Tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see. (Contact: LoiS-sez@LoiS-sez.com .)
Please also let others know about this site.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Jacobs - The Stars in the Sky - Keeping the Public In Public Domain

I said I might give some stories I won't be telling, but match the Summer Reading theme of "A Universe of Stories."  Libraries are using it to mark the 50th anniversary of the first manned walk on the moon.  Last week's the Iroquois "Dancing Stars" is what I will use for stars, moving on to other topics such as eclipses, which I have a great Korean tale, but it's not public domain and unable to be posted online.

Today's selection is a lovely little tale with Scottish roots that would be great to revisit this summer at the annual Highland Games as the "tiny lassie" wants something from the sky she can never get...the stars to play with!  Doesn't that sound like the impossible desires of children you know and love?!?

In his notes, Jacobs notes that the story is originally told in "broad Scots, which I have anglicized."  It does retain the Scottish feeling, but the storyteller needs to decide if words like "clomb" for "climbed" and the greeting of "gooden to ye" should be explained or if it's better to substitute.




It reminds me of a modern tale, Many Moons by James Thurber.  It is possibly in Public Domain as a musical comedy since this statement is at Many Moons - Thurber & Slobodkin
Prior to the writing of the book Many Moons, Thurber collaborated with other members of Ohio State University’s Scarlet Mask Club in 1922 to create Many Moons: A Musical Comedy in Two Acts (AbeBooks.com). In a letter to Herman and Dorothy Miller on 28 May, 1943, Thurber writes that the children's book has “no relation to the Scarlet Mask play of the same name—1923)” (Kinney, p.355). An image of a first edition copy of the musical is below (image retrieved from Abebooks):
Thurber's own claim of the story version having "no relation" to the play, however, means I'll not be posting it here.  That link, however, is part of a larger site on the book illustrated by Louis Slobodkin that won the Caldecott award in 1943 for best picture book.  The more recent 1998 version by Marc Simont
is probably more suited to today's children even though their parents probably grew up with the award winner.  I love Slobodkin's work for other books, but think the award shows how picture books have changed over the years.  The Caldecott is given for the artwork, but it must accompany a worthy story.  Many Moons is.  Grab a copy of each and draw your own conclusions.  By the way, the site about Thurber/Slobodkin also gives, among other things, the many translations.  I'd love to experience the two Braille editions!

While looking up information on Many Moons I stumbled upon Teaching Children Philosophy .  Don't let the site's name turn you off as it gives some interesting questions about feelings, wisdom, and perception.

That's all for today, but I'm adding somebody new to the "fine print" of online sources.  My friend and, at least as crazy, colleague, Csenge, doesn't give the actual stories on her site, but it's an excellent way to go "Following Folktales Around the World. "  She has worked her way through various continents, taking a book she recommends for each country and telling you about the story or stories she loves best in the book.  Like my comment about Many Moons, it's an excellent way to find new material you may enjoy and enjoy re-telling.
*************************************************
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, February 9, 2019

Beauchamp - Origin of the Pleiades - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

On a wintry day it's good to think ahead to Summer Reading which this year, for those using the Collaborative Summer Library Program, has a theme of "A Universe of Stories."  I love telling nature stories and used many on astronomy back in 2014.  In looking at that material I'm still weighing what will return and what will fade in the sunset since there's only so much time.  (When I was still a children's librarian I needed something new every week, so I'm considering giving some stories here in future weeks not fitting my own needs, but still are fun for audiences.)

The winter sky gives a good view of the Pleiades.  That Wikipedia link shows they're well covered by folklore around the world.  It also shows differing numbers within the star cluster, but I'm fondest of the stories told within the Iroquois Confederation which start with seven dancing boys, but only six are in the sky.  The Confederation or Haudenosaunee, meaning People of the Longhouse, have variations told within those longhouses of long ago.

Today's version comes the closest to the way I tell it, but I have a few variations on it.  I'll give one at the end since it happens there, but here's something I do before I tell it.  I usually say there were seven brothers and, while it's unlikely any parents would plan on having seven children, IF there were seven in a family they might have named each in a way that matches something we know that has seven.  What is that?  It may take a bit, but eventually we all agree there are seven days of the week and I have them dancing and whirling to their names of "Sunday, Monday, Tuesday..."  I judge by the audience whether or not we dare have the kids whirl or just me, but they do join in on the boys chanting their names as they dance since my programs use a lot of audience participation.

My version starts with the boys.
That story came from the Journal of American Folklore as originally published in 1900.  If you want to find many stories about the "Origin of the Pleiades" footnote 71, at the end of Stith Thompson's reprinting it in Folk Tales of the North American Indians gives an incredible number, including the way it was recorded here in my home area of Michigan by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft.

I mentioned there's a bit of an addition I make at the end of the story.  The Seneca, also members of the Confederation, in Arthur C. Parker's Seneca Myths & Folk Tales tell about how in the springtime a tiny green shoot grew in the spot where the "falling star" landed.  It grew tall into the first pine, speaking with its branches to his mother and his brothers in the sky.

By the way, falling or shooting stars are actually meteors, and the rock that lands is a meteorite, so the story covers more than one topic.  I also tie it in to constellations, letting Ursa Major, the Big Bear, guide them into their place with a lullaby to help them feel at home.  Some of the versions have the Moon helping, but, of course, I explain the lullaby is my own idea of how she did it.


