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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Anonymous? Stories about Bose the St. Bernard - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I'm becoming incredibly grumpy about the number of times I must find a way to discuss something online without being sued!  Yesterday was a National Day celebrating an animal I consider part of my family.  I can't name what kind of animal that is within the title of National ___ Day unless I want to pay the dot com running that day the equivalent of a storytelling program!

I love Huskies and Malamutes!

The missing word is the mirror image of the word "GOD" and that look in the mirror fits my mood right now.

I appreciate this group wants to see adoptions, both specific breeds and mixed breeds, they want to stop bans of specific breeds, and they are suggesting donations to shelters and rescue groups.  I have dealt with various rescue groups and especially supported K9 Stray Rescue League who have been wonderful, but I would prefer to donate my services to that specific group or another local group than be told by a national entity that I must become an offiffiffic'al partner if I want to name their holiday.  The funny thing is they will consider letting something be free IF the request comes from a big enough non-profit with sufficient followers of their social media.

I trust you'll understand my going GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

Today's some stories first appealed to me as possible stories to tell at a Rescue event.  Stories Witty and Pictures Pretty, is one of those anonymously produced 19th century children's books I would normally reject.  I try to sample a book of stories before buying it.  Today's book, has some tales in it about a St. Bernard named Bose that captured me right away.  Bose, too, like my own "malamutt" had to adapt to a new human.  The stories were in the reverse order of the way I'm presenting them as I prefer to give them chronologically.  Possibly the publisher, W.B. Conkey Company, of New York and Chicago was correct, as right away I could think of  similar incidents that matched the final episode with Bose and his canine friend, Sam.  It would be too easy to dismiss as being from another era and possibly sentimental.  It's not.  It and the other stories are good examples of why so many people can't help but love dogs.  When I mention the word "dog" beyond the mirror image of "God", I'm also convinced dogs are His best creation.  They certainly surpass humans in many ways.  Today's stories give a good taste of why I say that.


































































and in conclusion
For those of us who love our pets as family members, when a pet dies I also recommend the story of The Rainbow Bridge which has grown since 1997 to become an online support site.  

While we're looking online, I also went looking about that part where Bose cried actual tears.  If you want to know more go to http://peanutpaws.com/can-dogs-cry/ which also is part of a site which is a good resource for dog owners and people thinking about getting a dog.

My apologies for the way a story sometimes isn't squared perfectly.  My scanner is across the room and so I must dash back and forth between it and my computer to start the process.  In the case of a delicate old book, this leads me to be gentler to its binding.  Today's book will probably never be scanned and put online.  I've no idea who "Kham" was nor the even more anonymous illustrator was, but one of the joys of old books can be traces of its history.  This was the book's first page.
That Christmas of 1896 someone named Julia gave Cleveland Bandholtz the book as a present.  I couldn't resist peeking into history a bit.  I've no idea if it was the same Cleveland Bandholtz, but he was born in 1891, the son of General H.H.Bandholtz and May Cleveland Bandholtz, and even has a Michigan connection, spending part of his early life at the family home in Constantine, when not being an "army brat" following his parents to the Philippines and other army stations.  He grew up to be a lieutenant colonel, serving in both World Wars and was awarded the Legion of Merit for his World War II service.  He's buried in Arlington National Cemetery, while his father is in Constantine.  I've no idea who Julia might have been, but reading about the man I suspect was the recipient of my book I like to think her gift helped to shape who he was.
*******
Here's my new 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!"
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!














Saturday, August 20, 2016

Audubon - The Burning of the Forests - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

With forest fires destroying large parts of California and other parts of the western United States, today's story reminds us summer's heat is the least of what could be happening.  Back in 2010 I had a house flood.  Nothing on the scale of what's going on in Baton Rouge currently, nor Hurricane Sandy, which hit in 2012, but I encourage people to check out my earlier disaster segments here since, from time to time, disasters change our lives.  Whether total loss or adjusting to the chaos of any major crisis, I tried to find as many ways for working through it all from others who had the same or worse events.  Right now I'm reading Wayne Muller's A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough.  In some cases I wish I could sit with Muller and disagree or question some of what he says, but on pages 136 and 137 is "What Grows After a Fire" and he talks about visiting an area only three weeks after a major fire destroyed dozens of homes.  Already, in the midst of the blackened refuse was a sea of green from 6 to 10" oak seedlings blanketing the forest floor without human interference.  His conclusion is that life is like this and "When we learn this, when we finally realize who we are, what we know, and of what we are truly capable, any fear of never having enough of anything gradually and inevitably falls away."

