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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Story Starters Continued

Last week I gave a peek at Story Starters, promising more today.  Even religious literature has a tradition that sparks story creation.  Midrash is a term starting with Jewish stories explaining something left unsaid in a Biblical tale.  Some enjoyable modern versions are by Rabbi Marc Gellman in
and his other  book. 
















If those books don't get you realizing how many questions about familiar stories you might use, consider the start of this poem by Howard Thurman.

The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins . . .

If you want the rest of the poem, click the title as it's in many places on the internet and deserves reading, BUT the story it starts for me is those Wise Men, who are possibly rulers, returning to their lands.  What will it be like to try and regain their old positions?  (I doubt the shepherds found life with their flocks different, although Jay T. Stocking, in a 1937 book possibly still in copyright, has the story of "The Shepherd Who Did Not Go" in his book, Stocking Tales.  It's a lovely story of a boy who stayed behind to guard the sheep and had quite an adventure which even let him hold the Baby the others went to see.)

Whether it's the Bible, Shakespeare, or some other well-known story, look at characters who are possibly not the main focus or what happened to them after the well-known story ends.  A cartoon (again copyrighted and no permission given to reprint here) showed a princess and a frog skipping together along with a "prescription side effects warning" for Frog Kissing.  Hmmmmm.  Think of the old claim of warts coming from holding frogs.  What about Rapunzel's mother and her love of rapunzel (some versions call the plant rampion) next door in the witch's garden?  Similarly might a shampoo or other hair product carry a warning about letting your hair grow too long?  Sleeping Beauty's parents certainly should have checked the census records or at least etiquette books before holding their baby shower.  You get the idea.

All this came from my mind meandering after breaking my wrist.  It's not horribly far-fetched like when I have workshop attendees look at a simple incident and stretch it further and further in a tall tale such as items grown in the garden of a musician which might start out normally enough, but produce instruments and other musical fruit.

While waiting to see my own doctor, after the urgent care x-rays showed a broken wrist and put on a horrible splint, I went online tapping out in a sinister manner.  (Sinister originally meant left-handed.)  Tried to find suggestions for one-handed life since I expected 6-8 weeks of this.  Fortunately my doctor thinks 4-6 weeks!  Along the way I found a story starter worthy of a novel.  A stay-at-home mom had both wrists in casts along with two-year-old twins not yet toilet trained.  It sounded as if her husband was unable to take time off from work.  Did either his or her mother come to help, and, if so, how did that go?  Were they able to find a local helper?  Did she divorce him for his lack of support?  Oh the possibilities are endless, including a murder plot!

So it's time for me to stop and let you start.  Happy story starting!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Story Starters

Thank heavens for computer keyboards.  With a little bit of persistence I can tap out messages even with a cast on my dominant hand.  How did that happen everybody asks.  Years ago I chopped off the tip of my other hand -- the same hand which had earlier been in a cast for a broken wrist.  Fortunately there was just enough to reattach the thumb tip, but again everybody asked "How did that happen?"  Friends suggested all manner of answers.  This time my Ob/Gyn doctor gave a doozie of a story.

Dr. Zaidan said I should say I was at Target when a terrorist tried to take over.  I sized up the situation and did a Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible-style somersault, ending in a kick to the terrorist, knocking him senseless and tossing the gun out of his hand.  Police arrived and were stunned to learn I'd ended the hostage situation and only had a broken wrist for damages.  Thank you, Dr. Z!

I'd been saying I did a Triple Klutz . . . which I could have expanded into a late in life attempt to join the U.S. Olympic skating team.  Yeahrightsure.

What really happened was fairly boring.  Missed the step coming down off a ladder and had a limited space to land.

What really worried me was what would I do if I am still in a cast when my next Liberetta Lerich Green program is scheduled?  Liberetta grew up on an Underground Railroad Station here in Michigan (as well as having brothers in the Fighting Fifth Infantry during the Civil War), so February is often a month when I tell about the Underground Railroad from the stationmaster's point of view.  Asked my doctor what casts looked like 100 years ago since that's usually the timeframe in which I present her.  By that time she was the widow of Addison Green, who raised horses.  It would be easy to make a papier mache "cast" to fit over my more modern cast and say I was kicked by a horse.  Did it happen?  Not that I know, but it is true to her life and lets me get back to telling history as she viewed it.

