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Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Hodja Still Lives! Part 2

By Yamen Statue of Nasreddin in Schaerbeek

Today it's time to enjoy more stories of the Hodja,  even three videos as told by friend and colleague, Richard Martin.
Last week I mentioned the international storytelling email list, Storytell.  The conversations have been going on there for a long time.  It started back in the last century and was hosted at that time by Texas Woman's University.  We lost that archive when it was dropped rather abruptly by TWU, although some list members stored some of those conversations.  This includes a HUGE storage by Jackie Baldwin on her website.  The compilation that is just about the Hodja fills 23 pages, so I will publish that next year, on the 60th! Annual International Nasreddin Hodja Festival held July 5-10 of each year in Akşehir, Turkey.

Jackie respected the decision by Storytell members to keep anonymity, so it doesn't state who contributed what.  Jackie continued the site until her compilations stopped when her health made her leave her business, Story-Lovers.  Jackie's information can be found still using the Wayback Machine of Archive.org.  It's not easy, but as I explain in my "fine print" at the end of my Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments, you can go to https://archive.org ,  then paste in this link, https://web.archive.org/web/20161022143837/http://www.story-lovers.com/ , which is the snapshot made on October 22, 2016.  Once there, scroll down and click on SOS: Searching Out Stories.  Once there you can scroll down through the many story topics, including the Hodja if you just can't wait,  and click on the story topic that interests you. 

In the meantime the Hodja continues to interest storytellers on Storytell and today I want to take the discussions that came after Story-Lovers ended.  I checked for permission to publish here with those who posted (if alive...you'll see what I mean further down).  Of course, each storyteller's version is just a quick retelling of the story and not the full story as they would tell it.  I know mine, which I gave in part 1 of this series, certainly were condensed.  As storytellers we have all fallen under the spell of the Hodja and, like the story given below about him smuggling donkeys or the one where he, too, is taken in by a rumor he started, we couldn't trace them back to their source if we tried.  We merely spread the fun.

For those of us who love the Hodja and want to access as many stories as possible, next week I will publish a bibliography of Hodja books as well as a way to access even more stories, links about the Hodja, and educational material from yet another site now only found via that Wayback Machine.  Erol Beyman's site was listed on the website of yet another friend and colleague, Tim Sheppard's Story Links (part of an even larger site of his, take a look from his Home page), which also appears in the "fine print" at the end of my Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments.  Tim's site is so large, there's no way to keep it as updated as he might like.  He assures me, however, that Erol would be delighted to keep alive the Hodja information so it continues to be used.

In the meantime, here are the storytellers who contributed their love of the Hodja.  Wherever they have a current website for their storytelling, it's hotlinked after their name.  To clarify my own comments from their own contributions to the list, I use this type font and a different one for what was published on the list.  I've done what I can to format their emails to fit this blog's template.
WENDY GOURLEY - http://www.wendygourley.com/storytelling/ 
Re: [storytell] Stories about working together / building community
There's an old Hodja story about a Queen whose prime minister dies. 
Her power relies on two chiefs who each command a great army. Each 
chief has a son they would like to be called as the next prime 
minister. One is a brilliant scholar and the other a mighty soldier.
If she chooses one over the other, she could lose the loyalty of 
one of the chiefs.  
She calls on Hodja to solve the problem. He tells her to let the 
scholar run the parliament and laws and the soldier run the 
military. She tells them they have been pitted against each other
all their lives and would never work together. He then sends them 
both up a dangerous mountain to see who can return first, but he 
gives one son all the food, the other the fuel. He gives one the 
tent and the other the blankets.  They have to work together to 
survive.
    
They get back, but are still arguing. The Queen is not pleased and 
threatens to cut off Hodja's head (as she does to all who displease
her.) Hodja then solves the problem by proclaiming the soldier as 
the prime minister over the laws and the scholar as prime minister 
over the military. They argue that they do not know how to run those
things and Hodja tells them they must learn to work together or risk 
losing their heads. They submit.
  
The queen is happy and everyone keeps their heads - including the 
Hodja! 
***
BOB KANEGIS - https://www.ghostranch.org/instructors/bob-kanegis/
Subject: Re: [storytell] Storytelling to teach factual information 
Re: the essence of Story   
Combining two threads- fact based storytelling and a recent call 
for Nasruddin stories.

