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Saturday, December 7, 2019

Look Out! The Yule Lads Are Coming!

Sheep-cote Clod from Icelandic Store's Yule Lads figurines
If you're a triskaidekaphobe (fearing or hating the number 13 and, especially, Friday the 13th), this year's December, Friday the 13th, gives you a double reason to Look Out!  for the Yule Lads Are Coming!  They always start one at a time on the 12th, each joining his brothers, and continuing through Christmas, finally leaving one at a time through the 12 Days of Christmas.

Who are they?

They began as a 17th century tradition meant to keep children being good for Christmas.  It changed over time to 13 Santa-ish characters leaving small gifts and playing pranks. 

A storyteller I remember from back in the days of Flint Area Story Tellers, Stephanie Brewer, every year at this time would bring out little rustic troll figures and share the Icelandic tradition of the Yule Lads.  She's been gone, telling in the Great Beyond for several years now, but I've looked to find some of those troll figures for several years to share their story.  Hers were not the figurines sold for a set at $249 USD.  (Definitely beyond my budget.)  Thanks to the internet I now know much more, including a more affordable way to present them.  I searched  Wikipedia; the Icelandic promotional site called The Big Picture from Inspired by Iceland; an Icelandic online news magazine - ; an unusual blog called  Cryptoville.com; an archived webpage on poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum; his publisher Griffla's Facebook page; and Griffla's own webpage for Christmas Is Coming.

The Wikipedia article gives you a chart with each lad's characteristic and date of arrival and departure.  It also mentions something not in the poem, "Christmas Is Coming", the ancient tradition of the family having a huge, vicious Yule Cat who eats people not having new clothes for Christmas!  This is explained as a farmers' incentive "for their workers to finish processing the autumn wool before Christmas. The ones who took part in the work would be rewarded with new clothes, but those who did not would get nothing and thus would be preyed upon by the monstrous cat."  A milder form of activity is "merely eating away the food of ones without new clothes."   For more on the Yule Cat, including that illustration, go to Cryptoville.com's article on "Iceland's Killer Christmas Cat" including a poem all his own again by Jóhannes úr Kötlum.

I've finally found a way to tell about the Yule Lads using these illustrations from The Big Picture, which can be made larger and taken one at a time.
I've no idea who this modern artist was.  I did send off an email requesting permission to use their webpage.  I received an email from Inspired by Iceland that began
Takk fyrir skráninguna.

Við höfum móttekið beiðni þína.

Bestu kveðjur,
Inspired by Iceland
Fortunately that was followed by its English translation 
Thank you for being in touch with us.  Your inquiry has been 
received.  Best regards, Inspired by Iceland

Please note: this email was sent from a notification-only address 
that can't accept incoming emails. Please do not reply to this 
message. 

Copyright © 2019 Íslandsstofa, All rights reserved.

Íslandsstofa   

Sundagarðar 2  104 Reykjavik
Well!  I may need to take down the composite illustration here depending on what they require.  I hope not, but my telling about the Yule Lads now has an illustration for each individually. 

To be perfectly honest a story needs a plot and the poem doesn't have a lot.  In the 17th century it began as "Poem of Gryla" and was about their "hideous...mother of the gigantic Yule Lads who are a menace to children."  As often happens in really old folklore, bad children were eaten.  The King of Denmark objected to that.  Over time their characteristics changed, finally in 1932 the Icelandic poet, Jóhannes úr Kötlum, made a poem that has been a best selling book, Christmas Is Coming, for his publisher, Griffla, when it was translated into English by Hallberg Hallmundsson and illustrated by Tryggvi Magnússon.  Publishers aren't always willing to grant reprint rights, so for more information on Kötlum, Hallmundsson, and Magnússon go to Griffla's own webpage for Christmas Is Coming where you may order it or you can buy an e-book of the poem on Amazon.

The closest to a plot you receive in the poem we now have is that Gryla, their mother gives them "ogre milk", but Inspired by Iceland isn't afraid of the part that the Danish king rejected, saying
 She is a dreadful character, described as part troll and part animal and the mother of 13 precocious boys (the Yule Lads). Grýla lives in the mountains with her third husband, her thirteen children and a black cat. Every Christmas, Grýla and her sons come down from the mountains: Grýla in search of naughty children to boil in her cauldron and the boys in search of mischief. She can only capture children who misbehave but those who repent must be released.
and the father with the very Icelandic name of Leppaludi, described in the poem as a "loathsome ilk" (rhymes with that ogre milk) and described by Inspired by Iceland as not evil but lazy.  He also seems to have no other part in the story, so he seems to be an optional character.

As you can see, the story has changed over time.  The Reykjavík Grapevine summarizes it
Iceland’s leading authority on Christmas, Árni Björnsson, explains that folktales naturally change. “When the Yuletide lads are first mentioned in the 17th century, they are child-eating trolls,” he says. “Then two hundred years later, in the 19th century, they aren’t really trolls anymore, but they are still ugly. They don’t eat children, but they still steal food.” Then finally, in the 20th century, they are still mischievous, but they begin leaving small gifts for kids who put their shoe in the window.
There's more to the story behind the change, which the Grapevine does a great job of showing how it included a clash with the Christmas cultures of Denmark and Germany.

