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Saturday, October 20, 2018

Service - Cremation of Sam McGee - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

It's been beautiful watching autumn's confetti, but weather forecasters are already using a four-letter word starting with "S".  Beyond that, twice now I've heard people tell Robert Service's "The Cremation of Sam McGee" as their spooky tale.  I've long said I feel like Sam McGee when Michigan winter arrives.  I'm from St. Louis -- that's Missouri, never knew there was a St. Louis, Michigan until I moved here.  (It's a nice town.  I have told at their library and they even had a sign out front with my name on it!)

I don't know which gives me the shivers more, Michigan winter, Service's poem, or the idea of trying to tell a poem this long from memory!  One of the two people I mentioned read the poem.  I've done that and recommend Ted Harrison's illustrations for the book version. The colors chosen and facial expressions, even the howling sled dogs, catch the shivery, slightly macabre humor of the story-length poem.  By the way, I mentioned the poem and the book to a children's librarian who was shocked she didn't know this little gem.  I started out by telling her about last week's Fisk Farm Fright Night and how it was used.

Cowboy poetry, or any long narrative poetry told, instead of read, is tricky.  Our cowboy storyteller hit just the right style, shuffling his way through the story.  It was new to the audience and they applauded half-way through, throwing him.  Fortunately he did what I've seen other cowboy poets do, he had his wife "holding book" to prompt him when he hit rough patches.  I've told Seuss books and can fake it if I hit a blank spot, but would I try this from memory?  Dunberidiculous!

Until you get your hands on the Harrison illustrated edition, here's the poem and then I've a bit of further interesting related information to add.

The Cremation of Sam McGee

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam 'round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he'd often say in his homely way that "he'd sooner live in hell."

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka's fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we'd close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn't see;
It wasn't much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o'erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and "Cap," says he, "I'll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I'm asking that you won't refuse my last request."

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn't say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
"It's the cursèd cold, and it's got right hold till I'm chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet 'tain't being dead—it's my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you'll cremate my last remains."

A pal's last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn't a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn't get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: "You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it's up to you to cremate those last remains."

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows— O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I'd often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the "Alice May."
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then "Here," said I, with a sudden cry, "is my cre-ma-tor-eum."

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared—such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn't like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don't know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: "I'll just take a peep inside.
I guess he's cooked, and it's time I looked"; ... then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm—
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

The poem is indeed Public Domain and I chose the Poetry Foundation page as it gives easy access to the rest of Service's poems, including his other well known poem, "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", which was also illustrated as a book by Ted Harrison.  You will also see a tab on the Poetry Foundation that says "More about this poem", which includes a link to a Robert Service biography, but I heartily recommend the Wikipedia biography instead as the section about about his life after the Yukon period gives a fascinating life beyond all the attention of those Gold Rush times.

This barely digs past the crust of the Yukon snow.  PBS has a program, "The Klondike Gold Rush", and that link lets you see the entire show and supplementary material,as well as offer you the opportunity to purchase the video.  Don't stop there!  There's another documentary, a two hour film called  "Dawson City: Frozen Time" worth catching.  "Rotten Tomatoes" claims 100% of film critics gave it a positive review.  I saw it and found it could have benefitted from being cut, but it definitely includes some fascinating silent film footage of the Klondike Gold Rush.  The prospectors were legally required to carry (or hire it carried) a year's supply of tools and provisions.  The film also shows a large number of prospectors climbing up the mountain when an avalanche buried many of them.  The film itself comes from 533 silent film reels discovered buried under a community center's swimming pool turned ice hockey rink in 1978. 
One further bit of interesting background can be found on Wikipedia.  The article on Service just quotes "1905 R. W. Service: Bard of the Yukon", Whitehorse Star online archive, September 11, 2008, saying: 
 'A month or so later he heard a gold rush yarn from a Dawson mining man about a fellow who cremated his pal.' He spent the night walking in the woods composing "The Cremation of Sam McGee", and wrote it down from memory the next day.
However, if you go to the Wikipedia article, "The Cremation of Sam McGee", the section of "The reality behind the fiction" tells more about that yarn, as well as the fact that the Ted Harrison edition is widely read in Canadian elementary schools, and this Canadian stamp (which isn't shown there.)

Now for a treat, go to YouTube where Johnny Cash reads the poem with some of Harrison's illustrations.