A neighbor of Nasruddin knocks on his door and asks to borrow the 
Naz's donkey. Naz really doesn't want to lend it out so he replies 
that, unfortunately, another neighbor came by earlier to borrow the 
donkey. At that very moment, the donkey brays loudly from the stable. 
"Nasruddin, I thought you said our friend borrowed your donkey."

Nasruddin replies. "Who are you going to believe, me or a donkey?"

I'll be telling that story tomorrow at a house concert as part of a
longer story (and not so subtle allusion to fake news. and how 
storytellers above all others must hold truth sacred!) about how 
storytelling once saved my life.
 
In discussing Cultural Appropriation - 
There's a great Nasruddin story. He invites a friend over and serves
a hearty soup. There are some leftovers. The next day, a stranger 
arrives, a friend of the friend. Want's some soup. And so it goes 
for day after day. Friend of a friend of a friend. Eventually he is 
serving water. soup of the the soup of the soup.  
The worst kind of cultural appropriation. without respect, without 
knowledge, without regard is soup of the soup of the soup. From the 
mouth of the teller, in the original cultural context, never written, 
never heard beyond the " village" so to speak is the soup.But since 
the days of Gilgamesh. and the Panchantantra etc. most of the stories 
that have come to us are some form of cultural appropriation. soup of 
the soup. but often still delicious.
 
By the way, when I talked privately in an email with Bob, he also said:
I'm not sure if I posted this. oh. now I remember, it was in a blog.
I asked a Lyft driver with roots in Lebanon about Nasruddin, Hodja. 
He drew a blank, but after some more conversation he knew who I was 
talking about.. Joha!
 
Remember my talking about that last week?
I had a conversation with a Turkish man and his reaction was more a Turkish Everyman in jokes.
LoiS(ticking with more traditional material -- there's certainly plenty of that deserving our attention)
***
RICHARD MARTIN - http://www.tellatale.eu/ 
Richard has those videos I posted at the start. He also took us back in story to two list members who now tell stories in The Great Beyond, Ofra Kipnis and Mark Wilson.
ADDED by Ofra:
in the mediterranean countries we eat seeds. melon seeds, watermelon 
seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.  salted, grilled we crack them 
between the front teeth eat the seed and spit the hulk almost 
compulsively. it took many years of training and now the cinema 
theaters and the inside of the buses are no more carpeted with deep 
layers of seed hulks .
so when Hodja Nassar A din tried to rest one hot day at noon under a 
fig tree and a swarm of street urchins played  noisy games around His 
tree he sent them to the other side of the village :" what are you 
doing here didn't you hear that Mohammed is giving away seeds to 
honour the birth of his first son? ' the kids scattered and Hodja went 
back to sleep but..he could'not sleep the thought of the seeds kept him 
awake. Maybe it is true it is possible , why not ? May be Mohammed is 
married.. maybe a son is born and Hodja ran all the way not to miss
the (maybe last) seeds.
Shalom    ofra

Added by Mark Wilson

I'm sure there are many variants of the tale type. Here's one from the
mining camps of the American West:
An old prospector who never ran in luck died and went to heaven,but 
the place was so crowded he couldn't get in. St.Peter told him to hang 
around awhile and there might be room. After pondering the matter,the 
old fellow called an angel and whispered to him that there had been a 
gold strike down in hell;and at once there was a pell-mell rush of 
angels,and soon heaven was empty. As the horde fled downward,the 
prospector gazed after it hungrily and then turned to Peter. "You 
know,"he said,"mebbe there was some truth in that rumor."

The above collected by B.A.Botkin. I imagine that Nasruddin must also 
have told such a tale,probably other trickster's too...
Best,
Mark

and also Richard posts on his own website this story about the Hodja and a donkey.  Donkeys do seem to get into the tales.  By the way, he attributes that story to Lee-Ellen Marvin posting it long ago on the list.  With her permission, I give it here next.  (Handy that Marvin follows Martin alphabetically.)
***
LEE-ELLEN MARVIN