To catch the introductory section from Kötlum's poem before the Yule Lads appear, go to Archive.org and in the search box enter http://notendur.centrum.is/sjbokband/joh.html/yulelads00.html, then choose the year 2007, finally clicking on December 22.   You can also see and hear the original Jóhannes úr Kötlum poem on YouTube, complete with the book's original illustrations (even though it took a graphic from what I posted above).  Another way is on Griffla's Facebook page, if you scroll down to December 11, 2017, it gives you a Yule lad per day, just as they traditionally appear.


The librarian in me also loves the Icelandic tradition of the Christmas Book Flood ensuring a book for everyone to enjoy.  You may be sure I followed that tradition even though I didn't know it was also Icelandic!  My family should expect it by now.

Something else I hope you will join me in gifting is a small donation to Wikipedia and to Archive.org as they are a great resource we'd hate to lose.

This next week I'll be telling as the Hired Girl for a Victorian Christmas program, also my Michigan Prohibition program, High Times in the Dry Times, so enjoy celebrating the holidays in whatever way works for you.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Some Fowl Talk and a True Story


Be warned today's story is definitely adult.

from https://www.countryfarm-lifestyles.com/raising-turkeys.html

No less an important an American than Benjamin Franklin said the turkey would be a better national bird than the eagle.  I'm not going to take sides in that debate although the National Wild Turkey Federation would probably agree with it as their motto is "Conserve, Hunt, Share."  I'm not a hunter, but wild turkeys have certainly made a comeback in my semi-rural Springfield Township home in Oakland County, Michigan.  I mentioned this to my yoga teacher who talked about the 14 birds having taken over her farm.  She pointed out that, since the turkeys were so successfully reintroduced to our area, the pheasants have disappeared.  Hmmm. 


Wikipedia notes the problem may be worse than that:

Human conflicts with wild turkeys

Turkeys have been known to be aggressive toward humans and pets in residential areas.[12] Wild turkeys have a social structure and pecking order and habituated turkeys may respond to humans and animals as they do to another turkey. Habituated turkeys may attempt to dominate or attack people that the birds view as subordinates.[13]
The town of Brookline, Massachusetts, recommends that citizens be aggressive toward the turkeys, take a step towards them, and not back down. Brookline officials have also recommended "making noise (clanging pots or other objects together); popping open an umbrella; shouting and waving your arms; squirting them with a hose; allowing your leashed dog to bark at them; and forcefully fending them off with a broom."[14]
Going on with that, while searching for an appropriate image to open today's story, I found the Country Farm Lifestyles article given in that caption link stated:
Raising turkeys is no different to keeping chickens, in fact, and in some ways turkeys are easier to raise. The one problem with turkeys is that they are big, ungainly birds with the larger breeds being so big that they cannot breed naturally. The males are so heavy that they find it difficult to mount the females successfully and the females often get scratched and injured after the many attempts.
There's a reason I include that information related to today's story.  Before I get to it, I ought to also include the Country Farm Lifestyles comment, "The good news is that there are smaller breeds of turkeys too, that have no trouble breeding, and If you want to keep turkeys on the farm as pets they live a long life. Many turkey breeds can live between 10 – 15 years."

I receive many newsletters from authors, including one from Ellen Byerrum.
I emailed Ellen back saying I made copies of the story she shared in it for each of the adults at our Thanksgiving table in case any discussions erupted in fights.  She emailed me that my idea made her night, considering it the highest compliment imaginable, and further saying "It was a most unusual story and I'm glad that people are enjoying it now"

(My own copy began with the heading "Turkeys: An Ergonomics Challenge", but the explanation I would have given orally is in the two paragraphs preceding the actual story.)
Thanksgiving, Turkeys & Reasons to Be Thankful
Some years ago, when I was reporting for a D.C. trade journal, I interviewed an ergonomist (a specialist in ergonomics) who described to me the worst job I can imagine. On a turkey farm. This job is just one small step, possibly the first, on the long road to getting that tasty roast turkey on your table for Thanksgiving dinner. On my job safety beat, I covered OSHA, workplace injuries and job-related stress and violence, and I regularly learned about horrible jobs. This is certainly in the top ten terrible jobs of all time. And I guarantee you, whether you're employed or not, and whatever it is you do for a living, you will be thankful you do not have this job.

My news article was never published. Anything that smacked of a smirk was frowned upon at this publication, and my editor said that although my story was fascinating, there was no way he would ever print it. Nevertheless, I always wanted it to see the light of day, beyond entertaining friends during cocktail hour. This story is rated PG 13, and it's about turkeys and how they ultimately get turned into dinner, so stop now, if you’re easily offended. Or a vegan. I will try to use euphemisms where I can.

Turkeys: An Ergonomics Challenge
Ergonomics is basically the science of fitting the workplace environment and equipment to the worker to maximize their comfort and safety. It’s not just about office chairs and keyboards, it can apply to any workplace, and ergonomic solutions can be very creative, as this informant of mine demonstrated. To preserve his privacy, I'll just call the ergonomist in this story "Ian."

On one of his first jobs after graduating with his shiny new degree, Ian was called in to address injuries suffered by women working at a turkey farm in Canada. The female workers reported chronic shoulder and wrist injuries. The stressful part of their job was holding the tom turkeys firmly with one arm, while with the other hand manually "encouraging" them to “donate” their sperm in order for the turkey hens to be artificially inseminated. It required a willing male turkey, a supple wrist and a little glass tube. The women's job title was probably something like "sperm collection technician." But what did these workers call themselves? TURKEY JERKERS. Well, duh, as they say.