All this got me thinking about the times when I offer workshops on story creation.  I'm not a big fan of personal stories.  I prefer either historical material or traditional folklore that has stood the test of time.  Is that all I tell?  Dunberidiculous!  I love to say I tell lies for fun and profit.  Part of that includes Tall Tales.  It's great to take a story and start out believably, gradually stretching it into wilder and wilder extremes.  Dr. Z. is a natural. 

Story starters are how I like to get a workshop thinking in stories.  Right now I'm exhausted trying to type all of this, so I'll use a favorite technique of storytellers . . . Suspense!  For some story starting ideas for you without even attending a workshop, look next week as I have a few that should really get you telling.

While prowling images of Tom Cruise I found a great image of him in Total Recall where his picture is dissolving.  The picture is copy protected, but what was really great and leads into next week is the question it asked . . .

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Parker - How the Sun Was Made - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This week most of North America has been encased in the iciest cold.  I'm just contrarian enough that I want to read stories from the Southern Hemisphere where heat is the topic instead.  My storytelling friends in Australia certainly qualify.  Years ago I spent a year researching the stories of the land they call Oz. Here in Michigan the following year it was the Summer Reading Program theme and I needed 8 programs for my own library's series.  There was more than enough to tell!  My storytelling and fascination with Oz has continued.

Along the way I found K. Langloh Parker's book, Australian Legendary Tales, and rejected her stories.  Why?  The Wikipedia article on her is the typical Wikipedia brief summary, but it also points out the problem with her work publishing aboriginal stories:

As their culture (aboriginal - LSK) was in decline, because of pressure by European settlers, her testimony is one of the best accounts we have of the beliefs and stories of the Aboriginal people of North-West New South Wales at that time. However, her accounts reflect European prejudices of the time, and so to modern ears her accounts contain a number of misconceptions and racist comments.

Because of this and also because of the complex aboriginal beliefs and background so foreign to my own background, I mainly told Aussie stories outside the aboriginal culture.  However a program series looking at Oz wanted more than just stories written by the European settlers and their descendants.  For aboriginal stories I used only books written by aboriginal authors.  There are several, but I especially recommend Sally Morgan and her book, The Flying Emu and Other Australian Stories.  She is definitely a teacher with stories of value beyond a mere glimpse of aboriginal culture and generously agreed to let me use those stories in oral storytelling.  The topic of aboriginal culture is a deep well, with way more than I can hope to adequately present.  To take a brief "dip" in that well, you might start with this Wikipedia article on the Dreamtime.  

So why am I offering this story by Parker?  I think she is definitely a product of her own culture, but she also is a product of her upbringing and later research into aboriginal stories.  To understand why I say this, you might read this very detailed website on The Life and Times of an Australian Collector (you may want to jump down to her own birth in 1856 [section 12] or to section 21 where her interest in aboriginal culture starts to be covered).  For a "mid-sized" article, the Australian Dictionary of Biography is a quick read and shows Parker's efforts at fairly recording the stories.

Before the story, a few Aussie words might need explaining to readers unfamiliar with them.  When talking about Parker's family "squatting", here in the U.S. it would be "homesteading"; a "station" could be compared to our ranches; within the story a "Goo-goor-gaga" is the Kookaburra bird and the name gives an interesting description of its cry -- along with a caution for using it.  I'm uncertain if the "good spirit" mentioned is Baiame, which she is credited with showing pre-dated European missionaries.  I don't know.  Let the story speak to you and be warmed by it even though it may need a bit of understanding and research about "Katie" Parker Stow.

























































To read other stories collected by Parker, go to the Online Books Page
******************

This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories. 

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    



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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Fillmore - The Twelve Months - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

As we start 2015 "The Twelve Months" is a popular story anthologized frequently, but Parker Fillmore's version deserves to be the standard.  Even he says that the story comes from the collector, Nemcova, and that this "very beautiful" story and another, "Vitazko" -- in the same book, The Shoemaker's Apron; Czechoslovak Folk and Fairy Tales, -- "would be a profanation to 'edit' them."  A bit more about him appears after today's story.  Czech artist, Jan Matulka, did the illustrations.




