After today's story I will mention some Michigan forest fires mainly pre-dating the U.S. Forest Service.   I initially thought today's story was about an incident experienced by the great ornithologist, John James Audubon.  I found "A Forest on Fire" in Story Hour Readings, Fifth Year, which was part of a series for 1921 readers by educator, Ernest Clark Hartwell, for the American Book Company.  Hartwell gives some sources on his Acknowledgements page, but gave only a by-line attributing it to Audubon.

Of course that sent me hunting.  Audubon's Wikipedia article gave me a clue it might have happened while he lived in Kentucky.  Prowling Project Gutenberg, I found the story in Audubon and His Journals, volume 2 by Maria R. Audubon.  (This is the continuation of the Missouri River journals by John James Audubon in volume 1.)  The problem is Hartwell's reader simplifies the story and also doesn't explain this is a story told to Audubon by an unnamed hunter in Maine talking about an incident with his equally anonymous wife and daughter.  It's still a worthwhile story and, to identify where the actual story started in the reader, I'll give the introductory phrase in red.

I can't even identify the illustrator for the story's header as the title page explains.  By the way, as of this writing there are other years of the Story Hour Readings online, but not yet the Fifth Year.  The reader's version is easier to tell.  If you would like me to scan it and send you a copy, email me with Forest Fire Story Request in the Subject line.



or as the journal calls it 
THE BURNING OF THE FORESTS.