So why do we need turkey jerkers? Why not just let the turkeys do what comes naturally, you may well ask? I asked that question too. According to Ian, apparently the toms are very aggressive in their mating, and they tend to scar the poor hens with their talons. Better to lend nature a helping hand. Ian also noted that the workers’ problems were exacerbated because---well, the tom turkeys really enjoyed this part of the process. So much so that after making their donations, they would line jump to take another turn with the turkey jerkers. But the second time, that tom would take much longer to deliver the desired results, if at all. Bad for productivity--and the wrists. (The turkeys didn't seem to mind.) There was no system to determine which turkeys had already had their fun for that day. And to make it worse, Ian said, the tom turkeys were huge, up to fifty pounds apiece, and very excitable, while most of the workers were petite Asian women. With sore shoulders and aching wrists.

Obviously, it was in the best interest of the employer and the workers (and the turkeys) to find a better way to do this job and keep these women from sustaining musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). After all, how many people, even in these recessionary times, are willing to do that job for a turkey? (“Not I,” said the little red hen.) And for the Washington, D.C., attorneys who argue that up is down and night is day, and there are no such things as work-related MSDs, just save it for the turkeys, guys. Okay?

Now, if I had ever thought about it, which I hadn’t, I would have assumed there was some high-tech machine that handled turkey sperm donation. For all I know, at present there may be some kind of space-age SpermGizmo that does the job. And I hesitate to consider what happens in the rest of the animal kingdom. We’ll leave that up to the Nature Channel. But these women at the turkey farm were doing it all by hand.

Ergonomic and Creative Solutions
Ian set out to find a solution. A couple of fixes to address the shoulder injuries seemed relatively easy. He had stands constructed so the big wiggly birds could rest on them, instead of the tiny women struggling to hold them up. He devised a labeling system--birds now wore colored rings around their necks to determine whether they had donated that day, so they could be separated from the rest of the turkeys waiting their turn.

But how to alleviate the wrist injuries? Ian put his mind to it and the light bulb clicked on. Remember, ergonomics is finding an effective solution to the problem, whatever it takes. He went to an adult “specialty” store, named something like the "Pink Pussycat," where everyone wore tight black leather outfits and showed a lot of bare flesh. Except Ian. He was wearing his best suit. He wasn’t there for posters of pretty hens to entice the toms. He asked for two dozen--let’s call them “personal massagers.” Needless to say, the sales clerk was impressed.

“Two dozen? What on earth are you going to use two dozen for?” the clerk wanted to know.

“Don’t ask,” Ian said.

“Oh! I see,” the clerk responded, as if he had a clue. “I’ve got to go in back.”

Ian heard some commotion in the back and the manager came out to meet this amazing customer. “Wow. We’ve never sold a case of these before,” he said. "You're gonna need batteries too. Use the Duracells, they last longer."

Ian returned to the farm with the massagers and distributed them to the workers. VoilaThe massagers “worked like a charm,” Ian said. The turkeys were happy. The turkey jerkers were happy. Mission accomplished. Until...

The turkey farm called him back one day. Their batteries were all dead. No problem, Ian said, just buy more batteries, keep them in stock. But the farm had a company policy, he was told. Batteries were considered part of an an employee theft problem. They wouldn't stock anything people might easily steal. When the farm's purchasing manager asked what they were used for, Ian explained.

“Oh my god! That will never do,” the manager said, and refused to okay the battery purchase. “I can’t expense these!"

Our intrepid ergonomist went back to work on the problem. And he headed back to the Pink Pussycat. The clerk remembered him well. He was a local legend. “You’re the dude who bought twenty-four [massagers]!” Ian explained they were working just fine, but they were running out of batteries. The clerk, in awe, asked him how long the massagers were being used at a time.

“About sixteen hours a day,” Ian said. "Don't ask."

The clerk was stunned. The manager was stunned. Ian asked if they had a comparable plug-in model with a long cord. They did. He bought two dozen of those.
They begged him to reveal what he was using all those massagers for. You gotta tell us, dude! Our resourceful ergonomist, however, kept his professional secret--and the turkeys' mystery. Finally the ergonomic challenges of turkey jerking had been solved. Human ingenuity saved the day (and the turkey jerkers' shoulders and wrists--and jobs).

In the course of my interview, Ian went on to tell me other stories, for example about ergonomics for strippers and poker players. But those are tales for another day.

* * * *
As it turned out, I never had the need to present the story.  The closest we came to a disagreement was one person, who shall not be named, but it wasn't my husband, saying this Saturday he'd prefer Ohio State beat the University of Michigan.  HMMPH!  My master's degree in library science came from U. of M., but at least I am willing to let Michigan State University do well if the "Maize and Blue" has a bad season.  Only once a year my husband and I root for different Michigan football teams.

Ms. Byerrum writes, among other things, cozy mysteries and I freely admit I'm not a fan of the trend where cozy mysteries feature food and even include recipes.  When I read I prefer not to have the story encourage me to eat.  That said, it's good that our Thanksgiving didn't require her book, Recipes for Disaster.
May the coming month of holidays avoid all Recipes for Disaster in your life with the possible exception of stories.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Thanksgiving NOT Turkey Day + Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Next week is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. and I trust, no matter how bad things may have been, you can find something or someone giving you a reason to be thankful.  Even the process for "counting your blessings" is good for us, so that's why I've developed a pet peeve at the current trend of calling it "Turkey Day"!!!