Ages ago on Storytell she wrote: 
Nasruddin and his Donkey Everyone in the village got "pilgrimage 
fever" and everyone got busy packing up some traveling clothes and 
food for the road.  All except for Nasruddin, who watched them 
labouring away.  Soon, all of the village: the men, women, and 
children, were heading out to Mecca.  They were singing songs and 
shouting with great excitement about how they were off to find God. 
They got about one mile away, when Nasruddin suddenly came riding 
up on his donkey, shouting about some terrible emergency. They 
caught the donkey and made him tell them what the problem was. 
"I'm trying to find my donkey! Where is my donkey?"  "Why, 
Nasruddin, you're sitting on top of your donkey," answered the 
villagers.  
"Oh really. Is that so. And why are you all going on a pilgrimage 
to find God?" 
***  
KIRAN SHAH - www.kiranstoryteller.com
Who reminds us "Okay to put my name as contributor rather than a source."
The other I remember is Hodja taking donkeys over the border and the 
official suspecting him of smuggling but there was nothing in 
donkeys' burdens. Years later after official had retired, Hodja 
reveals he was smuggling donkeys!
 
See what I mean about donkeys? That was in response to Sowmya Srinivasan's post 
which appears shortly.
***
ERICA SHADOWSONG
Nasruddin would tell stories, but the people didn't believe his 
tales. He went home to think of a story everyone would believe, and 
swore he would only leave that room when he had such a story. After 
a while, he found himself disturbed by children's noise outside in 
street. He decided he'll play a trick on them to get peace, by going 
outside and telling them, "In market at other end of town - they are 
giving away free melons." Sure enough, the children ran off, leaving 
Nasruddin in peace to think. As children ran others who saw them 
asked why.  When they heard about the free melons, more started 
running - children - adults ran - soon the whole town ran.  An old 
man happened to run by Nasruddin himself, and when Nasruddin asked 
why he was running, he told him.  Nasruddin thought, "Perhaps there
really are free melons."  And he ran off, too, showing that the 
only people who can tell really good stories must believe them 
themselves!
I included that version of a story told above to show how the same story changes and yet is the same.  Off the list I wrote that I had heard a similar story that supposedly happened with a leader of the French Revolution.  (Appropriately enough, today's blog will first appear on Bastille Day.)
***    
For some crazy (HTML?) reason the next story insists on being in a different type font, but it was indeed contributed by Sowmya.
SOWMYA SRINIVASAN -  http://ssstoryteller.blogspot.com/ and also check
https://reinventionstories.wordpress.com/
My favorite Hodja tale goes like this Hodja reached Mecca on a pilgrimage and looked for a place to stay one night.
No one had space in their caravanserai. Finally one kind keeper asked him to adjust with a man already sleeping in a room. Hodja lies down fully clothed with his fez and shoes on! Sometime later the other man ( who sleeps naked )wakes up to find Hodja lying down next him on the bed, fully clothed. Flabbergasted he wonders why someone would do that in this heat. Hodja explains that he too has a habit of sleeping naked and was not sure how he would be able to identify himself if they were both naked!( without clothes) Other man is amused He devices a plan..says Hodja could sleep with a doll tied to his leg(left in the room by a previous occupant)..and the one who wakes up with the doll around his leg would be Hodja! 
***
FRAN STALLINGS - https://www.franstallings.com/
Nasrudin was napping on his porch when a traveler roused him politely 
asking "Excuse me, how long will it take me to reach the next village?"
Nasrudin opened one eye, gazed at the traveler, went back to sleep.  
"I said, how long will it take me to reach the next village?" repeated 
the traveler.
Nasrudin opened the other eye, went back to sleep. 
"It's not a difficult question! Are you too stupid and lazy to answer?" 
the traveler berated.
Nasrudin didn't even bother to look - until the traveler stormed off 
in a huff. 
Then Nasrudin watched him several seconds and shouted after him, 
"Twenty minutes!"
The traveler returned angrily. "Why didn't you answer me before?"    
 
"I had to see how fast you walk."
******
I hope you have enjoyed your own walk through yet a few more stories about the Hodja.  Next week I'll give you resources to find books and other resources to continue the journey.
 

