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Saturday, November 16, 2019

This and that

This is what I have to remind myself
This week started out fooling our local weather forecasters as it looked like we would get an early, but relatively light blast of three inches.  Nope, try three times that!

My boy snoozing on his snow throne (yes, he has a den & is also welcome in & out of the house)
For lovers of this weather like my dog it's fine, but living high atop a "bunny slope" of a hill we finally got this week's mail on Thursday.  Monday was Veteran's Day so there was no mail, but the little that made it through today made me wonder what happened to that "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds"?

Wikipedia assures us  it's not the official creed of the U.S.Post Office.  For even more information, an article at Mental Floss goes into more than just the basics of how an observation by Herodotus became mixed up with our own expectations.  Watching a mail vehicle backing down my neighbor's hill after only getting half way up, it's definitely not reasonable to expect it.


For my own part I'm so relieved it came this week and not last week when we had the opening week of Clarkston Village Players' production of "The Great Gatsby."  We had a Benefit performance, plus the regularly scheduled evening performances on Friday and Saturday, plus a matinee.  All in all we'll do a dozen performances, (Good Lord Willing and the Snow Don't Rise).  Performances run until the final week of this month and we'd hate to have to miss any.

Woolly Bear Caterpillar. Photo by SillyPuttyEnemies/Wikimedia Commons.
We're more than a month away from the official start of winter, so I hope this doesn't mean it's the start of a long, hard winter.  I remember seeing a Wooly Bear Caterpillar that had a long brown stretch between its two black ends.  Wondering what, if anything, it may have predicted about the yet-to-come season, I went to "The Old Farmer's Almanac" online site for the definitive word on "Woolly Bear Caterpillars and Weather Prediction; Do Woolly Worms Really Predict Winter Weather?"

For What It's Worth, my Wooly Bear had a much longer brown area than the one in the Wikimedia photo.  I found the conclusion about what that said interesting.

Finally today I was able to get out with my dog for an overdue hour-long walk. 

Flint Public Library's classic book, Ring A Ring O'Roses has something warmer for those around young children.

Walking in the Snow

Let's go walking in the snow; Walk.
Walking, walking, on tiptoe. Tiptoe.
Lift your one foot way up high, Hop on one foot.
Then the other to keep it dry. Hop on the other foot.
All around the yard we skip; Skip.
Watch your step, or you might slip. Pretend to fall.

We definitely didn't skip through the woods and around the river walk at Independence Oaks Park, but we did hurry as the daylight rapidly faded.  We left the park one minute after its official closing time of six p.m.  Truly we were "the last dog home" and thanked the park employee who waited that extra minute in the below freezing "autumn" cold.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Stories and more about the Wind - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

It's commonly said "Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does a thing about it."  There's been plenty to talk about as the weather seems to have rushed the end of autumn and the start of winter.  Winds bringing colder than normal weather began even before Halloween and it promises to stay until at least November 20 and possibly to Thanksgiving.  They're even mentioning the "S" word to accumulate!  Summer is NOT the word anymore.

Thinking about this started me looking for stories about . . .

The WIND! 

Our winter weather comes down out of Canada, so it seems reasonable that today's story should come from there.  The tale comes from southern British Columbia's Thompson River people (as they were called at the time the story was recorded by the American Folklore Society in 1898) now called the Nlaka'pamux. The simplest form -- and most re-tellable form -- of it comes in Caroline Cunningham's The Talking Stone.
Like I said it's re-tellable and we all probably are wishing the Wind was so easily controlled.  (Well maybe not people wanting wind turbines to produce power.)

A later book by the same title was edited and the story retold by Dorothy deWit.  She called her story "The-Boy-Who-Snared-the-Wind and the Shaman's Daughter."  Her book is still in copyright, but she gave her source as "Traditions of the Thompson River Indians" in the Memoirs of the American Folklore Society, 1898.  Of course this made me want to see the original.  I'll give it here, but maybe you don't care to follow that academic route and just wanted an enjoyable tale of the wind.  If so, you may enjoy this bit of nursery verse:
(Found in various editions of My Book House, vol. 1 edited by Olive Beaupre Miller)

***
Now for those wanting the "rest of the story", it includes that mythic folk hero, Coyote, and a bit of explanation about an unusual word, the stsuq, follows after it.
  