A quick check at Wikipedia on Thanksgiving shows eleven other countries set aside a similar day.  For that reason I went looking to find an image saying "Thanksgiving NOT Turkey Day."  There were lots about calories and not having turkey, but the only place with my "Thanksgiving NOT Turkey Day" feelings were at a site whose humor is often found shared on Facebook, https://www.someecards.com.  They had not one, but two I want to share:

and
















That last one really has my back up.  People working in retail deserve the day to be with their families if they wish.  Sure police, fire departments, hospitals, and the military may be needed, rotating work schedules, but surely sales can wait or be handled without making people go to work for a dubious sale of expensive items.

In all fairness I waited a bit late (being in a show tends to do that to me) to ask permission from the folks at Someecards.  They've never gone after people sharing their humor on Facebook, so I hope their understanding includes my posting those two illustrations.  Their "About" page says:
Someecards launched in 2006 as a uniquely voiced ecard site, and has grown into one of the most widely shared and trusted humor brands on the Web. Every day our team of writers creates new ecards, articles, and original content, resulting in over 500MM monthly views on our site and in social media. We also make some of the Web's most engaging and successful branded advertising programs, which you can learn more about here. Thanks for reading this entire paragraph!
Also on their website they have products to sell their cards, wine, coasters, calendars (to see their satire regularly), and Mad Libs.  That last part especially appeals to me as I sometimes use that style of audience participation and especially appreciated this.  Yes, I can understand the need to explain the parts of speech when working with children, but with adults?!?

Well this is turning into a bit of an ad for Someecards and it's time to get to a bit of storytelling.

In December my "Hired Girl" persona lets me bring Victorian Christmas traditions and stories.  One of my favorites is Lucretia Peabody Hale's series of Noodlehead types of stories about a family, the Peterkins, and their Christmas tree.  I'll say more about Ms. Hale and the Peterkins when I give that story.  (Next week?  We'll see -- the often used parental reply.)  I will point out that she was the daughter of Nathan Hale, Senior, who was a journalist and a nephew of the Revolutionary War hero hung as a spy and given in a story here back in 2017.  Before giving a Peterkin story that fits the coming holiday, yet isn't their Christmas tree tale, I went looking to learn more about the origin of the U.S. making Thanksgiving a national holiday.  Along the way I bumped into yet another Hale, Sara Josepha Hale, best known as the author of the nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" -- please note it was not a turkey.  She married into the Hale name and I've no doubt there's a distant link with a Nathan Hale somewhere in the family of David Hale, her husband.  However it happened, she wrote to five presidents trying to make it a national holiday.  Finally President Lincoln agreed, seeing it as a unifying time after the stress of the American Civil War.  May we all find a way to reestablish any family unity on Thanksgiving.

Today's story certainly includes a unified family, however silly they may be.  While reviewing that Peterkins tale I mentioned, I found today's story.  It isn't specifically about Thanksgiving, although when their stories were published in the late 1860s and through the mid-1880s the national holiday did exist.

The Peterkins are well described in that Wikipedia article as:
 The Peterkins were a large family who were extremely intelligent, but didn't have a lick of common sense among them. Whenever they were confronted with a problem that had a simple solution and a complex one, they unerringly went for the complex one--the simple one never occurred to them. They were usually rescued by their neighbor, the Lady from Philadelphia, known for her wisdom; which usually amounted to the plain, commonsense solution that had been staring them in the face and which any normal person would have seized on immediately.
With that in mind only one further comment may be needed.  Only if you live in a large old home or work somewhere with a "dumb-waiter" will you probably understand the term for the term for a small freight elevator meant to carry objects between floors and, in a home, usually going to the kitchen or dining room.  (For more than you probably want to know, but with photos, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dumbwaiter.)
May your own patience be rewarded with many stories and may you have a happy Thanksgiving.
**********************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



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

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

This and that

This is what I have to remind myself
This week started out fooling our local weather forecasters as it looked like we would get an early, but relatively light blast of three inches.  Nope, try three times that!

My boy snoozing on his snow throne (yes, he has a den & is also welcome in & out of the house)
For lovers of this weather like my dog it's fine, but living high atop a "bunny slope" of a hill we finally got this week's mail on Thursday.  Monday was Veteran's Day so there was no mail, but the little that made it through today made me wonder what happened to that "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"?

Wikipedia assures us  it's not the official creed of the U.S.Post Office.  For even more information, an article at Mental Floss goes into more than just the basics of how an observation by Herodotus became mixed up with our own expectations.  Watching a mail vehicle backing down my neighbor's hill after only getting half way up, it's definitely not reasonable to expect it.


For my own part I'm so relieved it came this week and not last week when we had the opening week of Clarkston Village Players' production of "The Great Gatsby."  We had a Benefit performance, plus the regularly scheduled evening performances on Friday and Saturday, plus a matinee.  All in all we'll do a dozen performances, (Good Lord Willing and the Snow Don't Rise).  Performances run until the final week of this month and we'd hate to have to miss any.

Woolly Bear Caterpillar. Photo by SillyPuttyEnemies/Wikimedia Commons.
We're more than a month away from the official start of winter, so I hope this doesn't mean it's the start of a long, hard winter.  I remember seeing a Wooly Bear Caterpillar that had a long brown stretch between its two black ends.  Wondering what, if anything, it may have predicted about the yet-to-come season, I went to "The Old Farmer's Almanac" online site for the definitive word on "Woolly Bear Caterpillars and Weather Prediction; Do Woolly Worms Really Predict Winter Weather?"