With what pleasure have I seated myself by the blazing fire of some lonely cabin, when, faint with fatigue, and chilled with the piercing blast, I had forced my way to it through the drifted snows that covered the face of the country as with a mantle. The affectionate mother is hushing her dear babe to repose, while a group of sturdy children surround their father, who has just returned from the chase, and deposited on the rough flooring of his hut the varied game which he has procured. The great back-log, that with some difficulty has been rolled into the ample chimney, urged, as it were, by lighted pieces of pine, sends forth a blaze of light over the happy family. The dogs of the hunter are already licking away the trickling waters of the thawing icicles that sparkle over their shaggy coats, and the comfort-loving cat is busied in passing her furry paws over each ear, or with her rough tongue smoothing her glossy coat.
How delightful to me has it been when, kindly received and hospitably treated under such a roof, by persons whose means were as scanty as their generosity was great, I have entered into conversation with them respecting subjects of interest to me, and received gratifying information. When the humble but plentiful repast was ended, the mother would take from the shelf the Book of books, and mildly request the attention of her family, while the father read aloud a chapter. Then to Heaven would ascend their humble prayers, and a good-night would be bidden to all friends far and near. How comfortably have I laid my wearied frame on the Buffalo hide, and covered me with the furry skin of some huge Bear! How pleasing have been my dreams of home and happiness, as I there lay, secure from danger and sheltered from the inclemency of the weather. 295
I recollect that once while in the State of Maine, I passed such a night as I have described. Next morning the face of nature was obscured by the heavy rains that fell in torrents, and my generous host begged me to remain, in such pressing terms that I was well content to accept his offer. Breakfast over, the business of the day commenced; the spinning-wheels went round, and the boys employed themselves, one in searching for knowledge, another in attempting to solve some ticklish arithmetical problem. In a corner lay the dogs, dreaming of plunder, while close to the ashes stood grimalkin, seriously purring in concert with the wheels. The hunter and I seated ourselves each on a stool, while the matron looked after her domestic arrangements.
"Puss," quoth the dame, "get away; you told me last night of this day's rain, and I fear you may now give us worse news with tricky paws." Puss accordingly went off, leaped on a bed, and rolling herself in a ball, composed herself for a comfortable nap. I asked the husband what his wife meant by what she had just said. "The good woman," said he, "has some curious notions at times, and she believes, I think, in the ways of animals of all kinds. Now, her talk to the cat refers to the fires of the woods around us, and although they have happened long ago, she fears them quite as much as ever, and, indeed, she and I and all of us have good reason to dread them, as they have brought us many calamities." Having read of the great fires to which my host alluded, and frequently observed with sorrow the mournful state of the forests, I felt anxious to know something of the causes by which these direful effects had been produced. I therefore requested him to give me an account of the events resulting from those fires which he had witnessed. Willingly he at once went on, nearly as follows:—
"About twenty-five years ago the larch, or hackmatack, trees were nearly all killed by insects. This took place in 296 what hereabouts is called the 'black soft growth' land, that is, the spruce, pine, and all other firs. The destruction of the trees was effected by the insects cutting the leaves, and you must know that, although other trees are not killed by the loss of their leaves, the evergreens always are. Some few years after this destruction of the larch, the same insects attacked the spruces, pines, and other firs, in such a manner that, before half a dozen years were over, they began to fall, and, tumbling in all directions, they covered the whole country with matted masses. You may suppose that when partially dried or seasoned, they would prove capital fuel, as well as supplies for the devouring flames, which accidentally, or perhaps by intention, afterwards raged over the country, and continued burning at intervals for years, in many places stopping all communication by the roads; the resinous nature of the firs being of course best fitted to insure and keep up the burning of the deep beds of dry leaves or of the other trees." Here I begged him to give me some idea of the form of the insects which had caused such havoc.
"The insects," said he, "were, in their caterpillar form, about three quarters of an inch in length, and as green as the leaves of the trees they fed on, when they committed their ravages. I must tell you also that, in most of the places over which the fire passed, a new growth of wood has already sprung up, of what we lumberers call hard wood, which consists of all other sorts but pine or fir; and I have always remarked that wherever the first natural growth of a forest is destroyed, either by the axe, the hurricane, or the fire, there springs up spontaneously another of quite a different kind." I again stopped my host to inquire if he knew the method or nature of the first kindling of the fires.
"Why, sir," said he, "there are different opinions about this. Many believe that the Indians did it, either to be the better able to kill the game, or to punish their 297 enemies the Pale-faces. My opinion, however, is different; and I derive it from my experience in the woods as a lumberer. I have always thought that the fires began by the accidental fall of a dry trunk against another, when their rubbing together, especially as many of them are covered with resin, would produce fire. The dry leaves on the ground are at once kindled, next the twigs and branches, when nothing but the intervention of the Almighty could stop the progress of the fire.
"In some instances, owing to the wind, the destructive element approached the dwellings of the inhabitants of the woods so rapidly that it was difficult for them to escape. In some parts, indeed, hundreds of families were obliged to flee from their homes, leaving all they had behind them, and here and there some of the affrighted fugitives were burnt alive."
At this moment a rush of wind came down the chimney, blowing the blaze of the fire towards the room. The wife and daughter, imagining for a moment that the woods were again on fire, made for the door, but the husband explaining the cause of their terror, they resumed their work.
