his trio of Picture Tales from the Russian.  Today's offering is from the first volume and was translated by Nevill Forbes with Carrick's own humorous drawings.  Don't get hung up on the inter-species behavior, just enjoy this look at "true love" and its difficulties.  Oh heck, here's a site with lots of quotes about True Love and, if that's too sappy for you, let your cursor hover over the Topics button at the top of the page and go to others on love you prefer.


Fortunately my own "local" cranes each year seem to match this Wikipedia claim, "Cranes are perennially monogamous breeders, establishing long-term pair bonds that may last the lifetime of the birds." I can't tell the male from the female, but they clearly are more motivated in their search for food in the fields than by whose turn it is to be in charge.
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Here's my closing for days when I have a story in Keeping the Public in Public Domain
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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
               - Karen Chace - http://karenchace.blogspot.com/search?q=public+domain
               - 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 http://web.archive.org and put in http://www.story-lovers.com/ in the search box.  I recommend using the latest "snapshot" on November 2016
               - Tim Sheppard - http://www.timsheppard.co.uk/story/storylinks.html
               -  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.  For an example of using the "Wayback Machine", 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 gone, but using the Wayback Machine you can still see it.  At the Wayback Machine I put in his site's address, then chose 2006 since it was a later year and clicked until I reached the Library at http://www.pjtss.net/library/.  

    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!