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Hodja Still Lives! Part 1 - Stories, Jokes, Festivals, & More

From the 59th International Nasreddin Hodja Festival held July 5-10 of each year in Akşehir, Turkey to an email list, Storytell, for storytellers, this "wise fool" stays alive long after his supposed existence in the 15th century (although some say it was the 13th century).  Whether his name is spelled Hoca or Hodja and beyond Turkey, especially in Islamic countries, there are enough other names for Wikipedia's article to need a whole paragraph on name variants.  The Egyptians claim their 9th century Juha or Goha was merged with his stories.  The confusion and good humored chaos is all so typical of what we should expect of this folk character embraced by many cultures and, yes, tourism in his stated home town.
The 2018 opening of the festival
I've known storytellers who have gone to Akşehir on tours related to the Hodja.  I'm not prone to "bucket lists", but if I were, this would definitely be on mine.  Turkish tourism recognizes this.  Tour guide, Burak Sansal, has a thorough site, All about Turkey, showing the many cultural tours he can do.  (Turkey's history includes many ancient cultures as well as the Islamic and Christian roots there.)  He gives a page on Nasreddin Hodja, including those many names and places and an explanation for why it is sometimes transliterated Hoca, also that it means "teacher."  His site and others stress the Hodja's humor, calling the few stories he gives there Jokes.

The online Turkish journal, Raillife, in 2015 opened with the poster I have at the top of today's article.  It talked about the Humor Train going to the festival, including a caricature competition.  The Daily Sabah, sponsored by Turkish Airlines in 2016 did an article about "Nasreddin Hodja: traditional tales from a witty sage."  They called him a "philosopher with a good sense of humor and the ability to convey symbolic messages through storytelling, his uncanny ability to highlight the social problems of his time by his use of humor was legendary. Nasreddin Hodja often addressed the connection between wealth and social problems, attributing the habits of the wealthy to the problems faced by society."  They, too, give a few Hodja stories, because it's almost impossible to avoid.  For a bit more on the Hodja and Turkish tourism, there's also Business-with-turkey.com in Portuguese, Spanish, English, and German.

Turkey isn't the only one to recognize what a gem they have in the Hodja.  The year 1996 was proclaimed "Nasreddin Hoca year" by UNESCO.

I earlier mentioned the email list for storytellers, Storytell.  Earlier this year a member asked for our favorite Hodja stories because his father-in-law passed away unexpectedly and "was much like Nasruddin Hodja" and he wanted the Hodja's "wit, his wisdom, his whimsy, and his desire to be helpful (even if it seems strange and foolish)."

Of course I responded.  This was what I wrote.
I, too, find Nasruddin Hodja a delight.  Thinking of my favorites, three 
and then a fourth popped into my mind.
   The Hodja on the donkeys befuddled because sometimes the number 
increased when he got off his own and only then counted it.  The Hodja 
having to deliver a sermon when he doesn't know what to say so he asks "Do 
you know what I'm going to say?", letting his listeners the first week 
shake their heads "yes", the second week shake their heads "no", and on the 
third week he says let those who know tell the others who don't.  The 
Hodja's arrival at a fancy dinner in his shabby work clothes earns him a 
poor place at the table, but, when he leaves and returns in his good coat, 
he puts food in the pockets and says "Eat, my fine coat" because he claims 
the better place it earns him at the table is obviously more important. 
 The Hodja is able to rescue a drowning tax collector from a pond after the 
tax collector fails to "Give" his hand to another would-be rescuer because 
the Hodja knows the tax collector only can "Take" anything, even a rescuing 
hand. 
 Ah, yes, and in typical Hodja fashion that reminds me of another as I love 
to tell about how he collected taxes and put the receipts on his wife's 
fine cookie dough after seeing other tax collectors forced to eat their 
receipts by Timur, a.k.a. Tamerlaine -- which means Timur the Lame and NOT 
something to be said in his presence.
  
 Oh and then that reminds me of yet two more -- how the Hodja kept his coat 
dry before going to Timur in the rain (naked, but he claimed he went 
between the raindrops) and how he showed his archery skills by three shots 
-- the first missing the target which he says is how Timur's opponents 
shoot; the second on the target but not the bullseye which he says are how 
Timur's soldiers shoot; and finally hitting the center which is how the 
Hodja shoots.
  
 LoiS(omehow one Hodja tale always seems to irresistibly lead to another 
and I couldn't resist answering with a few) 

Storytell list members prefer their privacy in discussion, even though storytelling itself can make us very public in our telling.  (I understand because an earlier employment at a library meant my own comments needed to be unattached to my work there.)  As a result, if you clicked the earlier link for Storytell, you would need to subscribe to access the archive currently maintained by the National Storytelling Network.   Next week I plan to continue with Hodja stories from there and other sites specifically from storytellers.  This will give contributors a chance to say if they wish to share a story anonymously or publicly.  At least one storyteller has an online video I expect to share.

Next week on Saturday, July 14, it's officially Pandemonium Day.  That seems like a great way to celebrate it.