Brrrrrrr!  Whether you find the story of Sam McGee, the historical story of the Yukon, or the weather forecast makes you shiver, look out winter's coming!
********************************
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!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Ingram - Andrew Jackson and the Bell "Witch" - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This is published early to publicize this Saturday event.

Hope to see you, but I also want to give a story with an interesting history.  It tells of Andrew Jackson and describes his interesting adventure with a ghost or witch in Tennessee.  Paranormal investigation isn't new, even North Oakland County Storytellers have had to share Fisk Farm with ghost hunters in the past.

The "Bell Witch" story has been well investigated over the 19th and 20th centuries.  Wikipedia has an article about it, including a paragraph about whether Andrew Jackson could have witnessed the apparition included in Martin V. Ingram's 1894 book, An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch.  

Whether you believe what you find in Wikipedia or not, I say why let the facts get in the way of a good story?  Time enough to read what the experts say later.
Here's an update:
Tennessee Historical Commission marker along U.S. Route 41 in Adams, Tennessee by Brian Stansberry
There's lots more to search online about the "Bell 'Witch'" including Pat Fitzhugh's official The Bell Witch website.
********************************
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, October 6, 2018

National Mad Hatter Day + Story-Lovers.com Looks at Hats


October 6, today according to my publishing schedule of early Saturday mornings, is National Manufacturing Day, but it's also National Mad Hatter Day according to a site called the National Day Calendar.  I will be substituting at a nearby library, not wearing a hat, but if I had to choose between the two "holidays" I would definitely choose National Mad Hatter Day for a program.  Manufacturing is indeed important, but the idea of celebrating the Mad Hatter from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland offers more ideas for storytelling.  First of all I would go to that link and mention something their site reminds us about the manufacturing of hats:
The phrase “mad as a hatter” comes from the late 18th and early 19th centuries when haberdasheries used mercury nitrate.  The exposure to this metal over time caused the tradesmen to develop symptoms making people believe they were mad.
Of course the start of National Mad Hatter Day and why it happens to be October 6 is also explained there:
A group of computer technicians in Boulder, Colorado first celebrated Mad Hatter Day in 1986 as a day of silliness.  October 6 was chosen due to the label tucked in the Mad Hatter’s hat band that read “In this style 10/6”.
Here's that John Tenniel character from the book:
So let us join with computer lovers of silliness and find some hat stories.  "How?" you may ask.  If you read the "fine print" at the end of my many posts here in the Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments you should be aware of my frequent direction to a site that no longer is being offered except through Archive.org's Wayback Machine letting people find webpages of the past.  Jackie Baldwin posted at her Story-Lovers website the suggestions generated by storytellers on the email list, Storytell.  That list is now sponsored by the National Storytelling Network, but many discussions were lost when the list's original sponsor, Texas Woman's University, dropped their coverage of it.  Jackie listened to listmembers in creating her site, keeping the names of storytellers anonymous since the list was private, keeping all contributions safe from employers or otherwise viewed.  When Jackie's health eventually declined, her site was left behind, but the Wayback Machine still lets us use it if we know how.


It's not easy and I've had storytellers ask how to do it.  This is how to do it.  http://web.archive.org/web/20160615000000*/www.story-lovers.com gives an overview, but some of the later dates don't produce the site.  Click on 2016 for a complete showing of circled dates when the site was "crawled by the Wayback Machine" below.  I recommend October 22, 2016.  Once there, ignore the Google search box and other items, scroll down to the elephant on a unicycle illustration, keep on going to the section right below it to "SOS: Searching Out Stories".  Click on that and scroll it for the twelve years of  
"references to hundreds of categories and thousands of stories, suggested by professional storytellers, librarians, healers, environmentalists and teachers from all around the world. You'll find full stories, abridged stories, book references, and descriptions of actual experiences and helpful hints in telling these tales."
Think of the site as if you were strolling through a library or a store.  Today's "Hat Stories" are in a list of  Stories, specific by subject or type.  Here are the stories suggested.  (You'll notice HTML converts quotation marks into “, but the text is still easily followed.)

HAT STORIES
(excerpts from posts)
(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain)

After the assembly, students will be making their own imaginative hats. Can anyone recommend hat stories or songs?

