origin of the Pleiades, as mentioned a little over a month ago when I began this series. Beyond existing stories, I have my Mad Libs book of story starters to create a space story with audiences, as well as the
|From What the Moon Saw and Other Tales|
by Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator: A. W. Bayes and Brothers Dalziel (engravers)
https://hdl.handle.net/2027/njp.32101071957110?urlappend=%3Bseq=289 https://hdl.handle.net/2027/uva.x000457775?urlappend=%3Bseq=1038Those are from the HathiTrust Digital Library and you may download pdfs or even the entire book.
When I was tracking down the Hersholt version I called a library with a copy and the librarian fell in love with the story of a man born when the comet appears (and the superstitions about that) and dies the next time it appears. An older group could appreciate that Halley's Comet appeared in 1986 and will reappear in 2062 and all that happens in the 75 or 76 years between. It's a discussion starter for adults and teens and many libraries have Summer Reading Programs for more than just elementary school readers.
Beyond just stories I like to have handouts whenever possible for my audience to take home. I found this great picture from Simple Simon and Company:
They That Chase After The Bear
This version of the legend comes from William Jones' 1907 collection
of Mesquakie stories, Fox Texts.
It is said that once on a time long ago in the winter, at the
beginning of the season of snow after the first fall of snow, three
men went on a hunt for game early on a morning. Upon a hillside into
a place where the bush was thick a bear they trailed. One of the men
went in following the trail of the bear. And then he started it up
running. "Towards the place whence comes the cold is he speeding
away!" he said to his companions.
He that headed off on the side which lay towards the source of the
cold,"In the direction of the place of the noonday sky is he running!"
Back and forth amongst themselves they kept the bear fleeing. They
say that after a while he that was coming up behind chanced to look
down at the ground. Behold, green was the surface of the earth lying
face up! Now of a truth up into the sky were they conveyed by the
bear! When round about the bush they were chasing it then truly was
the time that up into the sky they went. And then he that came up
behind cried out to him that was next ahead: "O River-that-joins-
Another, let us go back! We are being carried up into the sky!" Thus
said he to River-that-joins-Another. But by him was he not heeded.
Now River-that-joins-Another was he who ran in between the two, and a
little puppy Hold-Tight he had for a pet.
In the autumn they overtook the bear, then they slew it. After they
had slain it, then boughs of the oak they cut, likewise boughs of the
sumac, then laying the bear on top of the leaves they flayed and cut
up the bear; after they had flayed and cut it up, then they began
slinging and scattering the meat in every direction. Towards the
place of the coming of the morning they flung the head; in the winter-
time when the morning is about to appear some stars usually rise; it
is said that they came from the head of the bear. And also his
backbone, towards the place of the morning they flung it too. They
too are commonly seen in the winter-time; they are stars that lie
huddled close together; it is said that they came from the backbone.
And they say that these four stars in the lead were the bear, and the
three stars at the rear were they who were chasing after the bear. In
between two of them is a tiny little star, it hangs near by another;
they say that it was the puppy, the pet Hold-Tight of River-that-
Every autumn the oaks and sumacs redden in the leaf because it is
then that the hunters lay the bear on top of the leaves and flay and
cut it up; then red with blood become the leaves. Such is the reason
why every autumn red become the leaves of the oaks and sumacs.
That is the end of the story.
There's a Pacific Northwest version from the Snohomish called
"Pushing Up the Sky" in Ella E. Clark's Indian Legends of the Pacific
Northwest that I've been unable to find a version in Public Domain.
In that version the people lift the sky shouting "Ya-hoh!" over and
over, but a few hunters missed the message about when it would happen
and wound up in the sky, too. The Fox were originally from the Great
Lakes area, so they are of interest here in Michigan even though the
largest number, along with the Sauk were relocated to Oklahoma
(that's definitely "a 'nother story!"), but you'll see they have
strong Midwestern roots. Stories travel and change a bit. I like to
start the story by getting the audience ready to lift the sky with a
"Ya-hoh!" and, now will explain it's told in two ways in two places
traveling just as happens in this story.
I follow the sky lifting story with the Iroquois story about the
Pleiades who dance into the sky. Like the Anne F. Rockwell picture
book version in The Dancing Stars, I have the mother bear welcome
them. I made a lullaby for her to sing. In each case I explain
this is my version after studying and falling in love with a story
as originating with those particular nations.
Here's something a bit different. Award-winning author, Aaron Shepard offers on his website something he rightly calls "Gifts of Story." There are stories from all over the world, often in reader's theater scripts, printable color posters, photo features, audio recordings, extended author notes, fun writing exercises, and alternate story versions. Back in 1996 he wrote "How Frog Went to Heaven; A Tale of Angola" for Australia's School Magazine and later adapted it for reader's theater (Gift of Story #28) complete with music. The story's fun for the audience and any young readers acting it out, but imagine my shock to find on his "Extras" , giving more information about the story, he said:
The song can be found with additional lyrics and music in full arrangement in Echoes of Africa in Folk Songs of the Americas, by Beatrice Landeck, David McKay Company, New York, 1961. My thanks to Lois Sprengnether for calling it to my attention.
! ! !All right that clearly dates back to the time before I "found my Keel in life", but it was great to email chat a bit with him after seeing that story, which also fits well in with these thematic offerings.
Here's one from the book. Finger Play motions are given in italics.
Moon RideDo you want to go up with me to the moon?
Point to friend, self, then to sky.
Let's get in our rocket ship and blast off soon!
Pretend to climb in ship. Swish hands quickly.
Faster and faster we reach to the sky,
Jump and reach.
Isn't it fun to be able to fly?
We're on the moon, now all take a look,
And gently sit down and I'll show you a book.
Sit down gently.
I often recommend Jackie Baldwin's Story-Lovers website now only reached through Archive.org's "Wayback Machine." People sometimes find the Wayback Machine a bit confusing, but you can get directly to suggestions of Sun, Moon, and Star Stories plus her book suggestions from back in 2009 at
https://web.archive.org/web/20160419211008/http://www.story-lovers.com/listssunmoonstarsstories.html. Most originated on the Storytell email list. Nowadays that list continues through the National Storytelling Network's sponsoring it, complete with an archive from when in 2013 they began hosting it.