In the meantime I will include some other storytelling sites I usually recommend at the end of my Public Domain posts.  Many will include the Hodja.
*******
  • 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/ 
     
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.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Irving et al about the Declaration of Independence

from a National Park Service photo with Independence Hall in the background
The musical 1776 gives a great view of the fighting involved in signing the Declaration of Independence and how our Founding Fathers were as creator, Sherman Edwards, said "the cream of their colonies. ... They disagreed and fought with each other. But they understood commitment, and though they fought, they fought affirmatively." (Personally I look at our country and its divisions and wonder if such a consensus could be reached today.)

I didn't know Washington Irving had written a Life of Washington, but it gives a glimpse of how we nearly celebrated the Second of July.  (Like the musical, he focuses on John Adams.)

I let that flow into H.A. Guerber's look at the signing as the one followed the other in Frances Jenkins Olcott's book, Good Stories for Great Holidays.  Irving's book, by the way, gets two more excerpts in Olcott's coverage showing better the sense of drama relayed by the author best known for short stories like "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Actually there was very little beyond his best-known work that I knew.  Scanning an article about Washington Irving, I learned he must have had a great interest in his namesake as the Washington biography is five volumes! long, spending much of his life on it.  Also Irving represented the United States in both Spain and England under Presidents Van Buren and Tyler.

Now for an anonymous third look at the event from outside Independence Hall and the ringing of the Liberty Bell.  (It comes from the Fifth Year of Story Hour Readings a textbook popular in the early Twentieth Century by E.C. Hartwell, who may have written it.  There were several illustrators for the book, including Joseph Franke', whose signature is in the left corner.)

I opened this article with a look at the Liberty Bell and want to mention the National Park Service site about Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. It includes such information as the Liberty Bell was originally the State House bell made in London and taken to Philadelphia for the tower of the Pennsylvania State House. It is inscribed with the words from Leviticus 25:10 “Proclaim liberty throughout the land”. It cracked on the first test ring in 1752, so it was melted down and cast again in Philadelphia. Further cracks occurred, so in 1846 for Washington's birthday, the city attempted to repair it. The repair failed, widening the crack further and silencing the bell forever, but not its significance. The site also has teacher lesson plans. While looking for images of the Liberty Bell, I discovered https://notebookingfairy.com/liberty-bell-notebooking-page/ which has various graphics teachers, homeschoolers, and others might appreciate.  

Here in Michigan next week I'll be doing a program that includes a mention of the War of 1812 with a bit of emphasis on here in Detroit and across the river at Canada's Fort Amherstburg (now Fort Malden) and the wrap-up of that war in the song, "The Battle of New Orleans."

Because that means we had not one, but two wars with Britain, I appreciated this from the N.P.S. site:
There are two other bells in the park today, in addition to the Liberty Bell. The Centennial Bell, made for the nation's 100th birthday in 1876, still rings every hour in the tower of Independence Hall. It weighs 13,000 lbs. - a thousand pounds for each original state. The Bicentennial Bell was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of Great Britain in 1976. That bell is currently in storage.
Considering the way Queen Elizabeth II at the dedication in 1976 mentioned our shared heritage of the principles of the Magna Carta, I hope we dust off that bell and display it, too.

Can't resist this image for a bit of a chuckle.  Even so, remember those who fought in the Revolutionary War were indeed considered traitors and paid with their lives and fortunes.

After two wars, these Ungrateful Colonials are definitely different, but glad to share a heritage and get along again.



********************************
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/ 
     
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, June 23, 2018

Yes, the EU Affects You

It's said we're all in a Global Village and this week proves it.  It's a tale of the E.U. being the tail wagging the rest of the world.  The tale's unfinished and I'm hopeful the rest of the world will speak up before it's too late and stop the European Union's Parliament from wrecking both the Internet's free access (in a move that makes the U.S. battle for Net Neutrality look like a mere spat) and, worse yet, Copyright and the concept of Public Domain.

I admit I sometimes get on my soapbox about Copyright, especially shouting about the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act which went from a fixed 28 years with an additional 28 year extension available to life of the artist plus 50 years.  I breathed a sigh of relief when we recently killed the Trans-Pacific Partnership which would have stretched it world-wide so expiration could not come until 70 years after the death of the author.  After all, how many authors around the world die without anyone noticing even if you try to find out?  I've been cheering the release of works from 1923 on to start at the end of 2018 ending the SBCTEA.  When this article,  https://boingboing.net/2018/01/08/sonny-bono-is-dead.html, said even the Authors Guild didn't support copyright extension beyond 50 years at most it looked as if the concept behind Public Domain might be reviving from near death.