***
If you're like me, you probably wondered "What the heck is a stsuq?" This is answered at the back of the book in the Notes section.

The Coyote version I just gave is considerably different from the version deWitt admits she retold.  To justify her version she cites yet another story which she blended with it.  Unfortunately copyright prevents me from giving it here.  Go to a library to borrow a copy if you're that curious.  Personally, knowing what a trickster Coyote traditionally is, I'm sure he would be amused.
Image by ArtTower from Pixabay
**********************
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/ 
           - Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
     
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, November 2, 2019

Fillmore - The Devil's Little Brother-in-Law - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This past week has been frustrating, with computer problems that seem to keep multiplying.  http://www.quotesvalley.com has a section of quotes on computers/ and here are two of the most appropriate:

and

with those ideas to guide me I went looking for appropriate stories.  The Shoemaker's Apron: A Second Book of Czechoslovak Fairy Tales and Folk Tales by Parker Fillmore has not one, two, or even three, but four tales about the devil and by going to https://www.gutenberg.org/ , even as my computer slowly tries to return my backed up data, I was able to bring today's story.  (That's the link for the whole book, so you can go there for the other three stories and the other non-devilish tales.)  I'll say a bit more about the book afterwards.  Unfortunately, since I couldn't scan the individual pages of my own book, the story proceeds without breaks making it a bit unwieldy.

One quick warning, the old Czechoslovakian belief has all devils appear black.  Politically correct?  No.  As someone telling the story today I might say blackened.  I notice, however, the Devil himself, as opposed to his lesser apprentice devils, is able to appear normal and then reveal his true blackened appearance.  The blackened coloring of the young man who goes to work for the Devil is easily explained within the story from his long seven years working in Hell.  It's similar to the appearance and fate of the main character in the Brothers Grimm's "Bear Skinner" and the Russian tale of "Never-Wash" I posted this summer.

