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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Riley - The Bear Story - Keeping the Public in Public Domain (AND "translated" from the dialect)

I confess to mixed feelings about today's posting.  It's great for people who can memorize something like The Bear Story as James Whitcomb Riley wrote it, with or without dialect.  I do think the YouTube version I posted with the article about the original poem back on November 17 shows listening to it is probably easier than reading it.  Personally I prefer taking the story, which is an excellent example of a tall tale and re-telling it (as opposed to a memorized version) with a hint of the style of Riley's original.  For example, my translation today omits saying "purt' nigh" and substitutes "pretty near", but I think the listener can follow it.  That phrase also gives a sense of the teller, in this case the Little Boy.  I also find myself feeling sorry for the two bears.  They are a real threat to humans in their territory, but the Little Boy sets out specifically to kill them.

Last week I told so much about the poem and Riley that I only linked to the original.  For your convenience I'm giving it right after my "translation."  I also found so many great bear picture to start the story, but will stop once they have set the stage for the action which clearly keeps the Little Boy thinking his way through his story as he is telling it.

Bear Story (translated from the dialect)                         



Why once there was a Little Boy went out
In the woods to shoot a Bear. So, he went out
Away in the great-big woods – he did. – And he
Was going along – and going along, you know,
And pretty soon he heard something go “Wooh!”
It's that way – “Woo-ooh!” And he was scared,
He was. And so he ran and climbed a tree –
A great-big tree, he did, a sycamore tree.
And then he heard it again: and he looked around,
And it was a Bear! – a great big sure enough Bear!
No: it was two Bears, it was – two great-big Bears –
One of them was – this one's a great-big Bear. –
But they both went “Wooh!” – And here they came
To climb the tree and get the Little Boy
And eat him up!

And then the Little Boy                                                  

He was scared worse than ever! And here came
The great-big Bear climbing the tree to get
The Little Boy and eat him up – Oh, no!
It wasn't the Big Bear that climbed the tree –
It was the Little Bear. So here he came
Climbing the tree – and climbing the tree! Then when
He got right close to the Little Boy, why then
The Little Boy he just pulled up his gun
And shot the Bear, he did, and killed him dead!
And then the Bear he fell clean on down out of
The tree – way clean to the ground, he did –
Spling-splung! He fell plumb down, and killed him, too!
And lit right beside where the Big Bear's at.


And then the Big Bear was awfully mad, you bet! –
Because – because the Little Boy he shot his gun
And killed the Little Bear. – Because the Big Bear
He – he was the Little Bear's Papa. – And so here
He came to climb the big old tree and get
The Little Boy and eat him up! And when
The Little Boy saw the great-big Bear
Coming, he was worse scared, he was,
Than any time! And so he thought he'd climb
Up higher – way up higher in the tree
Than the old Bear could climb, you know. – But he –
He can't climb higher than old Bears can climb, –
Because Bears can climb up higher in the trees
Than any little Boys in all the Wo-r-r-ld!

And so here came the great-big-Bear, he did, –                    

Climbing up – and up the tree, to get
The Little Boy and eat him up! And so
The Little Boy, he climbed on higher, and higher,
And higher up the tree – and higher – and higher –
And higher than this here house is! And here came
The old Bear – closer to him all the time! –
And then – first thing you know, when the old Big Bear
Was right close to him – then the Little Boy
Just jabbed his gun right in the old Bear's mouth
And shot and killed him dead! – No; I forgot, –
He didn't shoot the great-big Bear at all –
Because there was no load in the gun, you know –
Because when he shot the Little Bear, why, then
No load was anymore in the gun!

But the Little Boy climbed higher up, he did –
He climbed lots higher – and on up higher – and higher
And higher – until he just can't climb any higher,
Because then the limbs were all so little, away
Up in the teeny-weeny tip-top of
The tree, they'd break down with him if he didn't
he Be careful! So he stopped and thought: And then
He looked around – And here came the old Bear!

And so the Little Boy made his mind
He's got to just get out of there some way! –
Because here came the old Bear! – so close, his breath's
Pretty near so he could feel how hot it was
Against his bare feet – just like old “Ring's” breath
When he's been out hunting and is all tired.
So when the old Bear's so close – the Little Boy
Just gave a great-big jump for another tree –
No! – no, he didn't do that! – I'll tell you what
The Little Boy did: – Why, then – why, he – Oh, yes--
The Little Boy he found a hole up there
That's in the tree – and climbs in there and hides
And then the old Bear can't find the Little Boy
At all! – But, pretty soon the old Bear finds
The Little Boy's gun that's up there – because the gun
It's too tall to take with him in the hole.
So, when the old Bear found the gun, he knew
The Little Boy was hidden around somewhere there, –
And the old Bear began to snuff and sniff around,
And sniff and snuff around – so he could find
Out where the Little Boy was hidden. – And then – then –
Oh, yes! – Why, pretty soon the old Bear climbed
Away out on a big limb – a great-long limb, –
And then the Little Boy climbed out of the hole
And took his ax and chopped the limb off! . . . Then
The old Bear fell k-splunge! clean to the ground
And busted and killed himself plumb dead, he did!