The Public Domain Manifesto organization does an excellent job of telling us about Public Domain's role in both looking back at our cultural heritage and looking forward to the way it provides the "raw material from which new knowledge is derived and new cultural works are created."  The Authors Guild even pointed out "many of our members benefit from having access to a thriving and substantial public domain of older works." The P.D. Manifesto has both international organizations and individuals signing it and I urge you to go there and do so, too.

Cue the ominous music . . . 

Earlier this week I posted about Article 13, which unfortunately has now passed out of the nine member committee and on to the full Parliament.

As one storyteller, however, pointed out when I also sounded the alarm on Storytell, the email list hosted by the National Storytelling Network at Storytell listserv, "Suffice it to say that, regardless of the voting results, the topic will be far from over."

He was correct since it now is up to the EU Parliament https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jun/20/eu-votes-for-cop..., requiring platforms like Google and Microsoft to install filters.

An unrelated email I received this past week about clarification of Public Domain mentioned a case where Project Gutenberg posted 3 authors in the Public Domain in the U.S., but not in Germany so they were sued by the German Publishers.  I checked and found this article, https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180306/03423339363/project-gute.... As a result German users are now blocked from accessing Project Gutenberg.

Public Domain initially was planned to begin after 14 years.  Its creation was intended to keep alive our cultural literacy.  That may have been naive, but the EU has already required sites all over the world to check to see if EU meet their privacy requirements with General Data Privacy Regulation or GDPR.  This latest regulation makes that look like an annoying test of the water to see if they can control the worldwide web and more.

Looking at what this means for the Internet and Copyright, the tech supersite, CNet says:

What is Article 13?

Article 13 would force all online platforms to police and prevent the uploading of copyrighted content, or make people seek the correct licenses to post that content. For the most part this would mean filters that check content as it's uploaded would be mandatory for platforms including Facebook, Instagram, GitHub, Reddit and Tumblr, but also many much smaller platforms.
YouTube already uses such a system -- called Content ID -- to protect copyright infringement, but the technology to do this is extremely expensive and has taken over 11 years to build and refine.

There's much more to the CNet article including how the less discussed Article 11 will force tech giants to police the internet (providing no recourse if they fear something might be restricted) and all smaller platforms into even more restrictions because they can't afford to do otherwise.

The CNet article ends with "How will this affect me, an EU resident?", but, as GDPR and also the incident with Project Gutenberg shows, it will chill progressively more the internet and make users of what should be Public Domain even more paranoid.  That certainly includes small publishers and storytellers attempting research.

So what can we do?

Normally I'd say this is a matter involving another country and they won't listen to us.

That is precisely why we do need to contact them and let them know this affects the whole world.  We are a Global Village when it comes to the internet.

We can spread the word and also send emails letting the members of the European Union's Parliament know why this matter is important to us.

How do we reach them?  https://europa.eu/european-union/contact/write-to-us_en is a form.  You have a limited, but adequate space to write your "Enquiry."
I posted under the Subject: Articles 13 & 11 the following (spacing is a bit "wonky" here as I copied it from the form):
Dear Members of European Parliament

Creativity and free speech will be harmed by Article 13 because algorithms will have difficulty telling the difference between infringement and the
legal use of copyrighted material vital to research, commentary, parodies
and more. This is far too high a cost for enforcing copyright.  Copyright was intended to include Public Domain for older material to keep our
cultural heritage alive! As a storyteller in the U.S., I rely on Public Domain material frequently for my research.

No filter can possibly review every form of content covered by the proposal including text, audio, video, images and software. Article 13's mandate is
technically infeasible and it is absurd to expect courts in 27 EU Member States to be constantly working out what the “best” filters might be.

It is a bad idea to make Internet companies responsible for enforcing copyright law. To ensure compliance and avoid penalties, platforms are sure to err on the side of caution and overblock. To make compliance easier,
platforms will adjust their terms of service to be able to delete any content or account for any reason. That will leave victims of wrongful deletion with no right to complain – even if their content was perfectly legal.
***
I don't take the credit for that.  My Canadian friend and colleague, Elinor Benjamin wrote it and I merely changed it to the U.S.