THE DEVIL'S LITTLE BROTHER-IN-LAW

THE STORY OF A YOUTH WHO COULDN'T FIND WORK

devil and brother-in-law



THE DEVIL'S LITTLE BROTHER-IN-LAW

Once upon a time there was a youth named Peter. He was the son of a rich farmer but on his father's death his stepmother robbed him of his inheritance and drove him out into the world, penniless and destitute.
"Begone with you now!" she shouted. "Never let me see your face again!"
"Where shall I go?" Peter asked.
"Go to the Devil, for all I care!" the stepmother cried and slammed the door in his face.
Peter felt very sad at being driven away from the farm that had always been his home, but he was an able-bodied lad, industrious and energetic, and he thought he would have no trouble making his way in the world.
He tramped to the next village and stopped at a big farmhouse. The farmer was standing at the door, eating a great hunk of buttered bread.
Peter touched his hat respectfully and said:
"Let every one praise Lord Jesus!"
With his mouth stuffed full, the farmer responded:
"Until the Day of Judgment!" Then in a different tone he demanded: "What do you want?"
"I'm looking for work," Peter said. "Do you need a laborer?"
Peter was well dressed for he had on the last clothes his kind father had given him. The farmer looked him over and sneered.
"A fine laborer you would make! You would do good work at meals—I see that, and spend the rest of your time at cards and teasing the maids! I know your kind!"
Peter tried to tell the farmer that he was industrious and steady but with an oath the farmer told him to go to the Devil. Then stepping inside the house he slammed the door in Peter's face.
In the next village he applied for work at the bailiff's house. The bailiff's wife answered his knock.
"The master is playing cards with two of his friends," she said. "I'll go in and ask him if he has anything for you to do."
Peter heard her speak to some one inside and then a rough voice bellowed out:
"No! How often have I told you not to interrupt me when I'm busy! Tell the fellow to go to the Devil!"
Without waiting for the bailiff's wife, Peter turned away. Tired and discouraged he took a path into the woods and sat down.
"There doesn't seem to be any place for me in all the world," he thought to himself. "They all tell me to go to the Devil—my stepmother, the farmer, and now the bailiff. If I knew the way to hell I think I'd take their advice. I'm sure the Devil would treat me better than they do!"
Just then a handsome gentleman, dressed in green, walked by. Peter touched his hat politely and said:
"Let every one praise Lord Jesus."
The man passed him without responding. Then he looked back and asked Peter why he looked so discouraged.
"I have reason to look discouraged," Peter said. "Everywhere I ask for work they tell me to go to the Devil. If I knew the way to hell I think I'd take their advice and go."
The stranger smiled.
"But if you saw the Devil, don't you think you'd be afraid of him?"
Peter shook his head.
"He can't be any worse than my stepmother, or the farmer, or the bailiff."
The man suddenly turned black.
"Look at me!" he cried. "Here I am, the very person we've been talking about!"
With no show of fear Peter looked the Devil up and down.
Then the Devil said that if Peter still wished to enter his service, he would take him. The work would be light, the Devil said, and the hours good, and if Peter did as he was told he would have a pleasant time. The Devil promised to keep him seven years and at the end of that time to make him a handsome present and set him free.
Peter shook hands on the bargain and the Devil, taking him about the waist, whisked him up into the air, and, pst! before Peter knew what was happening, they were in hell.
The Devil gave Peter a leather apron and led him into a room where there were three big cauldrons.
"Now it's your duty," the Devil said, "to keep the fires under these cauldrons always burning. Keep four logs under the first cauldron, eight logs under the second, and twelve under the third. Be careful never to let the fires go out. And another thing, Peter: you're never to peep inside the cauldrons. If you do I'll drive you away without a cent of wages. Don't forget!"
So Peter began working for the Devil and the treatment he received was so much better than that which he had had on earth that, sometimes, it seemed to him he was in heaven rather than hell. He had plenty of good food and drink and, as the Devil had promised him, the work was not heavy.
For companions he had the young apprentice devils, a merry black crew, who told droll stories and played amusing pranks.
Time passed quickly. Peter was faithful at his work and never once peeped under the lids of his three cauldrons.
At last he began to grow homesick for the world and one day he asked the Devil how much longer he had still to serve.
"Tomorrow," the Devil told him, "your seven years are up."
The next day while Peter was piling fresh logs under the cauldrons, the Devil came to him and said:
"Today, Peter, you are free. You have served me faithfully and well and I am going to reward you handsomely. Money would be too heavy for you to carry, so I am going to give you this bag which is a magic bag. Whenever you open it and say: 'Bag, I need some ducats,' the bag will always have just as many as you need. Good luck go with you, Peter. However, I don't believe you'll have a very good time at first for people will think you're a devil. You know you do look pretty black for you haven't washed for seven years and you haven't cut your hair or nails."
"That's true," said Peter. "I just remember I haven't washed ever since I've been down here. I certainly must take a bath and get my hair cut and my nails trimmed."
The Devil shook his head.
"No, Peter, one bath won't do it. Water won't wash off the kind of black you get down here. I know what you must do but I won't tell you just yet. Go up into the world as you are and, if ever you need me, call me. If the people up there ask you who you are, tell them you're the Devil's little brother-in-law. This isn't a joke. It's true as you'll find out some day."
Peter then took leave of all the little black apprentices and the Devil, lifting him on his back, whisked him up to earth and set him down in the forest on exactly the same spot where they had met seven years before.