"Poor things," said the lumberer, "I dare say that what I have told you brings sad recollections to the minds of my wife and eldest daughter, who, with myself, had to fly from our home, at the time of the great fires." I felt so interested in his relation of the causes of the burnings that I asked him to describe to me the particulars of his misfortunes at the time. "If Prudence and Polly," said he, looking towards his wife and daughter, "will promise to sit still should another puff of smoke come down the chimney, I will do so." The good-natured smile with which he made this remark elicited a return from the women and he proceeded:—
"It is a difficult thing, sir, to describe, but I will do my best to make your time pass pleasantly. We were sound asleep one night in a cabin about a hundred miles from 298 this, when, about two hours before day, the snorting of the horses and lowing of the cattle which I had ranging in the woods suddenly awakened us. I took yon rifle and went to the door, to see what beast had caused the hubbub, when I was struck by the glare of light reflected on all the trees before me, as far as I could see through the woods. My horses were leaping about, snorting loudly, and the cattle ran among them with their tails raised straight over their backs. On going to the back of the house, I plainly heard the crackling made by the burning brushwood, and saw the flames coming towards us in a far extended line. I ran to the house, told my wife to dress herself and the child as quick as possible, and take the little money we had, while I managed to catch and saddle the two best horses. All this was done in a very short time, for I guessed that every moment was precious to us.
"We then mounted, and made off from the fire. My wife, who is an excellent rider, stuck close to me; my daughter, who was then a small child, I took in one arm. When making off as I said, I looked back and saw that the frightful blaze was close upon us, and had already laid hold of the house. By good luck, there was a horn attached to my hunting-clothes, and I blew it, to bring after us, if possible, the remainder of my live stock, as well as the dogs. The cattle followed for a while; but, before an hour had elapsed, they all ran as if mad through the woods, and that, sir, was the last of them. My dogs, too, although at other times extremely tractable, ran after the Deer that in bodies sprung before us, as if fully aware of the death that was so rapidly approaching.
"We heard blasts from the horns of our neighbors as we proceeded, and knew that they were in the same predicament. Intent on striving to the utmost to preserve our lives, I thought of a large lake some miles off, which might possibly check the flames; and, urging my wife to 299 whip up her horse, we set off at full speed, making the best way we could over the fallen trees and brush-heaps, which lay like so many articles placed on purpose to keep up the terrific fires that advanced with a broad front upon us.
"By this time we could feel the heat; and we were afraid that our horses would drop every instant. A singular kind of breeze was passing over our heads, and the glare of the atmosphere shone over the daylight. I was sensible of a slight faintness, and my wife looked pale. The heat had produced such a flush in the child's face that when she turned towards either of us, our grief and perplexity were greatly increased. Ten miles, you know, are soon gone over on swift horses; but, notwithstanding this, when we reached the borders of the lake, covered with sweat and quite exhausted, our hearts failed us. The heat of the smoke was insufferable, and sheets of blazing fire flew over us in a manner beyond belief. We reached the shores, however, coasted the lake for a while, and got round to the lee side. There we gave up our horses, which we never saw again. Down among the rushes we plunged by the edge of the water, and laid ourselves flat, to wait the chance of escaping from being burnt or devoured. The water refreshed us, and we enjoyed the coolness.
"On went the fire, rushing and crashing through the woods. Such a sight may we never see! The heavens, themselves, I thought were frightened, for all above us was a red glare mixed with clouds of smoke, rolling and sweeping away. Our bodies were cool enough, but our heads were scorching, and the child, who now seemed to understand the matter, cried so as nearly to break our hearts.
"The day passed on, and we became hungry. Many wild beasts came plunging into the water beside us, and others swam across to our side and stood still. Although 300 faint and weary, I managed to shoot a Porcupine, and we all tasted its flesh. The night passed, I cannot tell you how. Smouldering fires covered the ground, and trees stood like pillars of fire, or fell across each other. The stifling and sickening smoke still rushed over us, and the burnt cinders and ashes fell thick about us. How we got through that night I really cannot tell, for about some of it I remember nothing." Here the hunter paused, and took breath. The recital of his adventure seemed to have exhausted him. His wife proposed that we should have a bowl of milk, and the daughter having handed it to us, we each took a draught.
"Now," said he, "I will proceed. Towards morning, although the heat did not abate, the smoke became less, and blasts of fresh air sometimes made their way to us. When morning came, all was calm, but a dismal smoke still filled the air, and the smell seemed worse than ever. We were now cooled enough, and shivered as if in an ague fit; so we removed from the water, and went up to a burning log, where we warmed ourselves. What was to become of us, I did not know. My wife hugged the child to her breast, and wept bitterly; but God had preserved us through the worst of the danger, and the flames had gone past, so I thought it would be both ungrateful to him and unmanly to despair now. Hunger once more pressed upon us, but this was easily remedied. Several Deer were still standing in the water, up to the head, and I shot one of them. Some of its flesh was soon roasted; and after eating it we felt wonderfully strengthened.
"By this time the blaze of the fire was beyond our sight, although the ground was still burning in many places, and it was dangerous to go among the burnt trees. After resting awhile, and trimming ourselves, we prepared to commence our march. Taking up the child, I led the way over the hot ground and rocks; and, after two weary days and nights, during which we shifted in the best 301 manner we could, we at last reached the 'hard woods' which had been free of the fire. Soon after we came to a house, where we were kindly treated for a while. Since then, sir, I have worked hard and constantly as a lumberer; but, thanks be to God, here we are safe, sound, and happy!"