If you value the internet or Public Domain, I beg you to take the simple step of flooding the E.U. Parliament with your sharing world opinion.  It will affect you.

The following from OpenMedia.org shows the results of international attention to this.  Notice that the issue was narrowly decided and will be considered further this autumn.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

EU: They're breaking the Internet & Copyright tomorrow

My normal focus is U.S. storytelling, with Net Neutrality here an issue requiring me to speak up, but the EU is taking action tomorrow that will affect the internet and copyright -- which is already messed up enough.  The EU will massively harm small publishers, new startups, and creators, including storytellers, across the world if they succeed.
Please go to https://savethelink.org/tweet-your-mep-saveyourinternet?src=162723#... for more information and the way to Tweet or email the 9 Members of the European Parliament who are all that stands in the way of the most drastic upheaval to the Internet and Copyright in its history.
If it helps you write a response, this is the message I sent each of them.  Feel free to adapt it.
Subject: Storytellers say Censoring Links Will Break the Internet
For freedom of expression, and for independent creators, small publishers and startups, please use your JURI vote to #SaveYourInternet.
I work as assistant administrator to Professional Storyteller and know this is important for storytellers throughout the E.U. including your own countries.   My own blog often requires
  • Creativity and free speech which will be harmed by Article 13 because algorithms struggle to tell the difference between infringement and the legal use of copyrighted material vital to research, commentary, parodies and more. This is far too high a cost for enforcing copyright.  Copyright was intended to include Public Domain for older material to keep our cultural heritage alive!  Just today I had an email from someone seeking guidance on this very issue and related to my own segments on "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."
  • No filter can possibly review every form of content covered by the proposal including text, audio, video, images and software. Article 13's mandate is technically infeasible and it is absurd to expect courts in 27 EU Member States to be constantly working out what the “best” filters might be.
  • It is a bad idea to make Internet companies responsible for enforcing copyright law. To ensure compliance and avoid penalties, platforms are sure to err on the side of caution and overblock. To make compliance easier, platforms will adjust their terms of service to be able to delete any content or account for any reason. That will leave victims of wrongful deletion with no right to complain – even if their content was perfectly legal.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Asbjornsen - The Seventh Father of the House - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This illustration is from the 5th edition, 1874, of the original collection
For Father's Day I wanted to post a humorous story I recalled from Norwegian folklore collected by their own major collectors, Asbjornsen and Moe.  (That link is to earlier posts on my blog of their stories.)  I didn't want to post the well-known tale of "The Husband Who Was to Mind the House" as it shows the father as definitely foolish...maybe some other time.  This story, however, was not in their original series of tales, but in what was called the "New Collection" (Norske Folke-Eventyr. Ny Samling 1871) and I found it was not in my own collection of books, either Asbjornsen and Moe nor other anthologies until I checked the book published by Viking Press in 1960 -- so still under copyright.  It used the original illustrations, however, in this case dating back to 1879 by Erik Werenskiold and I will end with the one so often used with the story.

Of course this set me really hunting!  For one thing, it appears that Jorgen Moe wasn't involved with this story.  I'm going to take the version you can find on D.L. Ashliman's excellent folktale site.  (After it I'll pass along some other things I discovered, including some wild interpretations for the story.)

Old, Older, and Oldest


folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 726
about old men, their fathers, and their grandfathers
selected and translated by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1999-2006

