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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Hearn - Before the Supreme Court - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

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Last week's story came from Lafcadio Hearn's A Japanese Miscellany and so does today's story from the "Strange Stories" section.  Next week is Halloween and that day there will be two short stories from another book of his, Kwaidan, which means "ghost story."  Since I don't usually publish on a Monday I wanted to give a "heads up" alert.

You may have thought about the U.S. Supreme Court reading today's title, but Hearn's Supreme Court is even higher . . . all the way up to heaven.  It's also a title more likely to be of interest to teens and adults, especially parents.

Once again Hearn credits the same Japanese source as last week, Bukkyo Hyakkwa Zensho.  Not all Hearn's "Strange Stories" came from that source.  Also not all of the stories from A Japanese Miscellany have been given here, but I recommend them.  I might have printed "Of a Promise Kept", but then I would also have had to include "Of a Promise Broken."  There are also two longer tales with character names that seem very similar, "The Story of Kwashin Koji", a raucous story indeed, and "The Story of Kogi the Priest" which reminds me of a picture book, Louis the Fish, by Arthur Yorinks, about a butcher who hates meat, but loves fish.  A Japanese Miscellany fits its name with information on dragonflies, Buddhist names of plants and animals, Japanese children's songs, and more stories he obviously didn't think fit any category.  The link in the first paragraph is worth clicking.

Hope you make it back for the two ghost stories I've saved for Halloween itself.
Here's my closing for days when I have a story in Keeping the Public in Public Domain
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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 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!"
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

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