1)
The first one that comes to mind is Caps Amazon.com: Books: Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business - for sale, but copyright would be an issue.

How about the story of The Thrifty Tailor? One of the things he makes is a hat.
THE THRIFTY TAILOR
Once there was a tailor and a very fine tailor he was. He was also very thrifty. He wasted nothing! A rich landowner came to him with a roll of the finest cloth. “Make me suit of this materialâ€*, he said, “and I will pay you well! . The tailor sat up all night and he cut and he sewed and he snipped and he stitched. And in the morning he had made the suit. And a very fine suit it was! He took it to the rich landowner, who was very pleased. When the tailor returned to his workshop, he looked at the material that was left and thought to himself, “Just a minute – there’s enough material to make something else!â€* So being a thrifty tailor, he sat up all night and he cut and he sewed and he snipped and he stitched. And in the morning he had made a very smart top coat. And a very smart top coat it was! He put it on and he wore it every day, and he wore it every day and he wore it every day until it was all worn out! And he was just about to throw it away, when he thought to himself, “Just a minute – there’s enough material to make something else! So being a thrifty tailor, he sat up all night and he cut and he sewed and he snipped and he stitched. And in the morning he had made a very smart jacket. And a very smart jacket it was! He put it on and he wore it every day and he wore it every day and he wore it every day, until it was all worn out! And he was just about to throw it away, when he thought to himself, “Just a minute – there’s enough material to make something else!. So being a thrifty tailor, he sat up all night and he cut and he sewed and he snipped and he stitched. And in the morning he had made a very smart waistcoat. And a very smart waistcoat it was! He put it on and he wore it every day and he wore it every day and he wore it every day, until it was all worn out! And he was just about to throw it away, when he thought to himself, “Just a minute! There's enough material to make something else! So being a thrifty tailor, he sat up all night and he cut and he sewed and he snipped and he stitched. And in the morning he had made a very smart cap. And a very smart cap it was! He put it on and he wore it every day and he wore it every day and he wore it every day, until it was all worn out! And he was just about to throw it away, when he thought to himself. Just a minute. If there's enough material to make something else! So being a thrifty tailor, he sat up all night and he cut and he sewed and he snipped and he stitched. And in the morning he had made a very smart tie. And a very smart tie it was! He put it on and he wore it every day and he wore it every day and he wore it every day, until it was all worn out! And he was just about to throw it away, when he thought to himself, Just aminute, there's enough material to make something else! So being a thrifty tailor, he sat up all night and he cut and he sewed and he snipped and he stitched. And in the morning he had made a very smart button. And a very smart button it was! He sewed it to his shirt and he wore it every day and he wore it every day and he wore it every day until it was all worn out! And he was just about to throw it away, when he thought to himself, Just a minute! There's enough material to make a story!" And he told the story to me and I've just told it to you!

There is also a story about Anansi the trickster, Anansi's Hat Shaking Dance Courlander, Harold, & Prempeh, A.K. The Hat-shaking Dance and Other Tales from the Gold Coast. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1957. but it can also be found in Easy to Tell Tales by Annette Harrison I believe.

Preschool Education Music & Songs: Hats
http://www.preschooleducation.com/shat.shtml

2) What about the story of the two farmers whose fields were across the road from each other. One day, as they worked in their fields, a man passed by wearing a hat. After he passed, one farmer said to the other, "what an unusual red hat he was wearing." The other responded, "Are you crazy? Are you blind? He was wearing a blue hat!" They quarreled all day until they refused to speak to each other ever again - and then as evening approached, the man in the hat returned. Each farmer felt his jaw drop as the one who had seen a red hat saw blue, and the one who had seen a blue hat saw red, and they both realized how foolish their quarrel had been, since the hat was clearly red on one side, blue on the other. This West African story was included in one of Ruth Stotter's Storytelling Calendars, and she attributes it to a Herskovits' collection, Dahomean Narrative. I love "point of view" stories.
Response: I've heard this as an Anansi story from Africa, and he had a whole outfit on - and he did it deliberately to cause trouble of course!
Response: I read this as Red Coat/Blue Coat but a hat will do just as well.

3) I love to use Hats for Sale with the early elementary classes. I get the teachers or principal to be "The monkeys" in the story, and the kids absolutely love it.
Response: Caps for Sale is a wonderful story, or Heather Forrest tells of a hat that is red on one side and black on another. Don't worry about permissions as this is an Indian folktale too. The hats or caps are topis and the seller is the topiwallah.