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Fillmore's loving retellings of Czech, Moravian, and Slovak tales are available in several anthologies he put together.  He was recognized for going beyond academic translations, retelling as "an accomplished storyteller."
from Baldwin Project site, but also found in  Junior Book of Authors
Fillmore's works online are most easily found through the Online Books page, where the sources are mainly divided between HathiTrust and Project Gutenberg.  Today's book is available at either, so take your choice in reading other stories, including "Vitazko the Victorious: The Story of a Hero Whose Mother Loved a Dragon."  "Vitazko" is not well known and is too long for me to post here, so I do so hope you hunt out this other story even Fillmore felt was told beautifully.  (That and I just love dragon stories!)

While Fillmore's works are well represented online, facts about him are not.  Brittanica's Kids Encyclopedia has an article you can read only after registration for a "free trial" requiring a credit card to learn more.  Their article begins:

(1878–1944). U.S. author Parker Hoysted Fillmore wrote books of folktales and  fairy tales for children drawn from the folklore of Central and Northern Europe.

Other than that, nothing appears, but I have online access to the H.W. Wilson reference series, Junior Book of Authors, however that doesn't give me permission to copy it.  The article by him in the original 1934 Junior Book of Authors tells of his going to the Philippines for 3 years to teach children right after graduating from his hometown University of Cincinnati.  He taught using only English, creating his own stories for instruction, and that led to his continued writing upon his return.  At first this was done while working for the W.H. Fillmore and Company banking firm.  By World War I he was living in a New York city Czech settlement and he became interested in Czech folklore, leading to the start of his various folklore anthologies, including a Finnish friend leading further to his Finnish tales.  His Yugoslavian material came after the JBofA article.  Some of his writing was original, but his folktales have endured as classics.  
**********

This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories. 

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    


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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Ideas & Thoughts Upon a New Year


This version of Tolkien's "The Road Goes Ever On" seems appropriate as 2014 comes to an end and 2015 approaches.
The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.


The Tolkien Gateway, a network and encyclopedia that says anyone can edit it, includes a page with an appropriate look at the walking song, "The Road Goes Ever On" fictionally written in three versions by Bilbo Baggins in the last chapter of The Hobbit as he's finally returning to the Shire; the version I posted here is when Bilbo in The Fellowship of the Ring sets out for Rivendell and later slightly changed by Frodo; and a final version at the end of the trilogy again by Bilbo.  J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit was turned into three movies by Peter Jackson -- as many as the three films he made of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy -- but finally in 2014 even that had to end.  I don't know if the Gateway's future will ever end, but Tolkien lovers have plenty of resources there.  It currently has 11,329 articles, 41,774 pages and 8,711 images.  They are careful about copyright, but don't seem worried about the Tolkien estate suing for copyright infringement, so I trust my giving the version I used here is acceptable and considered Fair Use.

On Facebook a great idea for the coming year is highly adaptable for storytelling or life on the Road That Goes Ever On.


"This January, why not start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen. Then, on New Years Eve, empty it and see what awesome stuff happened that year. Good way to keep things in perspective! ~Krystal~ — with Dorinda White."


That message has been shared by many on Facebook.  It took a bit of prowling to find it apparently originated with Dorinda White and Krystal and was posted on The Pagan Circle page.

As a storyteller I see various storytelling ideas in it.  Put your story ideas there, too.  I'm not too inclined to write stories about my life, but that might change with a jar of "good things that happen" or I might toss in ideas for original stories as I am inclined that way.  Yes, your teachers who required journaling might have been suggesting something roughly the same, but journals and diaries seem to require constant regular input.  This is a bit more sporadic, spontaneous, and doesn't require more than writing just enough to later know what happened.  

Prefer techie methods?  Get an app for notes or use Evernote.  Here's an article to help you find anything in Evernote if it becomes like an overstuffed file drawer.  While you're at it, does your cell phone have a voice recorder for taking notes?  That or a mini-voice activated tape recorder could go with you hiking with your dog or hands free while driving.  

As local storytelling friend and current president of the Detroit Storytelling League, Loretta Vitek, puts on her business cards and email signature, "There is always a story, be a shame not to share it!" She grew up in an Italian storytelling family.  In contrast I sometimes say I became a storyteller because families like that were so different from my own upbringing and I felt "story deprived."  Maybe that's why she is comfortable with personal storytelling and I'm not.  Still I do enjoy story creation, so even if it's not personal happenings, the jar or Evernote deserve to become a new habit for 2015.

