|The Rod of Asclepius|
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.)
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.
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.
Have fun discovering even more stories!