Do you see why I mention the variations?  Stories change a bit, whether told in the longhouse or your house.

Aside from loving Native American "pourquois" tales, I find Greek and Roman mythology for astronomy offer some not overly kid-friendly tales of the gods and people.  Look up Ursa, both major and minor, to see what I mean.  Definitely meant for a different audience.  Native American Sky Legends Teacher's Guide gives a good bibliography of anthologies from 1976 through the rest of the twentieth century.

Anne Rockwell did a simple but good retelling of the Iroquois story in her picture book, The Dancing Stars.
As the summer theme for many libraries proclaims, there's a Universe of Stories.  Whether you want something astronomical or otherwise scientific to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first human on the moon in 1969 or just want to read folktales online, I hope you will try some of the websites listed below in my "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!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Fielde - A Dreadful Boar - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Back at the end of 2018 I celebrated the regular New Year with a story, "Misapplied Wit", by today's author, Adele M. Fielde taking place during the New Year celebration.  I foolishly said "Stories about the New Year aren't plentiful.  This Chinese story mentions the New Year and I probably should save it for Chinese New Year, but you can always celebrate that with whatever celestial animal is the topic."

Yeahrightsure.

There are indeed lots of stories about pigs, but I wanted a Chinese story since this coming week is the start of the Chinese Lunar Year with all its celebrating and this year dedicated to the pig, or to be more precise the Brown Earth Pig, which also happens to be female.  Hunh?  To learn more than you probably want to know go to Chinese Fortune Calendar and wallow in the information.  That site has quite a bit to say about the coming lunar year and its timing, but the characteristics of the Pig are what I found most interesting.
Pig is the last animal sign of 12 Earthly Branches. Pig is in the Water group according to Chinese Five Element theory. Water is related to wisdom. Pig is connected to river or running water. Pig has wisdom, initiative and energy. Pig is not lazy. Pig Month is November, the first month of the winter. So Pig is the cold water in the winter. In Chinese I-Ching, Water is connected to the danger. When river water is overflowing, it might cause flooding. The sign of Pig is offensive and encroachment. Pig contains mainly Yang Water with some Yang Wood. Yang Wood is related to tall tree, landmark, boss or leader. The characteristics of Pig are kind, generous, magnanimous, warm-hearted and considerate with Leadership skill.
I have to say stories about pigs or even wild boars (today's story) are very hard to find in English stories with one notable exception.  At the risk of being a Bore, I'm going to talk about that exception after today's story.  In the same book as "Misapplied Wit", Chinese Fairy Tales, also known in an earlier edition as Chinese Nights' Entertainment, Fielde has a wild boar (with an "a") cause all manner of grief to a little old Chinese grandmother.  The old lady's crying shows what can happen if you keep asking for help.  The chaos that follows has been told in many forms in other cultures, but this version does it most thoroughly.
Don't cry; check out "Misapplied Wit"

It's commonly said there's "no use crying over spilled milk", but that old lady's tears were certainly worth crying.  O.k. she didn't get a Boar's Head dinner, but neither was her granddaughter Boar's dinner.

Now at the risk of boring you if you've never heard of the 16th century Chinese folk novel, Monkey or by its other name of Journey to the West, there is a famous Chinese pig character I would have liked to bring here.  Pigsy is a fellow traveler with Monkey in Wu Cheng 'en's folk novel, which has many translations, most notably by Arthur Waley, who abridged it mainly by omitting the poetry, leaving 30 of the 100 original episodes.  The name, Pigsy, is one of Waley's several renamings of the main characters.  As the study guide for Monkey:A Folk Novel of ChinaGradesaver, says "It has been adapted numerous times -- in film, plays, anime, etc."

Gradesaver describes Pigsy as: Originally a marshal of the Heavenly armies, Pigsy was sent by Buddha to wait for Tripitaka and his disciples, and disguised himself as the wife of Blue Orchid. Rather unintelligent, upon his reincarnation, Pigsy accidentally took the wrong road and entered the womb of a sow, giving him his distinctive appearance. His weapon of choice is a nine-toothed rake; in addition, Pigsy can ride clouds, perform 36 transformations, and has a voracious appetite. He is also relentlessly teased by Monkey and seeks to revenge himself on these small offenses – but all of his plans backfire in some way.
In the end, Pigsy is also promoted to the status of Cleaner of Altars, which will give him the opportunity to eat all the offerings left by worshippers but not eaten by deities -- the perfect job for him. He is seen as accepting and optimistic, but rather pig-like in his lust, gluttony, and laziness.
Gradesaver also calls both Pigsy and another character, Sandy, "extensive dramatic irony in Monkey in the misunderstandings that occur between the four travelers and those who are there to help them, but appear to be monsters at first. "   For a slightly more earthy description of how he became a pig, and his bad behavior, go to Wikepedia's article on Journey to the West.  There are copies available at Internet Archive, some even in English, showing some of the range of versions.

Why am I mentioning all of this?  No, it's not today's story as I haven't found an English language version yet in Public Domain, but know graphic novels and Beijing Folk Opera productions loaded with fantastic gymnastics have brought this famous Chinese pig who traveled with Monkey plenty of attention.  I hope you also travel to see a performance of it sometime -- whatever lunar year it is.
Now for my usual "fine print" about Public Domain and resources I recommend online:
**************************************
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!