*******
All that talk about the hunter now calling himself a lumberer brings me to thinking about the List of Michigan wildfires and in 1881 how it changed the face of Michigan's Thumb area into cleared farmland.  Ten years earlier, on October 8, 1871, at the very same time everybody's attention was switched to the Great Chicago Fire (so familiarly attributed by a song to Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking a lantern over), the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and on into Wisconsin with the Peshtigo Fire, came history's deadliest wildfire.  It even left evidence in concrete reminiscent of the atomic bomb.  I read books about that fire and was impressed to learn it not only was missed because of Chicago's disaster, but it was also on the same day as a fire across the bay in Wisconsin's Door Peninsula and several locations in Michigan at Holland, Manistee, and Port Huron.  Here it was just called the Great Michigan Fire.


It's been a long time since I grew up hearing Smokey the Bear cautioning us about not carelessly starting fires.  Even that bit of official public service announcement gathered a story, after the fact, when a black bear cub was rescued after being rescued from a New Mexico wildfire.  Of course the cub was later named Smokey after the advertising mascot.  He lived a long and apparently happy life at the National Zoo.  The hotlink manages to give even more information about him.  Nowadays, while careless fires still can start devastating fires, controlled burns supposedly eliminate the brush that can fuel a wildfire.  I remember walking my dog past one at Orion Oaks Park and seeing an emerald green snake gasping at the edge of the burn.  He was half burnt up.  The next time I walked there he was gone.  Probably eaten.  Rather like the story of the unknown hunter who told his story to Audubon and killed a deer after the fire was over.
********
Today's story was long, but I want to include 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!"
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

4 1/2 Factors in Summer Storytelling

If ever there was a summer when heat affected storytelling, this has been it.  Oh I know Michigan's temperatures are cooler than most of the U.S., but it has been more persistent than usual and we're not used to it.  I grew up in St. Louis -- that's Missouri (or Misery as I am sometimes teased), not Michigan, a town I only discovered after settling here.  Summer was my favorite time of year, after all it meant school was out.  It was common there to say "It's not the heat, it's the humidity."  Be it the humidity, the dew point, the heat index, storytellers ignore it at their audience's and their own peril.


Four and a half main factors must be considered in summer storytelling.
  1. A lot of summer storytelling is at festivals.  It's a great way for festival goers to relax and cool down even if the festival isn't specifically a storytelling festival.  Yes, it's important to have a sound system and avoid competing noise if a story is to be heard since outdoor areas don't help the voice travel as far, but many venue planners overlook the importance of shade.  Remember this is a time for attendees to sit back and relax.  Also the teller may enjoy a spotlight onstage, but the sun is not going to encourage the teller in a similar way to keep going.
  2. A breeze is an added and, sometimes, needed benefit.  One un-air-conditioned library's fan made all the difference.  The audience were absolute angels and this teller eventually realized what was helping them and moved over to share in the welcome blast of air. (It was obviously fairly quiet, but even a noisy fan can be talked over and, whether indoors or out, moving air is helpful.)
  3. Hydration.  You know you should do it.  You know the beverages that work against it.  Bring your own to be sure, but hope the venue offers it...for both you and the audience.
  4. Clothing can make a difference, too.  When possible it should be light and, if in the sun, still covering.  (I don't do well with sunscreen chemicals unfortunately.)
Clothing deserves extra attention.  

Historical garb is its own set of adjustments.  Historical and ethnic storytellers must investigate how the people they represent handled severe heat .  This summer I've told as myself for summer reading programs and elsewhere, plus wearing The Pride of Scotland tartan at our Highland Games as I'm a member of Clan Stirling, and in two types of historical outfits, the Civil War era and in a World War I uniform.  Sometimes I've done other ethnic storytelling programs, but not this summer although hot lands like India wear blessedly light weight, loose flowing outfits and my friends who tell African tales similarly dress for the weather.  Some summers I've been a Hired Girl or a One-Room Schoolteacher and definitely chose outfits those women would have worn in summer.
 
This past week I did my first "Hello Girls " public program about the bilingual phone operators of World War I.  I knew the uniform was a must, but at first didn't know they had both winter and summer uniforms.  Their uniforms were modeled after the Army nurse and they cost $300 to $500 (that's more than $4300 to over $7200 in today's money).  The army didn't provide it, the women either made it themselves, had it made by a local dressmaker, or by the big east coast department store tailors.  That was a sizeable donation on the part of the women and it's no wonder the town of Emmett, Idaho threw a benefit for Anne Campbell Atkinson.  Even at that, the women rejected part of the uniform that didn't show . . . the woolen underwear and black sateen bloomers.  I'm so glad they did!  I'll not need to show those bloomers.

There are many photos of the operators at their World War I switchboards with their jackets off.  While waiting to enter with a helmet and gas mask on, I wondered if I would need to do that for the program.  Fortunately there was air conditioning and, once I made my entrance in protective gear, I was able to handle the summer weight uniform.  My initial uniform is definitely winter weight.  The jacket started its life as a teenage Civil War reenactor's "sack coat."  I hunted until I found matching navy wool for the skirt, belt, and pockets.