And then the Little Boy he got his gun
And commenced climbing down the tree again –
No! – no, he didn't get his gun – because when
The Bear fell, then the gun fell, too – And broke
It all to pieces, too! – And the nicest gun –
His Pa just bought it! – And the Little Boy
Just cried, he did; and went on climbing down
The tree – and climbing down – and climbing down! –
And sir! When he was pretty near down, – why, then
The old Bear he jumped up again – and he
Wasn't dead at all – just pretending that way,
So he could get the Little Boy and eat
Him up! But the Little Boy, he was too smart
To climb clean down the tree. – And the old Bear
He can't climb up the tree any more – because when
He fell, he broke one of his – he broke all
His legs! – and then he couldn't climb! But he
Just won't go away and let the Little Boy
Come down out of the tree. And the old Bear-Story
Just growled around there, he did – just growls and went
Wooh! – woo-ooh!” all the time! And the Little Boy
He had to stay up in the tree – all night –
And without any supper either! – Only there
Were apples on the tree! – And the Little Boy
Ate apples – just all night – and cried – and cried!
Then when it was morning the old Bear went “Wooh!”
Again, and tried to climb up in the tree
And get the Little Boy. – But he couldn't
Climb to save his soul, he couldn't! – And oh! he was mad!
He just tore up the ground! And went “Woo-ooh!”
And – Oh, yes! – pretty soon, when morning came
All light – so you can see, you know, – why, then
The old Bear found the Little Boy's gun, you know,
That's on the ground. – (And it isn't broken at all –
I just said that!) And so the old Bear thought
He'd take the gun and shoot the Little Boy: –
But Bears they don't know much about shooting guns;
So when he went to shoot the Little Boy,
The old Bear got the other end of the gun
Against his shoulder, instead of the other end –
So when he tried to shoot the Little Boy,
It shot the Bear, it did – and killed him dead!
And then the Little Boy climbed down the tree
And chopped his old wooly head off: – Yes, and kille
The other Bear again, he did – and killed
Both the bears, he did – and took them home
And cooked them, too, and ate them! 

And that's all.

I still think bears have the right idea about winter, whether in "torpor" or so-called hibernation (see last week)