For What It's Worth, my Wooly Bear had a much longer brown area than the one in the Wikimedia photo.  I found the conclusion about what that said interesting.

Finally today I was able to get out with my dog for an overdue hour-long walk. 

Flint Public Library's classic book, Ring A Ring O'Roses has something warmer for those around young children.

Walking in the Snow

Let's go walking in the snow; Walk.
Walking, walking, on tiptoe. Tiptoe.
Lift your one foot way up high, Hop on one foot.
Then the other to keep it dry. Hop on the other foot.
All around the yard we skip; Skip.
Watch your step, or you might slip. Pretend to fall.

We definitely didn't skip through the woods and around the river walk at Independence Oaks Park, but we did hurry as the daylight rapidly faded.  We left the park one minute after its official closing time of six p.m.  Truly we were "the last dog home" and thanked the park employee who waited that extra minute in the below freezing "autumn" cold.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Stories and more about the Wind - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

It's commonly said "Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does a thing about it."  There's been plenty to talk about as the weather seems to have rushed the end of autumn and the start of winter.  Winds bringing colder than normal weather began even before Halloween and it promises to stay until at least November 20 and possibly to Thanksgiving.  They're even mentioning the "S" word to accumulate!  Summer is NOT the word anymore.

Thinking about this started me looking for stories about . . .

The WIND! 

Our winter weather comes down out of Canada, so it seems reasonable that today's story should come from there.  The tale comes from southern British Columbia's Thompson River people (as they were called at the time the story was recorded by the American Folklore Society in 1898) now called the Nlaka'pamux. The simplest form -- and most re-tellable form -- of it comes in Caroline Cunningham's The Talking Stone.
Like I said it's re-tellable and we all probably are wishing the Wind was so easily controlled.  (Well maybe not people wanting wind turbines to produce power.)

A later book by the same title was edited and the story retold by Dorothy deWit.  She called her story "The-Boy-Who-Snared-the-Wind and the Shaman's Daughter."  Her book is still in copyright, but she gave her source as "Traditions of the Thompson River Indians" in the Memoirs of the American Folklore Society, 1898.  Of course this made me want to see the original.  I'll give it here, but maybe you don't care to follow that academic route and just wanted an enjoyable tale of the wind.  If so, you may enjoy this bit of nursery verse:
(Found in various editions of My Book House, vol. 1 edited by Olive Beaupre Miller)

***
Now for those wanting the "rest of the story", it includes that mythic folk hero, Coyote, and a bit of explanation about an unusual word, the stsuq, follows after it.
  
***
If you're like me, you probably wondered "What the heck is a stsuq?" This is answered at the back of the book in the Notes section.

The Coyote version I just gave is considerably different from the version deWitt admits she retold.  To justify her version she cites yet another story which she blended with it.  Unfortunately copyright prevents me from giving it here.  Go to a library to borrow a copy if you're that curious.  Personally, knowing what a trickster Coyote traditionally is, I'm sure he would be amused.
Image by ArtTower from Pixabay
**********************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



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

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

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Fillmore - The Devil's Little Brother-in-Law - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This past week has been frustrating, with computer problems that seem to keep multiplying.  http://www.quotesvalley.com has a section of quotes on computers/ and here are two of the most appropriate:

and

with those ideas to guide me I went looking for appropriate stories.  The Shoemaker's Apron: A Second Book of Czechoslovak Fairy Tales and Folk Tales by Parker Fillmore has not one, two, or even three, but four tales about the devil and by going to https://www.gutenberg.org/ , even as my computer slowly tries to return my backed up data, I was able to bring today's story.  (That's the link for the whole book, so you can go there for the other three stories and the other non-devilish tales.)  I'll say a bit more about the book afterwards.  Unfortunately, since I couldn't scan the individual pages of my own book, the story proceeds without breaks making it a bit unwieldy.

One quick warning, the old Czechoslovakian belief has all devils appear black.  Politically correct?  No.  As someone telling the story today I might say blackened.  I notice, however, the Devil himself, as opposed to his lesser apprentice devils, is able to appear normal and then reveal his true blackened appearance.  The blackened coloring of the young man who goes to work for the Devil is easily explained within the story from his long seven years working in Hell.  It's similar to the appearance and fate of the main character in the Brothers Grimm's "Bear Skinner" and the Russian tale of "Never-Wash" I posted this summer.

