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Friday, February 26, 2016

Croker - Flory Cantillon's Funeral - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

February 26 is the international "Tell a Fairy Tale Day", also it's time to get ready for any Irish storytelling during the month of St. Patrick, so this is a wee bit earlier than my usual Saturday posting.  Added to that, this story is probably one of the spookiest tales of the merfolk, both mermaids and mermen.  I needed also sea songs as part of what I was working on and this fit the bill, but that song they sing in this story is most likely the Requiem song of "Dies Irae" -- which translates as "Day of Wrath."

Enjoy!


Back in March of 2014 I posted another story that would pair well with this story, a long-time favorite of mine, "The Wonderful Tune" also collected by Thomas Crofton Croker.

Have fun with both!
******************
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.  
 


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.  He has just loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so one can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression he likes by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm

He also loaded to his server the doctorate thesis of Prof. Dov Noy (Neunan) "Motif-index of Talmudic-Midrahic literature" Indiana University, 1954, as a PDF file.
in the hope that some of you would make use of it.

You can see why that is a site I recommend to you.

Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mooney - Origin of Disease and Medicine - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

The Rod of Asclepius
It's confession time here (no relation to Lent!).  Blogger lets me work ahead and recently I knew I was going to be on the road for a while so I took advantage of the Chinese New Year to work through February 13.  Little did I know I'd get sick while away and need every bit of that time.  Back when I still worked as a librarian full-time (I still sub. occasionally), I asked my mentor, Papa Joe, what storytellers did when they got sick.  He said, correctly, there is no such thing as sick leave.  Fortunately I fulfilled the storytelling needed right before getting sick and had no gigs scheduled while I've worked to get well.

Thinking about being sick reminded me of a great little tale collected by James Mooney in his Myths of the Cherokee.  Not only did a Cherokee storytelling friend once verify the accuracy of the book by saying it didn't even make the elders snicker much -- as in their respecting its getting the material right! -- but the versions often tell well exactly as Mooney wrote it.  Today's story is wonderfully tellable.

(By the way, I'm no snake lover, but after the story there's a bonus about the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus.)

Aren't you glad the Plants were friendly?  If you doubt the truth of the story, remember even something as basic as Aspirin goes back to Plants.  As Wikipedia notes: Plant extracts, including willow bark and spiraea, of which salicylic acid was the active constituent, had been known to help alleviate headaches, pains, and fevers since antiquity. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates (circa 460 – 377 BC), left historical records describing the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help these symptoms.

Of course there's more to the story and if you're curious, go to the Wikipedia link and read "Discovery of the Mechanism", "History", and "Trademark" for some interesting background before popping your next pill.

The Caduceus
I also promised a "bonus" bit of story about the Rod of Asclepius and the Caduceus.  While I would have preferred a Cherokee symbol appropriate to today's story, it was easier to look among more common medical logos.  The Caduceus is often thought of in the U.S. as that logo, but I discovered it's an incorrect usage.  The symbol goes back to both Egyptian and Greek mythology and was incorrectly linked to medicine by the U.S. Army Medical Corps.  The Rod of Asclepius, which I showed at the start of today's article, has only one snake and no wings and is the correct medical symbol complete with a far more interesting, if too little known, Greek myth. 

Wikipedia may have become the encyclopedia of our online lives, but while looking for the Rod of Asclepius, I was delighted to come across Symbolreader, a blog written anonymously by someone with a background in both English and Psychology, who shares a love of symbols and says its "where I can turn my sight inwards and marvel at the universal unconscious patterns that are shaping the lives of our souls."  Interesting stories are all around us in the symbols we use.

Hope you're not needing to fight off the ills plotted in Mooney, but if you are, thank goodness for the Plant World and its medicines.

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


At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.  
 


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.  He has just loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so one can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression he likes by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm

He also loaded to his server the doctorate thesis of Prof. Dov Noy (Neunan) "Motif-index of Talmudic-Midrahic literature" Indiana University, 1954, as a PDF file.
in the hope that some of you would make use of it.

You can see why that is a site I recommend to you.

Have fun discovering even more stories!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hearn/Chamberlain - The Silly Jelly-Fish - Keeping the Public in Public Domain


2016 Chinese Monkey YearThe Chinese New Year started February 8 for 2016 with the Year of the Monkey. 

Went looking for an appropriate story and was surprised to find Lafcadio Hearn wrote one complete with not only a monkey, but dragons, and a pourquois tale of how the jellyfish became the way it is.  Went looking for it and the Internet Archive had the story as written in English by Basil Hall Chamberlain in Kobunsha's Japanese fairy tale series -- no. 13.  If you go to Google Books, however, you will see the exact same text in Hearn's Japanese Fairy Tales, pp. 36-41. Who wrote it?  My bet is on Hearn.

Leave it to a tricky monkey to fool everyone.  This is essentially the story told in India as The Monkey's Heart where a monkey fools a crocodile.  