Of course I also love the other comment Loretta couples with the previous message: Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou would be crispy and good with sauce."

May 2015 bring you only the best stories!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

My Christmas Wish for You Forever

This is my wish for you.  Christmas is my celebration, but I also grew up in a Jewish neighborhood with a love of Hanukkah.  For either holiday and the beliefs of still others -- Peace Forever.  My Victorian Christmas programs mention Christmas cards started in the 1860s.  Here's a beautiful example from 1900, the year before Queen Victoria died.

by American artist, J.C. Leyendecker.

Those kings or Wise Men traveled because of the prophecy that a Prince of Peace would be born and a most unusual star would guide them to Him.  In our century we could use this more than ever.

By the way, Henry Van Dyke wrote a lovely story of the Fourth Wise Man.  It's too long (50 pages) for me to post in my Keeping the Public in Public Domain, but I recommend it heartily.  The novella, The Story of the Other Wise Man, can be found at Project Gutenberg.  I first heard it told as an entire program by an Indiana storyteller who has gone to tell stories in the hereafter.  I've forgotten his name, but definitely not the story.

Peace forever to you.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Baum - How the First Stockings... - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I had the pleasure of spotting Cindy Who and the Grinch



















Just as Dr. Seuss's Grinch is now THE popular story for Christmas, over the years there's an old traditional tale of Santa Claus that goes beyond "A Visit from St. Nicholas" -- the 1823 poem (complete with author controversy) and the popular 1881 illustration by Thomas Nast.

Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was the best selling children's book of his time (1900 and 1901) and its popularity led to 13 nearly annual Oz creations.  Before those sequels, however, in 1902 he published a very unusual look at The Life and Adventures of Santa ClausIt relates Santa's life, from childhood as a foundling adopted by the wood nymph, Necile, through discovering his role in life that matches what we know, but is developed and done in ways unlike those you may know, and on into old age and how he gained immortality. I had heard about it for several years before I finally found my own copy.  I also love the illustrations done by Mary Cowles Clark (1870-1950).  She's not well-covered by online research, but since she was originally from Syracuse, New York, where Baum once lived, it's believed he met her on visits back to the town and chose her to illustrate the book.  She didn't illustrate many books and this was her best known work, but here's a link to a few of examples of her charming work at a digital exhibit by the Nantucket Art Colony.  

I was surprised to find the first edition contained 20 full color plates.  By the second printing it only had 12 color plates and many black and white illustrations.  My own paperback volume was less costly, with black and white illustrations to open the three "books" of Claus's life, along with charming openings and closings for each chapter, plus a dedication page to Baum's son.  Dover Publications created a version that is now out of print.  My own copy was a book club edition from the New American Library.  Unfortunately my book would fall apart if I scanned it.  Further unfortunately, the online digital publication from Project Gutenberg omits the illustrations.  (P.G. even has audio downloads of the story.)  To see any of those illustrations you will either have to purchase it or borrow it.  That's the bad news.  The good news is that Michael Hague, who does wonderful illustrations of Public Domain children's books, has done his own version while keeping the Baum text.
Another considerably abbreviated version, but with attractive illustrations, is by Janeen R. Adil.  Perhaps you will find that version helpful if you wish to tell the Baum adventures, but I would strongly advise seeing the original text first.  Storytelling literary tales often works best with careful editing, but first be sure you check to see if you are omitting too much.  Speaking of an abbreviated version, I'm told there's a claymation movie version of the story that was a 1985 television special, but haven't seen it.


Baum's text is done in folklore style.  His book creatively explores the connection between toys and gifts at Christmas and how the familiar elements like reindeer, stockings, and the tree became part of the holiday.  Some other year I'd like to post how it says he became called Santa Claus.  It is as close as the book comes to mentioning Saint Nicholas. 