Gentlemen, be you Civil War reenactors or members of a Scottish pipe and drum band, I would definitely be looking for uniform options beyond the dark heavy woolen jacket.  Thanks heavens for the kilt in summer, eh?  At the Highland Games I noticed, more than in the past, some bands had short sleeved uniform shirts to replace the traditional jacket.  As for Civil War ladies, there was an incredible number of layers.  I know I don't have all of them, certainly not a corset since I don't travel with a "fainting couch" nor smelling salts.  Still I do enjoy explaining about the cotton boycott (so, gentlemen, avert your eyes while I show the ladies my shorter pantaloons!)  All the rest, I can assure you is cool muslin.  Besides all those lacy slips, that enormous hoop guarantees people stand a bit apart from each other and ventilation is even better than a kilt, just stay away from campfires.  Fortunately hand fans are very appropriate for any woman, especially for historical storytelling.  (Back to the second factor, breezes, some performers carry their own small electric fans.  I've always believed in seeing to the comfort of my audience first, but let's face it, stages are elevated and heat rises.

Now about that 1/2 heat factor I promised.  None of us are getting any younger and experts say older people are more subject to heat stress than the young.  If you do overheat, get in the shade or a cooler area, maybe even air conditioning, sit down and drink some cool water (ice water isn't as easily absorbed).  Put some of it on your loosened clothing and wrists to further cool down.  If somebody wants to give you ice, use it on your skin or clothing.  I presume your location won't let you take a cool shower or bath.  Back when we were talking about the heat index -- remember it's higher in the sun -- or the humidity, if it's over 60%, your sweat isn't going to do as good a job cooling you.  If this doesn't give you relief in 15 minutes, you need emergency medical help as heat exhaustion can easily move on to the more serious heat stroke.  Even if you do avoid heat stroke, experiencing heat exhaustion means you should probably take about a week of extra caution as you will be more sensitive to the heat.  I remember seeing the late Kathryn Tucker Windham fading onstage in a hot tent at the Michigan Storytellers Festival one year.  Fortunately another storyteller, our emcee, Papa Joe, recognized what was happening and acted quickly.

If you have other suggestions for this topic, by all means let me know.  My email is at the top of this blog, I'm on Facebook, too, so if you can't get through here, those are two fairly easy ways to reach me . . . heaven knows the spammers certainly can.  Hot or cold, storytellers need to be reachable.  There's also my website, http://www.LoiS-sez.com , which needs my attention on its Historical page now that my Hello Girl program is available.  I think next week I'll offer a Keeping the Public in Public Domain story looking at how blessed we are if we survive heat without a forest fire.  John James Audubon, yes, that Audubon, told a great first-person story about surviving one.

Until then, do whatever you can and try to KEEP COOL!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Eells - How the Brazilian Beetles Got Their Gorgeous Coats - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I've a great story today and I'd like to tie it in to something happening right now, but don't want to get sued!

This is the weekend for one of the oldest U.S. Highland Games in Livonia and I'll be storytelling there BUT this is from the International Trademark Association about not mentioning some other games. 

2. Which Olympic trademarks are protected in the United States?

The Olympic trademarks protected by U.S. statute (36 U.S.C. § 220506(c)) include the name “UNITED STATES OLYMPIC COMMITTEE”; the symbol of the IOC, consisting of five interlocking rings; the words “Olympic,” “Olympiad” and “Citius Altius Fortius,” and also the words “Paralympic,” “Paralympiad,” “Pan-American” and “America Espirito Sport Fraternite,” or any combination of these words; the emblem of the United States Olympic Committee, consisting of an escutcheon having a blue chief and vertically extending red and white bars on the base with five interlocking rings displayed on the chief; and the symbols of the International Paralympic Committee and the Pan-American Sports Organization, consisting of a torch surrounded by concentric rings.

WOOPS!  That was just a quote from your own website, I.T.A., don't sue me!

This week I heard businesses are being sued or threatened with lawsuit if they use certain phrases and that's even beyond the logo and some words not listed in that bit of legalese.    O.k. I'll take my chances, you may have guessed I chose this story because of a two weeks-long group of athletic contests.  Yes, my tongue is firmly in my cheek since my blog is in print, but am willing to be cautious in naming it or using various words or phrases, including the name of the city where it's happening.  The International Olympics Committee is especially looking at corporate Tweets, but I remember libraries learning that even the phrase "Go for the ___" and naming a chemical element with the symbol Au and the atomic number 79 is apt to get them sued or at least a "Cease and Desist" order.