The following is the complete original text of James Whitcomb Riley's "The Bear Story."
THE BEAR STORY
BY JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY
W'y, wunst they wuz a Little Boy went out
In the woods to shoot a Bear. So, he went out
'Way in the grea'-big woods—he did.—An' he
Wuz goin' along—an' goin' along, you know,
An' purty soon he heerd somepin' go "Wooh!"
Ist thataway—"Woo-ooh!" An' he wuz skeered,
He wuz. An' so he runned an' clumbed a tree—
A grea'-big tree, he did,—a sicka-more tree.
An' nen he heerd it ag'in: an' he looked round,
An' 't'uz a Bear!—a grea'-big shore-nuff Bear!
No: 't'uz two Bears, it wuz—two grea'-big Bears—
One of 'em wuz—ist one's a grea'-big Bear.—
But they ist boff went "Wooh!"—An' here they come
To climb the tree an' git the Little Boy
An' eat him up!
          An' nen the Little Boy
He 'uz skeered worse'n ever! An' here come
The grea'-big Bear a-climbin' th' tree to git
The Little Boy an' eat him up—Oh, no!
It 'uzn't the Big Bear 'at clumb the tree—
It 'uz the Little Bear. So here he come
Climbin' the tree—an' climbin' the tree! Nen when
He git wite clos't to the Little Boy, w'y nen
The Little Boy he ist pulled up his gun
An' shot the Bear, he did, an' killed him dead!
An' nen the Bear he falled clean on down out
The tree—away clean to the ground, he did—
Spling-splung! he falled plum down, an' killed him, too!
An' lit wite side o' where the Big Bear's at.
An' nen the Big Bear's awful mad, you bet!—
'Cause—'cause the Little Boy he shot his gun
An' killed the Little Bear.—'Cause the Big Bear
He—he 'uz the Little Bear's Papa.—An' so here
He come to climb the big old tree an' git
The Little Boy an' eat him up! An' when
The Little Boy he saw the grea'-big Bear
A-comin', he uz badder skeered, he wuz,
Than any time! An' so he think he'll climb
Up higher—'way up higher in the tree
Than the old Bear kin climb, you know.—But he—
He can't climb higher 'an old Bears kin climb,—
'Cause Bears kin climb up higher in the trees
Than any little Boys in all the Wo-r-r-ld!
An' so here come the grea'-big-Bear, he did,—
A-climbin' up—an' up the tree, to git
The Little Boy an' eat him up! An' so
The Little Boy he clumbed on higher, an' higher,
An' higher up the tree—an' higher—an' higher—
An' higher'n iss-here house is!—An' here come
Th' old Bear—clos'ter to him all the time!—
An' nen—first thing you know,—when th' old Big Bear
Wuz wite clos't to him—nen the Little Boy
Ist jabbed his gun wite in the old Bear's mouf
An' shot an' killed him dead!—No; I fergot,—
He didn't shoot the grea'-big Bear at all—
'Cause they 'uz no load in the gun, you know—
'Cause when he shot the Little Bear, w'y, nen
No load 'uz anymore nen in the gun!
But th' Little Boy clumbed higher up, he did—
He clumbed lots higher—an' on up higher—an' higher
An' higher—tel he ist can't climb no higher,
'Cause nen the limbs 'uz all so little, 'way
Up in the teeny-weeny tip-top of
The tree, they'd break down wiv him ef he don't
Be keerful! So he stop an' think: An' nen
He look around—An' here come th' old Bear!
An' so the Little Boy make up his mind
He's got to ist git out o' there some way!—
'Cause here come the old Bear!—so clos't, his bref's
Purt 'nigh so's he kin feel how hot it is
Ag'inst his bare feet—ist like old "Ring's" bref
When he's ben out a-huntin' an's all tired.
So when th' old Bear's so clos't—the Little Boy
Ist gives a grea'-big jump fer 'nother tree—
No!—no he don't do that!—I tell you what
The Little Boy does:—W'y, nen—w'y, he—Oh, yes
The Little Boy he finds a hole up there
'At's in the tree
—an' climbs in there an' hides
An' nen th' old Bear can't find the Little Boy
At all!—But, purty soon th' old Bear finds
The Little Boy's gun 'at's up there—'cause the gun
It's too tall to tooked wiv him in the hole.
So, when the old Bear fin' the gun, he knows
The Little Boy's ist hid 'round somers there,—
An' th' old Bear 'gins to snuff an' sniff around,
An' sniff an' snuff around—so's he kin find
Out where the Little Boy's hid at.—An' nen—nen—
Oh, yes!—W'y, purty soon the old Bear climbs
'Way out on a big limb—a grea'-long limb,—
An' nen the Little Boy climbs out the hole
An' takes his ax an' chops the limb off!… Nen
The old Bear falls k-splunge! clean to the ground
An' bust an' kill hisse'f plum dead, he did!
An' nen the Little Boy he git his gun
An' 'menced a-climbin' down the tree ag'in—
No!—no, he didn't git his gun—'cause when
The Bear falled, nen the gun falled, too—An' broked
It all to pieces, too!—An' nicest gun!—
His Pa ist buyed it!—An' the Little Boy
Ist cried, he did; an' went on climbin' down
The tree—an' climbin' down—an' climbin' down!—
An'-sir! when he 'uz purt'-nigh down,—w'y, nen
The old Bear he jumped up ag'in—an' he
Ain't dead at all—ist 'tendin' thataway,
So he kin git the Little Boy an' eat
Him up! But the Little Boy he 'uz too smart
To climb clean down the tree.—An' the old Bear
He can't climb up the tree no more—'cause when
He fell, he broke one of his—he broke all
His legs!—an' nen he couldn't climb! But he
Ist won't go'way an' let the Little Boy
Come down out of the tree. An' the old Bear
Ist growls 'round there, he does—ist growls an' goes
"Wooh!—woo-ooh!" all the time! An' Little Boy
He haf to stay up in the tree—all night—
An' 'thout no supper neether!—On'y they
Wuz apples on the tree!—An' Little Boy
Et apples—ist all night—an' cried—an' cried!
Nen when 'tuz morning th' old Bear went "Wooh!"
Ag'in, an' try to climb up in the tree
An' git the Little Boy.—But he can't
Climb t'save his soul, he can't!—An' oh! he's mad!
He ist tear up the ground! an' go "Woo-ooh!"
An'—Oh, yes!—purty soon, when morning's come
All light—so's you kin see, you know,—w'y, nen
The old Bear finds the Little Boy's gun, you know,
'At's on the ground.—(An' it ain't broke at all—
I ist said that!) An' so the old Bear think
He'll take the gun an' shoot the Little Boy:—
But Bears they don't know much 'bout shootin' guns;
So when he go to shoot the Little Boy,
The old Bear got the other end the gun
Ag'in' his shoulder, 'stid o' th' other end—
So when he try to shoot the Little Boy,
It shot the Bear, it did—an' killed him dead!
An' nen the Little Boy clumb down the tree
An' chopped his old woolly head off:—Yes, an' killed
The other Bear ag'in, he did—an' killed
All boff the bears, he did—an' tuk 'em home
An' cooked 'em, too, an' et 'em!
                    —An' that's all.

By the way, Riley also wrote “A Bear Family” in his TheBook of Joyous Children which I might post here sometime, but that link lets you find it in Project Gutenberg's many Public Domain books.  I hope you go there often and also donate to their wonderful resource for Keeping The Public in 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!
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