THE DEVIL'S LITTLE BROTHER-IN-LAW

THE STORY OF A YOUTH WHO COULDN'T FIND WORK

devil and brother-in-law



THE DEVIL'S LITTLE BROTHER-IN-LAW

Once upon a time there was a youth named Peter. He was the son of a rich farmer but on his father's death his stepmother robbed him of his inheritance and drove him out into the world, penniless and destitute.
"Begone with you now!" she shouted. "Never let me see your face again!"
"Where shall I go?" Peter asked.
"Go to the Devil, for all I care!" the stepmother cried and slammed the door in his face.
Peter felt very sad at being driven away from the farm that had always been his home, but he was an able-bodied lad, industrious and energetic, and he thought he would have no trouble making his way in the world.
He tramped to the next village and stopped at a big farmhouse. The farmer was standing at the door, eating a great hunk of buttered bread.
Peter touched his hat respectfully and said:
"Let every one praise Lord Jesus!"
With his mouth stuffed full, the farmer responded:
"Until the Day of Judgment!" Then in a different tone he demanded: "What do you want?"
"I'm looking for work," Peter said. "Do you need a laborer?"
Peter was well dressed for he had on the last clothes his kind father had given him. The farmer looked him over and sneered.
"A fine laborer you would make! You would do good work at meals—I see that, and spend the rest of your time at cards and teasing the maids! I know your kind!"
Peter tried to tell the farmer that he was industrious and steady but with an oath the farmer told him to go to the Devil. Then stepping inside the house he slammed the door in Peter's face.
In the next village he applied for work at the bailiff's house. The bailiff's wife answered his knock.
"The master is playing cards with two of his friends," she said. "I'll go in and ask him if he has anything for you to do."
Peter heard her speak to some one inside and then a rough voice bellowed out:
"No! How often have I told you not to interrupt me when I'm busy! Tell the fellow to go to the Devil!"
Without waiting for the bailiff's wife, Peter turned away. Tired and discouraged he took a path into the woods and sat down.
"There doesn't seem to be any place for me in all the world," he thought to himself. "They all tell me to go to the Devil—my stepmother, the farmer, and now the bailiff. If I knew the way to hell I think I'd take their advice. I'm sure the Devil would treat me better than they do!"
Just then a handsome gentleman, dressed in green, walked by. Peter touched his hat politely and said:
"Let every one praise Lord Jesus."
The man passed him without responding. Then he looked back and asked Peter why he looked so discouraged.
"I have reason to look discouraged," Peter said. "Everywhere I ask for work they tell me to go to the Devil. If I knew the way to hell I think I'd take their advice and go."
The stranger smiled.
"But if you saw the Devil, don't you think you'd be afraid of him?"
Peter shook his head.
"He can't be any worse than my stepmother, or the farmer, or the bailiff."
The man suddenly turned black.
"Look at me!" he cried. "Here I am, the very person we've been talking about!"
With no show of fear Peter looked the Devil up and down.
Then the Devil said that if Peter still wished to enter his service, he would take him. The work would be light, the Devil said, and the hours good, and if Peter did as he was told he would have a pleasant time. The Devil promised to keep him seven years and at the end of that time to make him a handsome present and set him free.
Peter shook hands on the bargain and the Devil, taking him about the waist, whisked him up into the air, and, pst! before Peter knew what was happening, they were in hell.
The Devil gave Peter a leather apron and led him into a room where there were three big cauldrons.
"Now it's your duty," the Devil said, "to keep the fires under these cauldrons always burning. Keep four logs under the first cauldron, eight logs under the second, and twelve under the third. Be careful never to let the fires go out. And another thing, Peter: you're never to peep inside the cauldrons. If you do I'll drive you away without a cent of wages. Don't forget!"
So Peter began working for the Devil and the treatment he received was so much better than that which he had had on earth that, sometimes, it seemed to him he was in heaven rather than hell. He had plenty of good food and drink and, as the Devil had promised him, the work was not heavy.
For companions he had the young apprentice devils, a merry black crew, who told droll stories and played amusing pranks.
Time passed quickly. Peter was faithful at his work and never once peeped under the lids of his three cauldrons.
At last he began to grow homesick for the world and one day he asked the Devil how much longer he had still to serve.
"Tomorrow," the Devil told him, "your seven years are up."
The next day while Peter was piling fresh logs under the cauldrons, the Devil came to him and said:
"Today, Peter, you are free. You have served me faithfully and well and I am going to reward you handsomely. Money would be too heavy for you to carry, so I am going to give you this bag which is a magic bag. Whenever you open it and say: 'Bag, I need some ducats,' the bag will always have just as many as you need. Good luck go with you, Peter. However, I don't believe you'll have a very good time at first for people will think you're a devil. You know you do look pretty black for you haven't washed for seven years and you haven't cut your hair or nails."
"That's true," said Peter. "I just remember I haven't washed ever since I've been down here. I certainly must take a bath and get my hair cut and my nails trimmed."
The Devil shook his head.
"No, Peter, one bath won't do it. Water won't wash off the kind of black you get down here. I know what you must do but I won't tell you just yet. Go up into the world as you are and, if ever you need me, call me. If the people up there ask you who you are, tell them you're the Devil's little brother-in-law. This isn't a joke. It's true as you'll find out some day."
Peter then took leave of all the little black apprentices and the Devil, lifting him on his back, whisked him up to earth and set him down in the forest on exactly the same spot where they had met seven years before.
The Devil disappeared and Peter, stuffing the magic bag in his pocket, walked to the nearest village.
His appearance created a panic. On sight of him the children ran screaming home, crying out:
"The Devil! The Devil is coming!"
Mothers and fathers ran out of the houses to see what was the matter but on sight of Peter they ran in again, barred all the doors and windows, and making the sign of the cross prayed God Almighty to protect them.
Peter went on to the tavern. The landlord and his wife were standing in the doorway. As Peter came toward them, they cried out in fright:
"O Lord, forgive us our sins! The Devil is coming!"
They tried to run away but they tripped over each other and fell down, and before they could scramble to their feet Peter stood before them.
He looked at them for a moment and laughed. Then he went inside the tavern, sat down, and said:
"Landlord, bring me a drink!"
Quaking with fright the landlord went to the cellar and drew a pitcher of beer. Then he called the little herd who was working in the stable.
"Yirik," he said to the boy, "take this beer into the house. There's a man in there waiting for it. He's a little strange looking but you needn't be afraid. He won't hurt you."
Yirik took the pitcher of beer and started in. He opened the door and then, as he caught sight of Peter, he dropped the pitcher and fled.
The landlord scolded him angrily.
"What do you mean," he shouted, "not giving the gentleman his beer? And breaking the pitcher, too! The price of it will be deducted from your wages! Draw another pitcher of beer and place it at once before the gentleman."
Yirik feared Peter but he feared the landlord more. He was an orphan, poor lad, and served the landlord for his keep and three dollars a year.
So with trembling fingers he drew a pitcher of beer and then, breathing a prayer to his patron saint, he slowly dragged himself into the tavern.
"There, there, boy," Peter called out kindly. "You needn't be afraid. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not the Devil. I'm only his little brother-in-law."
Yirik took heart and placed the beer in front of Peter. Then he stood still, not daring to raise his eyes.
Peter began asking him about himself, who he was, how he came to be working for the landlord, and what kind of treatment he was receiving. Yirik stammered out his story and as he talked he forgot his fear, he forgot that Peter looked like a devil, and presently he was talking to him freely as one friend to another.
Peter was touched by the orphan's story and, pulling out his magic money bag, he filled Yirik's cap with golden ducats. The boy danced about the room with delight. Then he ran outside and showed the landlord and the people who had gathered the present which the strange gentleman had made him.
"And he says he's not the Devil," Yirik reported, "but only his brother-in-law."
When the landlord heard that Peter really hadn't any horns or a flaming tongue, he picked up courage and going inside he begged Peter to give him, too, a few golden ducats. But Peter only laughed at him.