Now for the story from Brazil.  At first I thought it was going to be a variant of another very well known story, but trust me, this version originally published in 1917 in Fairy Tales from Brazil by Elsie Spicer Eells is much better than that.


I like this much more than other stories in the motif K 10 - Athletic contest won by deception -- which includes the well-known "Tortoise and the Hare."  The conclusion on this story is really great and certainly goes beyond the usual trickster's methods with a message that doesn't get preachy.

I'm not alone in this, fellow storyteller, Fran Stallings, told me, it "was a childhood favorite and one of the first stories I ever told outside the family. My version of it has become almost a 'signature' story, and is included on my CD of Stories & Songs for a Green Earth."   I prefer print, but while mentioning audio, LibriVox has a recording of Fairy tales from Brazil, too.

You may have noticed my copy comes from the wonderful old multi-volume set, My Book House, edited by yet another fine producer of 20th century anthologies, Olive Beaupré Miller.  I was delighted last week to learn from an antiquarian bookseller that My Book House, which went unappreciated for a long time, is once again popular ... this time with homeschoolers.  In addition to the set, I have a parents' volume giving ideas for using it with children, including music.  The tiny footnote on page 173 is a perfect example.  It says: The brilliant color of Brazil has inspired music as well as folk tales.  "Thou Brilliant Bird" from the opera, Pearl of Brazil, by the romantic French composer, Félicien David, has all the flare and brilliant color of the parrot.

(No, the hot-link isn't in the book, but let's not stop with Miller.)

While searching for information on Elsie Spicer Eells, because of this great little story, I discovered Fairytalez along with a mystery!  I've written the site owner, but have yet to hear back.  The site is generally very fine for lovers of public domain stories as it claims 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.  The mystery was information that contradicted itself between talking about Eells describing her as a female in talking about the Brazilian region but as a male, complete with portrait, on the page about Eells.  Since 1917 was pre-transgender popularity, I searched further.

Just in case it was a case of her being overlooked only online, I checked two standard biographical resources for children's authors, since most folklore was noticed by children's literature.  The Junior Book of Authors series began in 1934.  I have the second edition, so I checked the original volume at Hathitrust, but she wasn't there.  Not surprisingly, she was also omitted from Twentieth Century Children's Writers.

I was able to find the Portuguese Wikipedia article on her which gave me enough leads to find minor bits of information on Ancestry.com but she clearly preferred her privacy and letting her work speak for her.  It is interesting that the Wikipedia article notes her travels in the 1920s and 1930s in several countries as a researcher of the Hispanic Society of America of New York was something unusual at the time.  We tend to forget how early folklorists were pioneers, especially when female. The Hispanic Society of America is a free New York museum and reference library for the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.  Even there, her work seems to be invisible, but fortunately her books can still be found:
  • Fairy Tales from Brazil (1917)
  • Tales of Giants from Brazil (1918)
  • The Islands of Magic Legends, Folk and Fairy Tales from the Azores (1922)
  • The Magic Tooth and Other Tales From the Amazon (1927)
  • South America's Story (1931)
  • Tales of Enchantment from Spain (1950).
I'm happy to own two of them, but also that it's possible to find her work even if I don't yet own the book where it was originally published.

UPDATE:
I'm not sure you will drop down to the Comments section and click on it -- I find the Comments section here is less obvious than I might like, but Bri Ahearn of Fairytalez.com gave this response to my mystery above.

I saw your Tweet and email, and discovered the mistake! There was a photo of another storyteller incorrectly attributed on another website as Elsie. I went through the Portuguese Wikipedia and discovered the error, as you did. I also found some information on her on a women in history website. The bio has now been corrected - thank you! We originally thought the author was female, but the picture was incorrectly attributed when we found it, so we thought it was a male author but I dug more and made the right corrections so she can get credit for her wonderful stories!

My favorite Eells story is the Carnation Youth.

Lois: While at it, I realized I'd been thinking of the author's name as the same as the water creature.  I believe the label and blog article title have been changed to the double "l" and I went back through the article changing it.  Speaking from personal experience, people with unusual names are used to such things.
*******
Here's my new 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!"
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wiggin - Wee, Wee Mannie - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Sometimes I feel like the Roman god, Janus, who is depicted as looking forward to the future and back to the past. He was in charge of beginnings, endings, and transitions (perfect for storytelling).