There is also the song: "'My hat it has three corners' I can't remmerber the original version very well, but I have an adapted version from Bingo Lingo - Supporting Language Development with Songs and Rhymes by Helen MacGregor ( A & C Black London) That version goes like this:
My hat it is too spotty
Too spotty is my hat
Because it is too spotty I will not wear my hat

Other verses are : too stripy and too fluffy. The idea is to get the children to suggest other adjectives to make up additional verses.
Response:

My Hat, It Has Three Corners
My hat has three corners (touch head)
My hat, it has three corners (touch each elbow on corners)
Three corners has my hat (touch each elbow on corners)
And if it hadn’t had three corners
It wouldn't be my hat.

Response:
My hat it has three corners
Three corners has my hat
And had it not three corners
Then it would not be my hat!

You can use this rhyme to demonstrate the kind of hat called a tricorne. The name literally means "three horns", being constructed from Latin bits (cornua are horns). Dick Turpin (and every other highwayman worth his salt) would likely be seen wearing one. Me too, sometimes. A unicorn, however, would have trouble fitting a tricorne onto his head. I don't know where the rhyme comes from. I learned it years ago, before I ever owned a tricorne.

4) Haven't posted Rainhat in ages, but it's a real favorite of mine.There is a pirate version of this paper folding and tearing story should be found in Nancy Shimmel's Just Enough to Make A Story, as well in one of Anne Pellowski's, and think Margaret Read McDonald has a version too. I have the Rainhat version that I used based on Batsy's terrific directions - I changed it to a story of a bit of safety story - appropriate for school telling. Almost always end up with kids over 6 or 7 years making their own hats, but I premake for younger audiences. Using newspapers it's a great recycling story too. I've had children decorate them too, so it should fit in well for you,

5) Safety Version of Rainhat with Batsy's excellent directions inserted:
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved the rain. (rain sounds)
(Fold a single sheet of newspaper in half.)
She woke up and folded down the sheet on her bed - she was a very neat girl.
(From folded top turn one part down like a sheet fold.)
Then she remembered her teddy bear and folded the sheet down its side of the sheet.
(Make another fold so the two meet in the middle and you have the newspaper shaped like a HOUSE with a pointed roof. Remember that the bottom part of the house should be open and NOT be folded yet.)
She went downstairs in her house to eat breakfast.
(Point out the shape of the house.)
After breakfast she and her mother went out on the porch to look at the rain.
(At this point fold up a single sheet twice from the bottom to make a sort of porch roof.)
Then she asked her mother if she could go and see Grandpa who has a surprise for her. Her mother says that she must wear her rain -
(indicate with hands- a coat - this is important for my NEW ending,)
her rain - (indicate with hands -boots,)
and then a rain - (now turn the paper over and fold up the other side and put on your head, so the listeners will respond "HAT!"
The girl follows the stream down to her grandfather's house until she hears:
MAKE thunder noises. (Elicit audience response that it is a thunder and lightning storm.)
She runs under . . . (pause and fold. This is where you move on to next step and pull out hat sides to make a square shape with folds all around the square.) .... A TREE! (Look shocked that you don't have a tree, but rather a square shape.)
(Then REMEMBER,) Of course, I told you she was a smart girl, didn't I? She knew better than to run under a tree during a thunder and lightning storm.
(THIS IS THE NEW SAFETY PART!)
She ran to stand under her grandpa's garage roof. (Indicate that this is grandpa's garage. You can then add or elicit other safe places to be in lightning storm - porch, car, inside, but NEVER under a tree!) Then she hears a (make a siren noise and elicit response from audience that it's a . .. ) fire engine.
(Time to fold up the bottom edge on one side to make a triangle on the front.)
She waved to her Uncle Jack as he rode by on the fire truck wearing his fireman's hat. (It's still big enough that you can pretend it might fit your head.)
When the rain stopped, she hurried on to her grandpa's house by the lake. Her grandpa loved water. He loved water so much that he used to be in the Navy. Folks called him, the Admiral. He loved to wear his admiral hat. (Time to fold the other bottom edge to a triangular shaped paper. It's small, but I perch it on my head.)
Grandpa said, "I have a surprise for you in the BOAT house." (Time to pull out the sides so the bottom points of the triangle come together and make the square looking boat house - mention how much smaller it is than the garage. :->)
Does anyone one want to guess what the surprise might be?
(Amazingly enough, not too many children will come up with a boat right away. I loved the other answers so much that sometimes I deliberately lead them off track. BUT, at last, really emphasize the boat part.)
You're right it's a BOAT! (Time to turn the boathouse so that the crease is running up and down. Then pull out the two points of the square which open out to make a boat.)
The girl got in her boat and started back up the stream to her own house, BUT suddenly the sail fell off. (Time to tear off some of the top triangular part of sail. I"VE Changed The Order Here From The Original Directions.)
BUT that's OK, I told you she was a smart girl, didn't I? She had a paddle in the boat so she started to paddle home. Now she was smart, but she wasn't very good at paddling and ran into the bank of the stream. The front of the boat fell off!
(Time to tear off some of the front.)
She paddled backwards, and the back of the boat fell off.
(Time to tear off some of the back.)
Then the STRANGEST thing happened as the boat began to sink.
(Time to start unfolding the paper to reveal . . . )
She wasn't sinking, no, she was floating.
(Time to complete the opening to reveal her RAINCOAT, not a shirt - this is why you need to establish earlier that she had put on a raincoat.)
BUT WAIT A MINUTE - raincoats don't make you float.
(Look very puzzled as you make her float along. Then let a look of realization come over your face. And start tearing again. Tear off the sleeves of the raincoat.)
Well, I told you she was a smart girl, didn't I? And her grandpa was a smart man too. He'd made sure that she'd put on a . . .
(see if kids recognize what she's wearing or ask what would help you float . .)
That's right, she had a LIFE JACKET on under her coat. So she floated all the way home!
The end - except that I've added Batsy great folding directions at the bottom as well as Owen's additional suggestions on the folding.
EXTRA TIPS AND BATSY'S DIRECTIONS
For me the simplest part of the folding was to remember to go to the two squares after the hats. That helped.

