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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Part 2, Mrs. Valentine - The Three Soldiers and the Dwarf - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This is the completion of Mrs. Valentine's "The Three Soldiers and the Dwarf", or as I learned it, "The Nose Tree", begun in the previous post here from last week's Veteran's Day.













































































































Next week is Thanksgiving here in the United States -- NO, I don't call it "Turkey Day!"  Whatever you choose to eat, it's a day to celebrate the reasons you have to be Thankful.  For readers I've a great story for audience participation I will post on Thanksgiving Day and then, at my usual day for posting, I will include information about the author.  As a bit of a hint, some have called him the last Seanachie (there are many spellings of that Gaelic word for Storyteller).  He's not the last by any means, but he is a fine one.  Until next time:
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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 normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    


  
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I recommended it earlier and want to continue to do so.  Have fun discovering even more stories!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mrs. Valentine - The Three Soldiers and the Dwarf - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

For Veterans Day I thought I'd post the "old story of Stone Soup."  Initially I checked Index to Fairy Tales published in 1915.  Nothing.  Then I tried the next volume published in 1926.  Still nothing.  The same results came with the 1937 supplement.  In each case I also looked under Soup since it may have had a different title. Also since it has often been said to be a French tale, I checked my old anthologies translated from the French (since my own French is courtesy of ballet).  Still the story didn't appear.  Does this mean Stone Soup isn't truly as old as it has been said to be?  Actually it is old, as the magazine, "Stone Soup", notes on its website about the history of the Stone Soup Story.  So why didn't that resolve my search for a story about some soldiers going home and, along the way, showing cleverness, teamwork, and generosity?  Because, as the magazine shows, it wasn't until the Caldecott award winning version by Marcia Brown that the hero or heroes became soldiers!

Does that mean I have no tale of inventive soldiers for Veterans Day?  Dunberidiculous!

Research often results in serendipity and among my French anthologies I found a story I love and know by the name of "The Nose Tree."  I had mistakenly believed it was German, but not collected by the Brothers Grimm.  Laura Valentine, called on the title page, Mrs. Valentine, collected and edited it in her book, The Old, Old Fairy Tales.  She gives the background of the work, but the book itself isn't dated.  She traces the stories origins to Straparola's "Notti Piacevoli" (1550) in Italian & the French "Contes des Fees" (1560).  Since it was indexed in the 1915 Index to Fairy Tales I know it's safely Public Domain.

The story is long enough and I'm busy enough (more about that later) that I'm posting half of it now for the holiday and half next week stopping at a critical point in the story.  The joys of storytelling suspense!
To be continued.
While waiting, if you are in my area, catch the Public Domain story of Anne of Green Gables as a musical.  It's the longest running musical in the world appearing every year at Prince Edward Island, but here's a local production I'm sure you'll enjoy.  (My Annual Foolishness of one play or musical per year was extended when a vacancy occurred in the cast.  Knew so many in the show, I just had to agree.)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Allingham - The Fairies - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I have begun working once again on my Victorian Christmas program and checking resources.  This coming week in Michigan, during deer hunting "Regular Firearm" season (November 15-30), it feels as if our mitten-shaped state should tip towards the north.  Freeways during "rush hour" become less congested, students and workers take time off with or without permission, and non-hunters shouldn't look at vehicles returning south.  In time for all of that I discovered a Victorian poem whose opening and closing chorus have haunted me for years.  (It's not Christmas, but that's the way research works . . . Serendipity!)  William Allingham's 1850s poem, "The Fairies", isn't our usual story for the Keeping the Public in Public Domain series.  Ballads and narrative poems can become stories.  Maybe you will create your own tale about how "We daren't go a-hunting for fear of little men."
This was in the original publication of the poem in The Music Master.

The heart of that story is about Bridget and re-telling it as a story could easily evoke audience participation by using the chorus throughout the story.  My website has a page on Audience Participation ideas and resources if you would like to know more about ways to include participation in your own storytelling.  Just think how many more people also will be haunted by that chorus!


This comes from Michael Patrick Hearn's The Victorian Fairy Tale Book, part of the wonderful series, Pantheon Fairy & Folklore Library.  As the Goodreads website notes about this out-of-print series of 37 books: They are an excellent source for volumes of folklore from their respective cultures.  I would go so far as to call them an excellent basic overview of the world's folklore.  Thank heavens for out-of-print booksellers!

Without antiquarian booksellers, libraries, and online preservation we would lose our cultural heritage.  That's truly what Keeping the Public in Public Domain is all about, so tell stories, but also buy and borrow those old books (otherwise libraries and booksellers needing space will have to "weed" them . . . a nice way of saying they will be tossed out).



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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 normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    


  
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I recommended it earlier and want to continue to do so.  Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bees and the Anishinaabe

For those beyond the Great Lakes, today's article may be more than you care to know about the Native culture of my area here in Michigan and surrounding areas.  For those seeking books of folklore for our area, somehow it never gets indexed!  Hollywood also ignores Native Americans here.  November is Native American Heritage Month and also the time when insects make their last stand for the year.