The Seventh Father of the House

Norway, Peter Christen Asbjørnsen

Once upon a time there was a man who was traveling about, and he came at length to a big and fine farm. There was such a fine manor house there that it might well have been a little castle. "It would be a nice thing to get a night's rest here," said the man to himself, upon entering the gate. Close by stood an old man with gray hair and beard, chopping wood.
"Good evening, father," said the traveler. "Can I get lodgings here tonight?"
"I am not the father of the house," said the old man. "Go into the kitchen and speak to my father!" The traveler went into the kitchen. There he met a man who was still older, and he was lying on his knees in front of the hearth, blowing into the fire.
"Good evening, father. Can I get lodgings here tonight?" asked the traveler.
"I am not the father of the house," said the old man. "But go in and speak to my father. He is sitting at the table in the parlor."
So the traveler went into the parlor and spoke to him who was sitting at the table. He was much older than the other two, and he sat there with chattering teeth, shaking, and reading in a big book, almost like a little child.
"Good evening, father. Can you give me lodgings here tonight?" said the man.
"I am not the father of the house. But speak to my father over there. He is sitting on the bench," said the man who was sitting at the table with chattering teeth, and shaking and shivering. So the traveler went to him who was sitting on the bench. He was getting a pipe of tobacco ready, but he was so bent with age, and his hands shook so much, that he was scarcely able to hold the pipe.
"Good evening, father," said the traveler again. "Can I get lodgings here tonight?"
"I am not the father of the house," said the old, bent-over man. "But speak to my father, who is in the bed over yonder."
The traveler went to the bed, and there lay an old, old man, and the only thing about him that seemed to be alive was a pair of big eyes.
"Good evening, father. Can I get lodgings here tonight?" said the traveler.
"I am not the father of the house. But speak to my father, who lies in the cradle yonder," said the man with the big eyes. Yes, the traveler went to the cradle. There was a very old man lying, so shriveled up, that he was not larger than a baby, and one could not have told that there was life in him if it had not been for a sound in his throat now and then.
"Good evening, father. Can I get lodgings here tonight?" said the man. It took some time before he got an answer, and still longer before he had finished it. He said, like the others, that he was not the father of the house. "But speak to my father. He is hanging up in the horn on the wall there."
The traveler stared around the walls, and at last he caught sight of the horn. But when he looked for him who hung in it, there was scarcely anything to be seen but a lump of white ashes, which had the appearance of a man's face. Then he was so frightened, that he cried aloud, "Good evening, father. Will you give me lodgings here tonight?"
Erik Werenskiold, 1879.

There was a sound like a little tomtit's chirping, and he was barely able to understand that it meant, "Yes, my child."
And now a table came in which was covered with the costliest dishes, with ale and brandy. And when he had eaten and drunk, in came a good bed with reindeer skins, and the traveler was very glad indeed that he at last had found the true father of the house.

  • Source: Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, Round the Yule Log: Norwegian Folk and Fairy Tales, translated by H. L. Brækstad (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, ca. 1930).
  • Translation modified by D. L. Ashliman.
  • Link to the original Norwegian text Den syvende far i huset

Professor Ashliman's site is definitely worth visiting for stories!

I took that story as just an enjoyable bit of nonsense about back in the days when a traveler sometimes was dependent on the hospitality of whatever place they found.  Imagine my surprise to find it on the blog of Simon Hughes selling Erotic Folktales from Norway, but also as part of his Norwegian Folktales Project to publish his translations of Asbjornsen and Moe's complete works.  Then the blog, Legends of the North,  said it was first published in 1840 and "it still remains as highly relevant to this day as the tale may be read as a witty satire on the disclaim that exist in everyday bureaucracy."  It also was discussed on Religious Forums mainly as a parable, although the original poster of the story, Willamena did eventually say, "And if there was no subtext there, then you're simply reading A LOT more into the story than I did."  While the viewpoint on that forum tended to Christian allegory, there was a very different view of "The Esoteric Meaning of the Fairy Tale of The Seventh Father of the House" on The Modern Alchemist blog, complete with chakras, sexuality, and meditation.  Someone else used it to ask who is the oldest in their readers' families.  There's an animated YouTube version and another version by the director, Ivo Caprino, which may explain linking it to bureaucracy. 

I think you can tell I tend to take it as just a bit of fun and hope you had fun with it, too, for Father's Day.
*********************************************
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/ 
     
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, June 9, 2018

Bigham - Curly Lock's Peas - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

"School's out! School's out! Teacher let the mules out!"  That's an old end of the school year chant I remember shouting.  Along with that came, "No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks!"  Now I've been on the other side and this past week brought the end of six school residencies.

I didn't use Mother Goose with these classes, but Madge Bigham's Stories of Mother Goose Village and Frank Baum's Mother Goose in Prose do a great job of taking the original well-known verses  and expanding them.  Bigham's Schoolmaster takes an imaginative enough approach to suit home-schoolers, too.  I've seen teachers use seeds in their classrooms.  This takes the idea and also plays with a creative use for peas for arithmetic and beyond in an early version of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS!, and Mathematics).  School districts too often are featuring STEM, leaving out the creativity of the Arts.
I'm sure you caught that last Mother Goose rhyme, but did you also recognize the one opening today's story?
********************
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/ 
     
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!