6) One of my favorites is A Three Hat Day, Written by Laura Geringer, Illustrated by Arnold Lobel (ISBN 0-06-443157-6 (pbk.) New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1985.)
This story is about R.R. Pottle the Third and his love of hats. He collected all sorts of hats. His father had collected canes, and his mother had collected umbrellas. R.R. Pottle loved hats so much that he would wear several at one time. When walking one day with three hats on his head, R.R. Pottle got caught in the rain and went into a hat store where he met the future Mrs. Pottle. Their child, R.R. Pottle the Fourth, loved neither hats nor canes nor umbrellas. She loved shoes.

7) Bartholomew Cubbins and the 500 hats is a *great* story. Dr. Seuss, before he went e-z reader.

8)



(This web page updated 9/13/03)


 *************************
That's surely enough for you to enjoy a silly day of hats and storytelling.  There may be a resurrection of Jackie's site.  Various colleagues have proposed ways to host it, but I know Jackie is delighted for any way to have it remain helpful to lovers of stories and storytelling.  Whether someone hosts it again or not, you now should know how to access and use it.  I hope you do.  If you have any problem with it, please feel free to ask me and I'll be happy to help you with it. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Beecher - The Anxious Leaf - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Long before the late Leo Buscaglia's classic look at life and death from the viewpoint of a leaf in 1982's The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, today's little story from the viewpoint of "The Anxious Leaf" appeared.  It's in an early 20th century series of textbooks by E.C. Hartwell I find most useful, Story Hour Readings, in this case for the Fourth Year.  There is a bit of suggestions at the end for ways to use it in class added by Doctor Hartwell, but the story originates with Henry Ward Beecher.  The book gives the simplest of author's biography, suitable for a child, but his own life seems right out of today's news and I'll give more after the story.  I'll also add ways to use it.
It's a simple enough story and I like to include the sort of supplementary books a One Room School Teacher might include in her classroom when doing my program on One Room Schools as I did this past week, but it has many uses beyond that.

Of course teachers like to assign leaf identification as it's an easy assignment at this time of year.  I'm a longtime member of the Arbor Day Foundation and believe strongly in their goals of planting trees where they are so needed.  As a result I recommend purchasing their pocket field guides, "What Tree Is That?", which now even has an iPhone app. (I hope they soon do one for Android.)