Peter stayed at the tavern overnight. Just as he fell asleep some one shook his hand and, as he opened his eyes, he saw his old master standing beside him.
"Quick!" the Devil whispered. "Get up and hurry out to the shed! The landlord is about to murder the orphan for his money."
Peter jumped out of bed and ran outside to the shed where Yirik slept. He burst open the door just as the landlord was ready to stab the sleeping boy with a dagger.
"You sinner!" Peter cried. "I've caught you at last! Off to hell you go with me this instant to stew forever in boiling oil!"
The landlord fainted with terror. Peter dragged him senseless into the house. When he came to himself he fell on his knees before Peter and begged for mercy. He offered Peter everything he possessed if only Peter would grant him another chance and he solemnly vowed that he would repent and give up his evil ways.
At last Peter said:
"Very well. I'll give you another chance provided that, from this time on, you treat Yirik as your son. Be kind to him and send him to school. The moment you forget your promise and treat him cruelly, I'll come and carry you off to hell! Remember!"
There was no need to urge the landlord to remember. From that night he was a changed man. He became honest in all his dealings and he really did treat Yirik as though he were his own son.
Peter stayed on at the tavern and stories about him and his golden ducats began to spread through the country-side. The prince of the land heard of him and sent word that he would like to see him at the castle. Peter answered the prince's messenger that if the prince wished to see him he could come to the tavern.
"Who is this prince of yours," Peter asked the landlord, "and why does he want to see me?"
"He'd probably like to borrow some money from you," the landlord said. "He's deep in debt for he has two of the wickedest, most extravagant daughters in the world. They're the children of his first marriage. They are proud and haughty and they waste the money of the realm as though it were so much sand. The people are crying out against them and their wasteful ways but the prince seems unable to curb them. The prince has a third daughter, the child of his second wife. Her name is Angelina and she certainly is as good and beautiful as an angel. We call her the Princess Linka. There isn't a man in the country that wouldn't go through fire and water for her—God bless her! As for the other two—may the Devil take them!"
Suddenly remembering himself, the landlord clapped his hand to his mouth in alarm.
Peter laughed good-humoredly.
"That's all right, landlord. Don't mind me. As I've told you before I'm not the Devil. I'm only his little brother-in-law."
The landlord shook his head.
"Yes, I know, but I must say it seems much the same to me."
One afternoon the prince came riding down to the tavern and asked for Peter. He was horrified at first by Peter's appearance, but he treated him most politely, invited him to the castle, and ended by begging the loan of a large sum of money.
Peter said to the prince:
"I'll give you as much money as you want provided you let me marry one of your daughters."
The prince wasn't prepared for this but he needed money so badly that he said:
"H'm, which one of them?"
"I'm not particular," Peter answered. "Any of them will do."
When he gave the prince some money in advance, the prince agreed and Peter promised to come to the castle the next day to meet his bride to be.
The prince when he got home told his daughters that he had seen Peter. They questioned him about Peter's appearance and asked him what sort of a looking person this brother-in-law of the Devil was.
"He isn't so very ugly," the prince said, "really he isn't. If he washed his face and trimmed his hair and nails he'd be fairly good-looking. In fact I rather like him."
He then talked to them very seriously about the state of the treasury and he told them that unless he could raise a large sum of money shortly there was danger of an uprising among the people.
"If you, my daughters, wish to see the peace of the country preserved, if you want to make me happy in my old age, one of you will have to marry this young man, for I see no other way to raise the money."
At this the two older princesses tossed their heads scornfully and laughed loud and long.
"You may rest assured, dear father, that neither of us will marry such a creature! We are the daughters of a prince and won't marry beneath us, no, not even to save the country from ruin!"
"Then I don't know what I'll do," the prince said.
"Father," whispered Linka, the youngest. Her voice quavered and her face turned pale. "Father, if your happiness and the peace of the country depend on this marriage, I will sacrifice myself, God help me!"
"My child! My dear child!" the prince cried, taking Linka in his arms and kissing her tenderly.
The two elder sisters jeered and ha-ha-ed.
"Little sister-in-law of the Devil!" they said mockingly. "Now if you were to marry Prince Lucifer himself that would be something, for at least you would be a princess! But only to be his sister-in-law—ha! ha!—what does that amount to?"
And they laughed with amusement and made nasty evil jokes until poor little Linka had to put her hands to her ears not to hear them.
The next day Peter came to the castle. The older sisters when they saw how black he was were glad enough they had refused to marry him. As for Linka, the moment she looked at him she fainted dead away.
When she revived the prince led her over to Peter and gave Peter her hand. She was trembling violently and her hand was cold as marble.
"Don't be afraid, little princess," Peter whispered to her gently. "I know how awful I look. But perhaps I won't always be so ugly. I promise you, if you marry me, I shall always love you dearly."
Linka was greatly comforted by the sound of his pleasant voice, but each time she looked at him she was terrified anew.
Peter saw this and made his visit short. He handed out to the prince as much money as he needed and then, after agreeing to return in eight days for the wedding, he hurried off.
He went to the place where he had met the Devil the first time and called him by name with all his might.
The Devil instantly appeared.
"What do you want, little brother-in-law?"
"I want to look like myself again," Peter said. "What good will it do me to marry a sweet little princess and then have the poor girl faint away every time she looks at me!"
"Very well, brother-in-law. If that is how you feel about it, come along with me and I'll soon make you into a handsome young man."
Peter leaped on the Devil's back and off they flew over mountains and forests and distant countries.
They alighted in a deep forest beside a bubbling spring.
"Now, little brother-in-law," the Devil said, "wash in this water and see how handsome you'll soon be."
Peter threw off his clothes and jumped into the water and when he came out his skin was as beautiful and fresh as a girl's. He looked at his own reflection in the spring and it made him so happy that he said to the Devil:
"Brother-in-law, I'm more grateful to you for this than for all the money you've given me. Now my dear Linka will love me!"
He put his arms about the Devil's neck and off they flew once again. This time they went to a big city where Peter bought beautiful clothes and jewels and coaches and horses. He engaged servants in fine livery and, when he was ready to go to his bride, he had a following that was worthy of any prince.
At the castle the Princess Linka paced her chamber pale and trembling. The two older sisters were with her, laughing heartlessly and making evil jokes, and running every moment to the window to see if the groom were coming.
At last they saw in the distance a long line of shining coaches with outriders in rich livery. The coaches drew up at the castle gate and from the first one a handsome youth, arrayed like a prince, alighted. He hurried into the castle and ran straight upstairs to Linka's chamber.
At first Linka was afraid to look at him for she supposed he was still black. But when he took her hand and whispered: "Dear Linka, look at me now and you won't be frightened," she looked and it seemed to her that Peter was the very handsomest young man in all the world. She fell in love with him on sight and I might as well tell you she's been in love with him ever since.
The two older sisters stood at the window frozen stiff with envy and surprise. Suddenly they felt some one clutch them from behind. They turned in fright and who did they see standing there but the Devil himself!
"Don't be afraid, my dear brides," he said. "I'm not a common fellow. I'm Prince Lucifer himself. So, in becoming my brides you are not losing rank!"
Then he turned to Peter and chuckled.
"You see now, Peter, why you are my brother-in-law. You're marrying one sister and I'm taking the other two!"
With that he picked up the two wicked sisters under his arm and puff! with a whiff of sulphur they all three disappeared through the ceiling.
The Princess Linka as she clung to her young husband asked a little fearfully:
"Peter, do you suppose we'll have to see our brother-in-law often?"
"Not if you make me a good wife," Peter said.
And you can understand what a good wife Linka became when I tell you that never again all her life long did she see the Devil.
***********
Yes, the youngest daughter and her two wicked sisters is a familiar traditional touch in this tale that could be said to end justly for the wicked and "happily ever after for Peter and Linka."