The Devil disappeared and Peter, stuffing the magic bag in his pocket, walked to the nearest village.
His appearance created a panic. On sight of him the children ran screaming home, crying out:
"The Devil! The Devil is coming!"
Mothers and fathers ran out of the houses to see what was the matter but on sight of Peter they ran in again, barred all the doors and windows, and making the sign of the cross prayed God Almighty to protect them.
Peter went on to the tavern. The landlord and his wife were standing in the doorway. As Peter came toward them, they cried out in fright:
"O Lord, forgive us our sins! The Devil is coming!"
They tried to run away but they tripped over each other and fell down, and before they could scramble to their feet Peter stood before them.
He looked at them for a moment and laughed. Then he went inside the tavern, sat down, and said:
"Landlord, bring me a drink!"
Quaking with fright the landlord went to the cellar and drew a pitcher of beer. Then he called the little herd who was working in the stable.
"Yirik," he said to the boy, "take this beer into the house. There's a man in there waiting for it. He's a little strange looking but you needn't be afraid. He won't hurt you."
Yirik took the pitcher of beer and started in. He opened the door and then, as he caught sight of Peter, he dropped the pitcher and fled.
The landlord scolded him angrily.
"What do you mean," he shouted, "not giving the gentleman his beer? And breaking the pitcher, too! The price of it will be deducted from your wages! Draw another pitcher of beer and place it at once before the gentleman."
Yirik feared Peter but he feared the landlord more. He was an orphan, poor lad, and served the landlord for his keep and three dollars a year.
So with trembling fingers he drew a pitcher of beer and then, breathing a prayer to his patron saint, he slowly dragged himself into the tavern.
"There, there, boy," Peter called out kindly. "You needn't be afraid. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm not the Devil. I'm only his little brother-in-law."
Yirik took heart and placed the beer in front of Peter. Then he stood still, not daring to raise his eyes.
Peter began asking him about himself, who he was, how he came to be working for the landlord, and what kind of treatment he was receiving. Yirik stammered out his story and as he talked he forgot his fear, he forgot that Peter looked like a devil, and presently he was talking to him freely as one friend to another.
Peter was touched by the orphan's story and, pulling out his magic money bag, he filled Yirik's cap with golden ducats. The boy danced about the room with delight. Then he ran outside and showed the landlord and the people who had gathered the present which the strange gentleman had made him.
"And he says he's not the Devil," Yirik reported, "but only his brother-in-law."
When the landlord heard that Peter really hadn't any horns or a flaming tongue, he picked up courage and going inside he begged Peter to give him, too, a few golden ducats. But Peter only laughed at him.
Peter stayed at the tavern overnight. Just as he fell asleep some one shook his hand and, as he opened his eyes, he saw his old master standing beside him.
"Quick!" the Devil whispered. "Get up and hurry out to the shed! The landlord is about to murder the orphan for his money."
Peter jumped out of bed and ran outside to the shed where Yirik slept. He burst open the door just as the landlord was ready to stab the sleeping boy with a dagger.
"You sinner!" Peter cried. "I've caught you at last! Off to hell you go with me this instant to stew forever in boiling oil!"
The landlord fainted with terror. Peter dragged him senseless into the house. When he came to himself he fell on his knees before Peter and begged for mercy. He offered Peter everything he possessed if only Peter would grant him another chance and he solemnly vowed that he would repent and give up his evil ways.
At last Peter said:
"Very well. I'll give you another chance provided that, from this time on, you treat Yirik as your son. Be kind to him and send him to school. The moment you forget your promise and treat him cruelly, I'll come and carry you off to hell! Remember!"
There was no need to urge the landlord to remember. From that night he was a changed man. He became honest in all his dealings and he really did treat Yirik as though he were his own son.
Peter stayed on at the tavern and stories about him and his golden ducats began to spread through the country-side. The prince of the land heard of him and sent word that he would like to see him at the castle. Peter answered the prince's messenger that if the prince wished to see him he could come to the tavern.
"Who is this prince of yours," Peter asked the landlord, "and why does he want to see me?"
"He'd probably like to borrow some money from you," the landlord said. "He's deep in debt for he has two of the wickedest, most extravagant daughters in the world. They're the children of his first marriage. They are proud and haughty and they waste the money of the realm as though it were so much sand. The people are crying out against them and their wasteful ways but the prince seems unable to curb them. The prince has a third daughter, the child of his second wife. Her name is Angelina and she certainly is as good and beautiful as an angel. We call her the Princess Linka. There isn't a man in the country that wouldn't go through fire and water for her—God bless her! As for the other two—may the Devil take them!"
Suddenly remembering himself, the landlord clapped his hand to his mouth in alarm.
Peter laughed good-humoredly.
"That's all right, landlord. Don't mind me. As I've told you before I'm not the Devil. I'm only his little brother-in-law."
The landlord shook his head.
"Yes, I know, but I must say it seems much the same to me."
One afternoon the prince came riding down to the tavern and asked for Peter. He was horrified at first by Peter's appearance, but he treated him most politely, invited him to the castle, and ended by begging the loan of a large sum of money.
Peter said to the prince:
"I'll give you as much money as you want provided you let me marry one of your daughters."
The prince wasn't prepared for this but he needed money so badly that he said:
"H'm, which one of them?"
"I'm not particular," Peter answered. "Any of them will do."
When he gave the prince some money in advance, the prince agreed and Peter promised to come to the castle the next day to meet his bride to be.
The prince when he got home told his daughters that he had seen Peter. They questioned him about Peter's appearance and asked him what sort of a looking person this brother-in-law of the Devil was.
"He isn't so very ugly," the prince said, "really he isn't. If he washed his face and trimmed his hair and nails he'd be fairly good-looking. In fact I rather like him."
He then talked to them very seriously about the state of the treasury and he told them that unless he could raise a large sum of money shortly there was danger of an uprising among the people.
"If you, my daughters, wish to see the peace of the country preserved, if you want to make me happy in my old age, one of you will have to marry this young man, for I see no other way to raise the money."
At this the two older princesses tossed their heads scornfully and laughed loud and long.
"You may rest assured, dear father, that neither of us will marry such a creature! We are the daughters of a prince and won't marry beneath us, no, not even to save the country from ruin!"
"Then I don't know what I'll do," the prince said.
"Father," whispered Linka, the youngest. Her voice quavered and her face turned pale. "Father, if your happiness and the peace of the country depend on this marriage, I will sacrifice myself, God help me!"
"My child! My dear child!" the prince cried, taking Linka in his arms and kissing her tenderly.
The two elder sisters jeered and ha-ha-ed.
"Little sister-in-law of the Devil!" they said mockingly. "Now if you were to marry Prince Lucifer himself that would be something, for at least you would be a princess! But only to be his sister-in-law—ha! ha!—what does that amount to?"
And they laughed with amusement and made nasty evil jokes until poor little Linka had to put her hands to her ears not to hear them.
The next day Peter came to the castle. The older sisters when they saw how black he was were glad enough they had refused to marry him. As for Linka, the moment she looked at him she fainted dead away.
When she revived the prince led her over to Peter and gave Peter her hand. She was trembling violently and her hand was cold as marble.
"Don't be afraid, little princess," Peter whispered to her gently. "I know how awful I look. But perhaps I won't always be so ugly. I promise you, if you marry me, I shall always love you dearly."
Linka was greatly comforted by the sound of his pleasant voice, but each time she looked at him she was terrified anew.
Peter saw this and made his visit short. He handed out to the prince as much money as he needed and then, after agreeing to return in eight days for the wedding, he hurried off.
He went to the place where he had met the Devil the first time and called him by name with all his might.
The Devil instantly appeared.
"What do you want, little brother-in-law?"
"I want to look like myself again," Peter said. "What good will it do me to marry a sweet little princess and then have the poor girl faint away every time she looks at me!"
"Very well, brother-in-law. If that is how you feel about it, come along with me and I'll soon make you into a handsome young man."
Peter leaped on the Devil's back and off they flew over mountains and forests and distant countries.
They alighted in a deep forest beside a bubbling spring.
"Now, little brother-in-law," the Devil said, "wash in this water and see how handsome you'll soon be."
Peter threw off his clothes and jumped into the water and when he came out his skin was as beautiful and fresh as a girl's. He looked at his own reflection in the spring and it made him so happy that he said to the Devil:
"Brother-in-law, I'm more grateful to you for this than for all the money you've given me. Now my dear Linka will love me!"
He put his arms about the Devil's neck and off they flew once again. This time they went to a big city where Peter bought beautiful clothes and jewels and coaches and horses. He engaged servants in fine livery and, when he was ready to go to his bride, he had a following that was worthy of any prince.
At the castle the Princess Linka paced her chamber pale and trembling. The two older sisters were with her, laughing heartlessly and making evil jokes, and running every moment to the window to see if the groom were coming.
At last they saw in the distance a long line of shining coaches with outriders in rich livery. The coaches drew up at the castle gate and from the first one a handsome youth, arrayed like a prince, alighted. He hurried into the castle and ran straight upstairs to Linka's chamber.
At first Linka was afraid to look at him for she supposed he was still black. But when he took her hand and whispered: "Dear Linka, look at me now and you won't be frightened," she looked and it seemed to her that Peter was the very handsomest young man in all the world. She fell in love with him on sight and I might as well tell you she's been in love with him ever since.
The two older sisters stood at the window frozen stiff with envy and surprise. Suddenly they felt some one clutch them from behind. They turned in fright and who did they see standing there but the Devil himself!
"Don't be afraid, my dear brides," he said. "I'm not a common fellow. I'm Prince Lucifer himself. So, in becoming my brides you are not losing rank!"
Then he turned to Peter and chuckled.
"You see now, Peter, why you are my brother-in-law. You're marrying one sister and I'm taking the other two!"
With that he picked up the two wicked sisters under his arm and puff! with a whiff of sulphur they all three disappeared through the ceiling.
The Princess Linka as she clung to her young husband asked a little fearfully:
"Peter, do you suppose we'll have to see our brother-in-law often?"
"Not if you make me a good wife," Peter said.
And you can understand what a good wife Linka became when I tell you that never again all her life long did she see the Devil.
***********
Yes, the youngest daughter and her two wicked sisters is a familiar traditional touch in this tale that could be said to end justly for the wicked and "happily ever after for Peter and Linka."