For a taste of  Clark's style, I open "Chapter Eleventh -- How the First Stockings Were Hung by the Chimney" with partial scans of the opening illustration and at the end of the closing picture for the chapter.  (Wish I could flatten the book without hurting it.)  I'm giving the entire chapter as it gives a glimpse of some of those other Christmas elements, but the story actually matching the chapter title begins near the end of the chapter.  I'll mark that spot for you.
How the First Stockings Were Hung by the Chimneys
When you remember that no child, until Santa Claus began his travels, had ever known the pleasure of possessing a toy, you will understand how joy crept into the homes of those who had been favored with a visit from the good man, and how they talked of him day by day in loving tones and were honestly grateful for his kindly deeds. It is true that great warriors and mighty kings and clever scholars of that day were often spoken of by the people; but no one of them was so greatly beloved as Santa Claus, because none other was so unselfish as to devote himself to making others happy. For a generous deed lives longer than a great battle or a king's decree of a scholar's essay, because it spreads and leaves its mark on all nature and endures through many generations.
The bargain made with the Knook Prince changed the plans of Claus for all future time; for, being able to use the reindeer on but one night of each year, he decided to devote all the other days to the manufacture of playthings, and on Christmas Eve to carry them to the children of the world.
But a year's work would, he knew, result in a vast accumulation of toys, so he resolved to build a new sledge that would be larger and stronger and better-fitted for swift travel than the old and clumsy one.
His first act was to visit the Gnome King, with whom he made a bargain to exchange three drums, a trumpet and two dolls for a pair of fine steel runners, curled beautifully at the ends. For the Gnome King had children of his own, who, living in the hollows under the earth, in mines and caverns, needed something to amuse them.
In three days the steel runners were ready, and when Claus brought the playthings to the Gnome King, his Majesty was so greatly pleased with them that he presented Claus with a string of sweet-toned sleigh-bells, in addition to the runners.
"These will please Glossie and Flossie," said Claus, as he jingled the bells and listened to their merry sound. "But I should have two strings of bells, one for each deer."
"Bring me another trumpet and a toy cat," replied the King, "and you shall have a second string of bells like the first."
"It is a bargain!" cried Claus, and he went home again for the toys.
The new sledge was carefully built, the Knooks bringing plenty of strong but thin boards to use in its construction. Claus made a high, rounding dash-board to keep off the snow cast behind by the fleet hoofs of the deer; and he made high sides to the platform so that many toys could be carried, and finally he mounted the sledge upon the slender steel runners made by the Gnome King.
It was certainly a handsome sledge, and big and roomy. Claus painted it in bright colors, although no one was likely to see it during his midnight journeys, and when all was finished he sent for Glossie and Flossie to come and look at it.
The deer admired the sledge, but gravely declared it was too big and heavy for them to draw.
"We might pull it over the snow, to be sure," said Glossie; "but we would not pull it fast enough to enable us to visit the far-away cities and villages and return to the Forest by daybreak."
"Then I must add two more deer to my team," declared Claus, after a moment's thought.
"The Knook Prince allowed you as many as ten. Why not use them all?" asked Flossie. "Then we could speed like the lightning and leap to the highest roofs with ease."
"A team of ten reindeer!" cried Claus, delightedly. "That will be splendid. Please return to the Forest at once and select eight other deer as like yourselves as possible. And you must all eat of the casa plant, to become strong, and of the grawle plant, to become fleet of foot, and of the marbon plant, that you may live long to accompany me on my journeys. Likewise it will be well for you to bathe in the Pool of Nares, which the lovely Queen Zurline declares will render you rarely beautiful. Should you perform these duties faithfully there is no doubt that on next Christmas Eve my ten reindeer will be the most powerful and beautiful steeds the world has ever seen!"
So Glossie and Flossie went to the Forest to choose their mates, and Claus began to consider the question of a harness for them all.
In the end he called upon Peter Knook for assistance, for Peter's heart is as kind as his body is crooked, and he is remarkably shrewd, as well. And Peter agreed to furnish strips of tough leather for the harness.
This leather was cut from the skins of lions that had reached such an advanced age that they died naturally, and on one side was tawny hair while the other side was cured to the softness of velvet by the deft Knooks. When Claus received these strips of leather he sewed them neatly into a harness for the ten reindeer, and it proved strong and serviceable and lasted him for many years.