Also colorful autumn leaves have a multitude of craft uses.  Google "leaf crafts" for more than you could possibly use.  There are crafts all the way from preschoolers to adult.  I like to mention how the One Room School Teachers would give the little ones a simple craft related to what they were studying.  I even show a large early 20th century book of "manual seatwork" with the kind of simple crafts we all should experience in school or in after-school activities.

Of course fallen leaves are useful also to gardeners.  The "Old Farmer's Almanac" urges using them instead of sending them to a landfill.

Beyond the One Room School I will soon be back doing classroom residencies and work with homeschoolers.  This little story is a perfect introduction to getting into the mind of an inanimate object and creating an adventure or even a biography.

Now speaking of biographies, I promised the author would fit right into today's news: People magazine would notice his famous family (his father, Lyman Beecher, was the best-known evangelist of his day, while his brothers and sisters were also prominent, especially his famous sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin); he was a popular public speaker beyond the pulpit; he was an abolitionist, which today continues in the crusade against human trafficking; supported the suffragists and temperance, which could be called women's issues; then came a scandal worthy of the "Me, Too" movement from which he was officially exonerated.  Take a look at least at Wikipedia, but you should also search for Henry Ward Beecher quotes.  There are well over 300 and many are illustrated in a style worthy of inspirational posters.

Of course my favorite is
I hope you feel the same about keeping alive the many stories that are part of 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.
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, September 22, 2018

Cox - Jack, the Giant of the Sea - Keeping the Public in Public Domain


While traveling I try to always visit local antique stores.  Whether something historical, musical, or in print, serendipity rules and may show up on my blog or in programs.  This past week I found a most unusual book by Palmer Cox, the Canadian author/illustrator best known for his series of children's books about The Brownies.  Cox first produced the mischievous characters for children's magazines like the legendary "St. Nicholas Magazine" and "Harper's Young People", and in newspaper comic strips until a book, The Brownies: Their Book in 1887 compiled some of these vignettes for the first of many books about them plus two very successful plays.  Their enduring popularity was shown in a 1988 Tuttle reprint of the Brownie Yearbook.  Earlier in 1971 Tuttle's reprint of Bugaboo Bill about how a village got rid of a troublesome giant is reminiscent of today's story.  I'll give the tale first and then say more about Cox, his Brownies, and the source of today's story.
 
Great story?  Dunberidiculous!  The "bones" of a story, however, are there, so it would be an excellent starter for story creation with a group of young future writers.  After that it would be good to share Palmer Cox's version including his lively illustrations which, frankly, have more detail and character than his fairly simple story.

Two online biographies of Cox tell about some of his work, the omnipresent Wikipedia article and a Canadian Masonic article, which says there were 25 books in all, but neither article nor the many online at Internet Archive nor the few available from Project Gutenberg list them all, nor include my own battered unlisted anthology, Palmer Cox's Book of Fairy Tales and Pictures, which was inexpensively produced back in 1896 and 1897 by Hubbard Publishing Company and in 1902 by Hurst & Company.  The Masonic site says that many books used Cox's name with his illustrations and previously published selections.  Since he also wrote for many magazines, including "Ladies Home Journal", there was plenty of material to compile.  The paper quality is poor and the stapled binding is only attached to the book's back, but as a result it is possible to copy even if every other page must be on an angle.  The original owner, Orlo F. Jones, clearly loved the book subtitled "A Selected Collection of this Famous Artist's Best Efforts for the Amusement and Joy of Our Young Folks." It is mainly anthropomorphic stories about animals, although one Brownie tale, "The Brownies' Kind Deed", is included.

Those Brownies have their own, earlier hotlinked, Wikipedia article, relating their inspiring a wide variety of merchandise, even Kodak's inexpensive "Brownie Camera", yet Cox is reported to have received nothing from the commercial use of his creatures.  Still he clearly did well enough as that same Canadian Masonic site shows Cox's 17-room dream home, Brownie Castle, that his brothers built it to his design at the start of the twentieth in his hometown of Granby, Quebec.  Brownie Castle was constructed with six staircases, a Brownie stained-glass window, and a four-story octagonal tower.  A running Brownie weather vane topped a nearby barn.
************************** 
Now for the "fine print."
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!