This story only opens with a picture from Jan Matulka, but his work in this book and in the earlier Czechoslovak Fairy Tales by Parker Fillmore is worth seeing.  That link is from Wikipedia, but a search under his name will show he has much more to be found.

As for the book itself, Fillmore explains:
The stories in this volume are all of Czech, Moravian, and Slovak origin, and are to be found in many versions in the books of folk tales collected by Erben, Nemcova, Kulda, Dobsinsky, Rimavsky, Benes-Trebizsky, Miksicek. I got them first by word of mouth and afterwards hunted them out in the old books. My work has been that of retelling rather than translating since in most cases I have put myself in the place of a storyteller who knows several forms of the same story, equally authentic, and from them all fashions a version of his own. It is of course always the same story although told in one form to a group of children and in another form to a group of soldiers. The audience that I hope particularly to interest is the English-speaking child.
I also like Fillmore's concluding comment of "Besides its fairy tales and folk tales the present volume contains a cluster of charming little nursery tales and a group of rollicking devil tales."

Rollicking indeed.  The closest I've found are two highly enjoyable books by Natalie Babbitt, The Devil's Storybook and The Devil's Other Storybook, which now can also be found in a combined volume.  Don't let the subtitle calling them "delightfully wicked stories" keep you away.

Well I may have had to work around my computer problems for today's story, but it all started by going to Fillmore's (and Babbitt's) books.
*************************
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/ 
           - Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
     
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 26, 2019

Williston - Shippeitaro - Keeping the Public Domain

Today's story, like the two before it is a classic tale found in Frances G. Wickes' Happy Holidays, BUT you will notice the author listed in today's title is Williston.  Wickes credited and gave the text exactly as Teresa Peirce Williston published it in her Japanese Fairy Tales, but the Happy Holidays publisher's limitations on Gertrude Kay to one small black and white illustration misses the beautiful way the story is presented in Japanese Fairy Tales with full color illustrations by Sanchi Ogawa.  What little is known of Williston and Ogawa and more about the story can be saved until after seeing it, except for one bit, the pronunciation of our title character, Shippeitaro.

I'm so glad Williston included, "A Guide to Pronunciation"!  When names of people and places are from another language are used in a story it's such a help.  Rather than save it to the end, you should know Shippeitaro, is pronounced Shpay-tah-row.  (I added the "w" to show it's a "long o", there's also a "long a" in the first syllable and an umlaut over the second "a", but their pronunciation seems clear enough.  I underscored the middle syllable to show it gets the main stress.  All that's missing is the "music" of pronunciation by a Japanese speaker, but this lets you come closer.) 













These three stories given these past three weeks are found in Wickes' Happy Holidays along with the tale of "Wait Till Martin Comes."  All deserve to be kept in the Public Domain.  Just this past week I told "Wait Till Martin Comes" when students asked for a spooky story.  I had already opened my programs, which had the theme of "friends" with a story told in voice and sign language, so in the two instances where time permitted I asked what they wanted and I chose it specifically because it tied the program back to its beginning, letting me add to the drama by telling it in voice and sign, plus it wasn't as scary as some stories.

Similarly I find "Shippeitaro" seems to be a less scary version of a story I love to tell, "The Boy Who Drew Cats" as told by Lafcadio Hearn.  Waaaay back in October of 2014 I posted that story.  Hearn's source is quoted as being "The Picture-Cats and the Rat", but Hearn gave his own spooky touches and a different ending from the traditional one of the boy going back to become the abbot of his temple. Would I tell the two in the same program unless I was specifically using it as an example of their similarity?  No, but I might use it specifically when a less scary story was needed.  When a group of children are an audience and the request for scary stories is made without prior agreement, peer pressure and the inability to leave make it unwise to tell something very scary which some children may not be ready to handle.