The harness and sledge were prepared at odd times, for Claus devoted most of his days to the making of toys. These were now much better than the first ones had been, for the immortals often came to his house to watch him work and to offer suggestions. It was Necile's idea to make some of the dolls say "papa" and "mama." It was a thought of the Knooks to put a squeak inside the lambs, so that when a child squeezed them they would say "baa-a-a-a!" And the Fairy Queen advised Claus to put whistles in the birds, so they could be made to sing, and wheels on the horses, so children could draw them around. Many animals perished in the Forest, from one cause or another, and their fur was brought to Claus that he might cover with it the small images of beasts he made for playthings. A merry Ryl suggested that Claus make a donkey with a nodding head, which he did, and afterward found that it amused the little ones immensely. And so the toys grew in beauty and attractiveness every day, until they were the wonder of even the immortals.
When another Christmas Eve drew near there was a monster load of beautiful gifts for the children ready to be loaded upon the big sledge. Claus filled three sacks to the brim, and tucked every corner of the sledge-box full of toys besides.
Then, at twilight, the ten reindeer appeared and Flossie introduced them all to Claus. They were Racer and Pacer, Reckless and Speckless, Fearless and Peerless, and Ready and Steady, who, with Glossie and Flossie, made up the ten who have traversed the world these hundreds of years with their generous master. They were all exceedingly beautiful, with slender limbs, spreading antlers, velvety dark eyes and smooth coats of fawn color spotted with white.
Claus loved them at once, and has loved them ever since, for they are loyal friends and have rendered him priceless service.
The new harness fitted them nicely and soon they were all fastened to the sledge by twos, with Glossie and Flossie in the lead. These wore the strings of sleigh-bells, and were so delighted with the music they made that they kept prancing up and down to make the bells ring.
Claus now seated himself in the sledge, drew a warm robe over his knees and his fur cap over his ears, and cracked his long whip as a signal to start.
Instantly the ten leaped forward and were away like the wind, while jolly Claus laughed gleefully to see them run and shouted a song in his big, hearty voice:
       "With a ho, ho, ho!
       And a ha, ha, ha!
And a ho, ho, ha, ha, hee!
       Now away we go
       O'er the frozen snow,
As merry as we can be!
       There are many joys
       In our load of toys,
As many a child will know;
       We'll scatter them wide
       On our wild night ride
O'er the crisp and sparkling snow!"
(The part of the story about The First Stockings)
Now it was on this same Christmas Eve that little Margot and her brother Dick and her cousins Ned and Sara, who were visiting at Margot's house, came in from making a snow man, with their clothes damp, their mittens dripping and their shoes and stockings wet through and through. They were not scolded, for Margot's mother knew the snow was melting, but they were sent early to bed that their clothes might be hung over chairs to dry. The shoes were placed on the red tiles of the hearth, where the heat from the hot embers would strike them, and the stockings were carefully hung in a row by the chimney, directly over the fireplace. That was the reason Santa Claus noticed them when he came down the chimney that night and all the household were fast asleep. He was in a tremendous hurry and seeing the stockings all belonged to children he quickly stuffed his toys into them and dashed up the chimney again, appearing on the roof so suddenly that the reindeer were astonished at his agility.
"I wish they would all hang up their stockings," he thought, as he drove to the next chimney. "It would save me a lot of time and I could then visit more children before daybreak."
When Margot and Dick and Ned and Sara jumped out of bed next morning and ran downstairs to get their stockings from the fireplace they were filled with delight to find the toys from Santa Claus inside them. In face, I think they found more presents in their stockings than any other children of that city had received, for Santa Claus was in a hurry and did not stop to count the toys.
Of course they told all their little friends about it, and of course every one of them decided to hang his own stockings by the fireplace the next Christmas Eve. Even Bessie Blithesome, who made a visit to that city with her father, the great Lord of Lerd, heard the story from the children and hung her own pretty stockings by the chimney when she returned home at Christmas time.
On his next trip Santa Claus found so many stockings hung up in anticipation of his visit that he could fill them in a jiffy and be away again in half the time required to hunt the children up and place the toys by their bedsides.
The custom grew year after year, and has always been a great help to Santa Claus. And, with so many children to visit, he surely needs all the help we are able to give him.

May your Christmas be merry and the coming New Year be filled with Storytelling (and, yes, Research).
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This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories. 

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    


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