This story only opens with a picture from Jan Matulka, but his work in this book and in the earlier Czechoslovak Fairy Tales by Parker Fillmore is worth seeing.  That link is from Wikipedia, but a search under his name will show he has much more to be found.

As for the book itself, Fillmore explains:
The stories in this volume are all of Czech, Moravian, and Slovak origin, and are to be found in many versions in the books of folk tales collected by Erben, Nemcova, Kulda, Dobsinsky, Rimavsky, Benes-Trebizsky, Miksicek. I got them first by word of mouth and afterwards hunted them out in the old books. My work has been that of retelling rather than translating since in most cases I have put myself in the place of a storyteller who knows several forms of the same story, equally authentic, and from them all fashions a version of his own. It is of course always the same story although told in one form to a group of children and in another form to a group of soldiers. The audience that I hope particularly to interest is the English-speaking child.
I also like Fillmore's concluding comment of "Besides its fairy tales and folk tales the present volume contains a cluster of charming little nursery tales and a group of rollicking devil tales."

Rollicking indeed.  The closest I've found are two highly enjoyable books by Natalie Babbitt, The Devil's Storybook and The Devil's Other Storybook, which now can also be found in a combined volume.  Don't let the subtitle calling them "delightfully wicked stories" keep you away.

Well I may have had to work around my computer problems for today's story, but it all started by going to Fillmore's (and Babbitt's) books.
*************************
This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  



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

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