As for our author, I could find nothing about Williston, herself, except that she also collected a second series as this initial book was so well received.  In each case she thanked a Mr. Katayama of Tokyo for his "great assistance in collecting these stories."  Her only other book is Hindu Tales Retold.  For both the first and second collection of Japanese Fairy Tales she stressed the importance of her illustrator, Sanchi Ogawa, in bringing the tales to life as vividly as possible.  We actually know more about him than Williston for she tells us he "is a native of Japan and a graduate of the Imperial Art School of Tokyo and combines the Japanese artistic instinct and classic tradition with a knowledge of American ideas and methods."

That wraps up a busy month on the road storytelling and next month I have reason to stay very close to home, but still busy.  I'll let it influence my choice of stories, but more about that next week.
*************************
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/ 
           - Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
     
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!


Monday, October 21, 2019

Wickes - The Queer Company - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Two weeks ago I presented another "classic" spooky tale from the anthology by Frances G. Wickes, Happy Holidays.  Today's story was supposed to be published on schedule while I was on the road storytelling.  I just discovered I didn't get it out because I skipped one small step!  My apologies.

This story is also found in Joseph Jacobs' English Fairy Tales under the title of "The Strange Visitor."  Jacobs offers some important differences that I'll mention after the story and then, to make it more friendly for the youngest listeners, another idea will be given by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey from her Firelight Stories.





That last part is usually shouted out and aimed at the most vulnerable member of the audience.  It fits in a category of spooky tale called a "jump story" because it's meant to make the audience jump. 

I mentioned the story could be found under the title of "The Strange Visitor" in Joseph Jacobs' English Fairy Tales with some differences.  Jacobs uses the refrain of "Aih-h-h! -- late -- and wee-e-e moul" for every other answer by the Strange Visitor and Jacobs candidly confessed to not having the slightest idea what it meant, but it was in his original source, The Nursery Rhymes of Scotland by W. Chambers, published in 1842 and it was accepted by Jacobs' young listeners.  He further suggests "The prosaic-minded may substitute 'Up-late-and-little-food.' " Perhaps, but Wickes omits it and gives a more streamlined response.  Jacobs also gives directions as to how the Visitor sounds with his responses -- to just see his version of the tale go to https://americanliterature.com/author/joseph-jacobs/fairy-tale/the-strange-visitor
 and you will see that final answer is "FOR YOU!" and the teller is directed:
(At the top of the voice, with a wave of the arm and a stamp of the feet.")
To make it less frightening for the youngest listeners, Carolyn Sherwin Bailey in her Firelight Stories changed the ending ever so slightly so that after the Strange Visitor talks about his pumpkin head and the little old woman asks, "What did you come for?" she has this ending instead:
"TO KEEP YOU COMPANY," said Somebody, as he danced about the kitchen.
          So the little old woman was not lonely any more.

I leave it to you and your audience to decide what you find more appropriate.


Additionally last week I said I would give a bit more information about the illustrator, Gertrude  Kay, for this story and last week's story from Frances G. Wickes' Happy Holidays.  While neither of the two tales show all she was able to do, there is an interesting article about how she not only was a student of the famous author/illustrator, Howard Pyle and his slightly less famous sister, Katherine, who was also an author/illustrator, but Gertrude was also successfully an early 20th century illustrator in the male-dominated world of commercial illustration.

An excellent article about her and several samples of her usually colorful illustrations can be found at Illustration Art Solutions.com, which also mentions her travels in China and Japan and then, after that, to other lands.  Those first travels began right about the time Happy Holidays was published, so I can imagine how much she would have loved to do more with next week's Japanese story, "Shippeitaro."  Her samples include several from China and Japan.  The publisher of Happy Holidays kept the book's cost down by sticking to black and white illustrations even on those that were full page.

In looking at the source for next week's story, Teresa Peirce Williston, I decided it would be a shame to omit the illustrations in Williston's Japanese Fairy Tales, by Sanchi Ogawa.  The story Wickes presents faithfully enough, but Williston's telling of the story benefits immensely from Ogawa's illustrations.  I hope you'll see what I mean when I post it next week.
*********************************************
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/ 
           - Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
     
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!