At the risk of the familiar "shameless self-promotion", go to my website and currently in two places you'll see me with my puppy puppet, Buzz.  On the Nature Programs page he's all dressed up as a bee because we do an insect program called "Going Buggy in the Garden" and its focus especially points out the difference between bees and yellow jackets, a.k.a. hornets.  For some insect resources, many on bees and that all important difference, go to the Nature section of Specialized Resources.  (Buzz also appears twice on the not yet revised Summer Reading page -- he's been a regular assistant, but 2015 will bring a new cheerleading girl gorilla to "Give a Cheer for Reading and Heroes in the 398s!")

Here in the Great Lakes and among Canada's First Nations for this area, the Anishinaabeg tell of the poor bee going to Nanabazhoo (spelled many ways, but that's a phonetic version of one pronunciation) requesting a defense for themselves and their honey.  He values their industriousness and lets them return a few days later to get what he can create for them.  Unfortunately bees are generous and bring their cousins, the hornets and wasps, with them.  Nanabazhoo regrets his promise, but agrees since the bees vouch for them, and from then on all those insects have stingers.

A medicine woman, now on The Long Walk, who passed along many traditional stories to me must have been my source as I checked Simon Otto's books, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, and another very slender volume from Wah-be-gwo-nese (Little Flower) and none tell it.  I know it didn't come from friends in my area.  Simon is an Odawa (Ottawa) elder who at first was criticized for sharing the traditional stories, but now is recognized as preserving tradition.  In our state he and another friend are the only professional Anishinaabe tellers, and neither live close by, so I do what I can to share the stories and culture with respect. 

A few years ago on the international email list, Storytell, we compared 4 levels of cultural knowledge:
  1. the residents living in and brought up in a culture; 
  2. emigres who fall in love with the culture and take up residence to learn more; 
  3. tourists who have seen the culture briefly; 
  4. armchair travelers who only read and maybe view shows about a culture. 
Over the years I've come close to level 2.

Our oldest written source of Anishinaabe folklore is Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who became an emigre back in the early 19th century, marrying into it and preserving many stories as best he understood them.  His own history and additionally that of his wife, Bamewawagezhikaquay ("Woman of the Sound [that the stars make] Rushing Through the Sky") or the other version of her name, Jane Johnston, is plenty interesting.  Their literary work led to Longfellow's "Hiawatha."  Longfellow started with the idea of Nanabazhoo, but then definitely went beyond those sources, even though he insisted it was based on the legends.  Henry Rowe Schoolcraft and his wife have two articles/stories here as part of the Keeping the Public in Public Domain series.

Besides Schoolcraft and Simon Otto -- whose many books and work I recommend highly -- you might be able to find books by Louise Jean Walker who wrote Legends of Green Sky Hill and Woodland Wigwams. The first book contains her version of the bones of the story I just gave.  My problem with it, like some of her work, is that it shows her own sources, native women elders of the Charlevoix area, had influences beyond the Anishinaabe.  Her version of the story is a perfect example as it uses Wakonda as the manitou giving the stingers.  That name comes from the Omaha people.  They were of the Siouan language group, while our people are of the Algonquian language group -- and a complex language it is!  (You may notice my own use of Anishinaabe at times becomes Anishinaabeg as that is the plural, and some write that plural as Anishinaabek.  As someone barely able to use the language, I apologize for any mistakes.)  In the past those two cultures warred against each other, but today the spirit of the Pow-wow and the many other reasons for Native American unity have changed that.  Still I have noticed various things in Walker that lead me to approach her work with caution.
Official crest of the Anishinaabe people

Michigan's Native people are also among the First Nations in Canada and are called, among other names, the People of the Three Fires, as they are made up of the Ojibwe (also called Chippewa), Odawa (or Ottawa), and the Pottawatomi.  Wikipedia's Anishinaabe overview gives some good historical, cultural, and other resources.  There's a good site directly from the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe.  Here are some resources about Nanabazhoo, including the various ways his name is handled.  Medicine woman Keewaydinoquay Peschel's pronunciation is the one I use as she was my first introduction to the Anishinaabeg.  She said it was closer to Odawa than her Ojibwe roots. Here's an article on Kee and her work.  She's controversial for a variety of reasons, more than the article lists, but was a true member of the Crane clan, whose work is to preserve cultural heritage.  I do my outside best to fairly represent that culture.