The classic Index to Fairy Tales by Mary Huse Eastman puts the story in many Public Domain volumes by many authors of the late 19th and early 20th century starting with Hearn, but does not mention Chamberlain.  I've many of them, but they and the Google book by Hearn miss the lovely illustrations found on the Internet Archive edition attributed to Chamberlain, which is also Public Domain, so it would be as silly as a jelly-fish to omit them.  The MARC record doesn't tell who did the illustrations, possibly Chamberlain?  It only says they are hand-colored and "Printed on one side of double leaves of crepe paper, folded in the traditional Japanese style."  It does claim "told in English by B. H. Chamberlain." To make the illustrations look right, I tried to put two side by side, but the software for this blog isn't permitting it even when I keep them smaller.  At least this makes the text and illustrations more legible since I can reproduce them larger for you. 




































































So Monkey had his fun with the jelly-fish and us, keeping us guessing if Lafcadio Hearn did indeed write "The Silly Jelly-Fish" or Chamberlain.  The story was quite popular so you may enjoy tracking down more than one version.  Here are some other Public Domain versions of the tale: Griffis - "Jellyfish Takes a Journey" in Green Willow; Lang - "The Monkey and the Jelly-Fish" in both his Violet Fairy Book and another less common book called Twelve Huntsmen and Other Stories; Ozaki - "Jelly Fish and the Monkey" in Japanese Fairy Book; Singleton - "Silly Jelly Fish" in Wild Flower Fairy Book; Wiggin and Smith - "Silly Jelly Fish" in Tales of Laughter.  To find the Indian versions about the crocodile, there are fewer, but my favorite is Babbitt's "Monkey and the Crocodile" in Jataka Tales.

Here are a few illustrations from some of those versions:  the first three are in Yei Theodora Ozaki's Japanese Fairy Book and fit the story above


the last is from Andrew Lang's Violet Fairy Book and is by H.J.Ford -- notice the story is clearly very different, for example there are no dragons, so you might want to compare his "The Monkey and the Jelly-Fish."
So Happy New Year, either the Chinese Year of the Monkey or 2016.
******************
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.  
 


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.  He has just loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so one can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression he likes by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm

He also loaded to his server the doctorate thesis of Prof. Dov Noy (Neunan) "Motif-index of Talmudic-Midrahic literature" Indiana University, 1954, as a PDF file.
in the hope that some of you would make use of it.

You can see why that is a site I recommend to you.

Have fun discovering even more stories!


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lang - The Goat's Ears of the Emperor Trojan - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Goat.svgSometimes I get bothered by the way goats get ranked lower than sheep.  Think about the implications when talking about the phrase "separating the sheep from the goats."  Even the Chinese Year of the Goat, which is about to end, is sometimes listed as the Year of the Sheep or the Year of the Ram.  BAAAAA!

I've raised goats.  They're social animals and smart.  Sheep aren't usually described that way.  They also can be stubborn, maybe that fits sheep, too, I'm not sure.  They are fairly good at eating omniverously -- if you still have your Christmas tree and it has no chemical treatment, they love it!  They do not eat tin cans.  That myth came because they love eating the glue and paper labels on cans.
Before the Year of the Goat ends and we have to wait another 12 years, I went looking for a good goat-related story and knew I couldn't resist the very popular Serbian tale about the Emperor Trajan (Lang lists him as Trojan).  Lang attributes the story to Volksmarchen der Serben but this is all I found in a translation of that book:

Classic and Mediæval Influence
When paganism had disappeared, the Southern-Slavonic legends received many elements from the Greeks and Romans. There are references to the Emperors Trajan and Diocletian as well as to mythical personages. In the Balkans, Trajan is often confused with the Greek king Midas. In the year 1433 Chevalier Bertrandon de la Broquière heard from the Greeks at Trajanople that this city had been built by the Emperor Trajan, who had goat’s ears. The historian Tzetzes also mentions that emperor’s goat’s ears ὠτία τράγου. In Serbian legends the Emperor Trajan seems also to be confused with Dædalus, for he is given war-wings in addition to the ears.

The actual story is fairly short and, since the actual Trajan, while the first non-Italian Roman emperor, probably wasn't too popular in Serbia, I imagine it originated as a bit of fun poked at the emperor.  Coins of the day don't show goat's ears, but what emperor would have permitted that?  Still this comment from a coin collector is fun: The Emperor With Many Faces

Many of the coins of Trajan feature a marvelous heroic and realistic bust. However, when Trajan was raised to emperor the mints were faced with a quandry as they had no official portraits to copy for their engraving. Trajan complicated the issue by staying on the frontier with his troops a full year before returning to Rome. Thus, many of the early coins minted during his first consulship [COS II, 97-99 CE] bear images that were the best guesses of the celators. Often the images have a distinctive Nerva look.

I knew I had heard this story before, but I checked Amazon and  the only picture book version re-telling by Katarina Jovanovic and illustrated by Phillippe Beha doesn't look familiar.





Here's Lang's version of the story.


I like playing Native American flutes and now have one from somewhere in the former Yugoslavia, possibly from Serbia.  Bet the stories behind the making of my flutes can't match this one!

Whether your New Year has begun or is about to end and become the Chinese Year of the Monkey, happy storytelling!
******************
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.  
 


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.  He has just loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so one can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression he likes by pressing one key. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm

He also loaded to his server the doctorate thesis of Prof. Dov Noy (Neunan) "Motif-index of Talmudic-Midrahic literature" Indiana University, 1954, as a PDF file.
in the hope that some of you would make use of it.

You can see why that is a site I recommend to you.

Have fun discovering even more stories!