This past week included a program as Liberetta Lerich Green in Mecosta telling about her family's experiences running an Underground Railroad Station and explaining about abolition.

This next week I'm gearing up for the annual Scottish storytelling at the Highland Games in Livonia on August 6.  It's in the Heritage Area called the Wee Bairns, although my telling is tailored to the age and interests of the audience.

Today's story comes from the 1908 classic anthology, Tales of Laughter, edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith.  Wiggin is probably best known for writing Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, but she was a pioneer in Early Childhood Education.  I knew she and Smith had created a fine series of fairy tale anthologies, but didn't realize they were sisters.  The Wikipedia article on Smith gives a more complete listing of those works which stretched from 1890 to 1923 as well as even more on her own.  She, too, was active in the Kindergarten movement.  There's so much they produced worth posting as a Keeping the Public in Public Domain story, that I plan to say more about them in the future.

Don't let the Scottish dialect slow you down in this bit of cumulative nonsense reminiscent of "The Old Woman and Her Pig."

********
Continuing the Janus-like looking in two directions, last week I mentioned this concluding portion of the public domain stories would be changing to provide more recommendations.
Here's my new 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, 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 can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

! CHANGES !


I have two major changes for my blog.

First --

For five years, during the sesquicentennial of the U.S. Civil War, I posted a separate blog about Michigan's "Fighting Fifth" Infantry, giving newspaper articles about the regiment at the pace they originally appeared in the Detroit newspapers.  The sesquicentennial has ended and I have decided to transfer those articles to my main blog.  Those pages now can be found using the blog sidebar.

Change usually brings both good and bad or, at the least, mixed results.  This has been true as I transferred the old blog.  The usual blog format puts the most recent article posted first, with older articles further down.  Transferring the blog let me put articles in the order they appeared.  I also now take a separate page for each year.  Chronological order is so much more sensible than reverse chronological order when dealing with history!  At the same time my use of Google's free Blogger software produced some of those other results.  It's free other than my time!  It's also almost WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), avoiding html coding on my part.  The problem is some of my original decisions, like the use of this color font, proved difficult to change.  Equally frustrating quirks of the Blogger process made problems, for example spacing and fonts are different than I chose on the original blog.  I took the format as far as I could, but it may mislead the reader into not realizing there is more to come.  Just know each page has an entire year and keep going.  Additionally my main blog has so many search labels it was impossible to add the many labels specific to the former blog.  Those topics, however, are listed right underneath the newspaper article title and date, before the actual article.

Are the actual articles all I would like?  OF COURSE NOT!  To begin with, the original microfilm process recording those newspapers of over 150 years ago had flaws.  Added to that, I used the index Helen Ellis made, during the centennial 51 years ago, of the Burton Historical Collection newspapers in her Michigan in the Civil War, but, I saw different edition times because the Library of Michigan microfilmed newspaper collection gave me the ability to use a flash drive in my own recording.  That meant two different libraries with two different editions.  At times the newspapers didn't publish the same thing in both morning and evening editions.  As if that wasn't confusing and frustrating enough, trips to Lansing gathering the material had to be limited.  Add in my own learning curve on collection and reproduction to correct microfilm flaws.  I apologize.  This process from original microfilming to final reproduction here couldn't be as complete nor as perfect as I wish.

But as they say in "infomercials", That's not all!


My second change --

I love offering the segment I call Keeping the Public in Public Domain.  As of this time, I've posted 135 public domain stories, complete with appropriate background information I prowl to find.  

In addition, at the end I've posted a link promoting Dr. Yoel Perez's online database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I still will include it because it offers probably the most ambitious online listing of public domain international folklore, and also presents online the 6 volume Stith Thompson's Motif Index.  But when I say "That's not all!" I have decided to add to it.  I'm a long-time fan and promoter of the email list, 
now hosted by the National Storytelling Network at http://storynet.org/storytell.html but it dates back to 1995.  Recently it had a discussion of Online Story Sources.

Aside from my mentioning in the list discussion the Keeping the Public in Public Domain segment and Yashpeh, several other sites were mentioned by other list members.  I'd like those sites to be known by other story loving readers.  My sidebar's already jam-packed with the Civil War pages and all my many article labels, so I don't want to post my recommendations there, but will make the Keeping the Public in Public Domain ending include the other major sites, along with a suggestion for finding sites no longer active.  That way if a site has links that are no longer valid, you probably can still find by using the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, an excellent resource.