The Petoskey Schools have been blessed by having Odawa elder, Simon Otto, as a resource.  They have posted this lesson plan template for Third Grade.  I mentioned Simon has done of the service of preserving much of Anishinaabe folklore in his books and my own strong recommendation of them.  To make it easier to locate them, here is a list of his work:
  • Ah-soo-can-nah-nah (the cover adds the translation, Storyteller) - 1997
  • Aube Na Bing; A Pictorial History of Michigan Indians with Legends by Simon Otto - no date - it also includes a good bibliography
  • Grandmother Moon Speaks - also no date
  • Walk in Peace; Legends and Stories of the Michigan Indians - 1990
  • We Walk Again -2007 
Here are five enjoyable ways to Celebrate Native American Heritage Month suggested by the American Indian College Fund. 
LoiS(ince the Storytell discussion on screen width, long links are arranged to not span 2 lines -- I prefer showing the source rather than converting to something else)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hearn - Rokuro-Kubi - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

If you don't read or speak Japanese -- I don't -- today's title is hard to remember and understand, BUT is a wonderful story from Lafcadio Hearn's Kwaidan.  Wikipedia tells us even Hearn got it wrong as it's really about a type of rokurokubi whose heads come off, a nukekubi.  (I hear you thinking: Whatever!)  Besides being a case of "Off with their heads!" they are bloodthirsty enough to complete this month's assortment of tales.  
Footnotes omit that Arugi could be translated as Master.
 
This story could have ended in three places, one of which is in this picture, but be sure to continue on to the end of the tale past the courtroom and even the robber.  (It's rather like a piece of music that fools you into thinking it's ended only to add to the enjoyment.)  
That's my October posts of Lafcadio Hearn, but his "Goblin Spider" and "Chin-Chin-Kobokama" are also excellent choices of spooky material and he has other Japanese and Chinese stories worth telling.  Go back to October 4 to refresh your memory about him and his work.  Rokurokubi, including nukekubi have been included in anime and manga and are part of Japanese folklore with various supernatural creatures or Yokai.  Yokai are in a Wikipedia article and may interest you.  Hearn loved the more chilling of those stories,  but the article can also lead you into animal shapeshifters (not unique to Japanese folklore, but certainly can be found in many tales ... and tails?) as well as some others I enjoy like tengu and also the water creatures called kappa.  

For so long Hearn has been our only major English language window into the culture.  Since 1993 my colleague and friend, Fran Stallings, has partnered with Japanese elder storyteller, Hiroko Fujita, touring together in both the U.S. and Japan and making even more Japanese folklore available by creating various books.  I'm told yet another book is once again in the works.  Hurrah!  Don't know a Japanese equivalent, but want to make readers aware of these resources for those of us who appreciate the culture without planning to learn the language other than maybe call someone to verify an occasional bit of pronunciation.



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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 normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    


  
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I recommended it earlier and want to continue to do so.  Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hearn - Earless Hoichi - Keeping the Public in Public Domain


Play of Hoichi the Earless  Kobe City Suma Temple
Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things is an excellent source of spooky stories by Lafcadio Hearn.  Fans of a movie version saw today's story.  Here is an excerpt of Kobayashi's Kwaidan and it specifically shows Earless Hoichi.  Hoichi the Earless even has its own Wikipedia article, but most of it is a summary of . . . brace yourself for the longer Japanese name, Mimi-nashi Hoichi.  There is, however, a great picture from a theatre production.

Hoichi's Shrine.





Probably few reading this can read Hearn's source by Isseki Sanjin -- one of the reasons Hearn's work is such a valuable window on Japanese folklore.  Wikipedia also notes a variant exists, "Ear-cut  Danichi" from another area, Tokushima Prefecture on Shikoku island.  Personally I dearly love the article's pointing out the actual Buddhist temple where the story is set, even showing what is now know there as 



What I don't care to do is give you a scan from my own copy of the story.  Why? I penciled in notes of how I adapt the story.    O.k. first of all I confess the librarian in me has a problem with writing in a book.  The storyteller in me had two other problems: some of it is too faint to reproduce well and then I also hate to tell people my adaptations are the way to tell the story.  Theres a further practical aspect, it's 20 pages long!  Does that mean I'm not going to give you Hearn's story?  Dunberidiculous!  Internet Sacred Text Archive has done an excellent job of posting it and, besides the online version of the entire anthology of Kwaidan, which I definitely recommend, I would send anyone seeking more Japanese folklore also to the Sacred-Texts page on Shinto and Japanese Religions.  It is not just religious as it includes not only folklore, but also Public Domain cultural resources and all translated in English.

I hope today's segment of Keeping the Public in Public Domain encourages you to try some additional stories too good to be allowed to get dusty in an archive or, worse yet, disappear because nobody reads them.  Remember libraries have limited space, so books not borrowed are eventually removed.  Librarians use a gardening term, weeding, but it means the book is on its way to oblivion unless it can be added to online resources.  Thanks to recent copyright law, many books are a long way from being safely in Public Domain and online collections.  That's a rant for another day and I'll try to put my soapbox away.
*********

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 normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    


  
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I recommended it earlier and want to continue to do so.  Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hearn - Mujina - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This week's story is the shortest of the four stories I'm posting by Lafcadio Hearn.  He enjoyed the unusual aspects of Japanese folklore, especially when looking at spooky tales.  The story comes from Tokyo of an earlier century and the Mujina is not your usual frightening creature.


























**********

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 normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    


  
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I recommended it earlier and want to continue to do so.  Have fun discovering even more stories!