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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Macmillan - Rainbow and the Autumn Leaves - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

The first trees turning to spectacular autumn colors had just begun here in Michigan, when summer temperatures decided to torture students stuck in school.  Those two trees on the road near my house are always earlier than all others, but I'm seeing the purple and golden wildflowers hiking with my dog, so I think it's time for this story even as it comes from further north in Canada where the season may come even a bit later. 
illustration from Canadian Fairy Tales by Marcia Lane Foster
Today's story comes from Cyrus Macmillan's Canadian Fairy Tales, but that 1922 title is misleading as it's from his collection of what would now be called First Nations tales.  Some of those First Nations include the same people in Michigan's Anishinaabe, but while Professor Macmillan did a thorough job of traveling and recording tales from the Micmac in the east and then proceeded over the prairies to the pacific coast, unfortunately he didn't identify the nations telling the stories.   The animals in this story are woodland animals and could easily fit in our own mitten-shaped state where today's borders don't match the traditional movement of our North American native people.

Linking animals with the start of  autumn is not unique to Canada's First Nations tales and even the blood of bear is attributed to the color change in the tale "Why the oaks and sumachs redden" in Katherine B. Judson's Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes told by the Meskwaki (named the Fox in the book).  The story is very bloody and is not the version I would tell, but that link lets you choose as it, too, is in the Public Domain. 
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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, September 7, 2019

'Tis the Season. . . no, not Christmas yet!

Last week, the Labor Day weekend, I said "Here in Michigan public schools, by law are not to start until after Labor Day, although a district can request a waiver.  That waiver has been increasingly requested.  The intent was to help our state's recreation and travel industry."

Michiganders have now returned to school, BUT that recreation and travel industry hasn't closed up for the year.  Not at all. Go to the state's official travel and tourism site, Pure Michigan, to see what I mean.  The current theme is "Fall in Real Time" complete with the usual categories to get you doing something.  Somehow nothing seems to catch everything.  You may want something specifically  local like the events section of the Oakland County Moms site which has been around since 2005.  Right now for autumn it also lists hayrides, cider mills, farmers markets, and is already looking ahead to Halloween.  Similarly the online version of the MetroParent newspaper found in libraries has a weekend event section for the metro Detroit and Southeast Michigan area separate from its calendar.  They even already have an article on  Best Fall Michigan Color Tour Spots . . .(listing both area parks and free drives).  It all can be a bit overwhelming although online searches should be able to link you up with something to do.  Newspapers, both the major dailies and the local versions, also list events and activities.

Thompson School on Fisk Farm grounds
For organizations wanting to inform people it's also a bit overwhelming.  A perfect example is this weekend I'll be part of the Fisk Farm Festival.  It's held annually by the White Lake Historical Society every year on the weekend after Labor Day.  Their very site is part of  Historical Society of Michigan's site.  H.S.M. has its own calendar, but the Fisk Farm Festival wasn't on it.  In fact the MetroParent event section is the only one where I found it. 

Then I remembered the local newspapers.  For White Lake think "Spinal Column"!  Yes, it's an unusual name for a newspaper, but their Popular Categories lists 16 events including the festival.  It's listing for the festival shows a hodgepodge of activities, crafts and craft booths, various entertainment, food, raffles, rummage sale (including a library book sale), pie eating contest, arts and crafts sale, living historians, pet adoptions, building tours -- in other words it's no wonder the Historical Society has a hard time figuring how to spread the word. 

While North Oakland County Storytellers started there, they no longer hold meetings, but will continue telling stories -- storytellers are like "herding cats", they don't always stay organized.  Carolyn Graves and I each will have sessions at the festival, possibly in the Thompson School, also long-time White Lake Historical Society member and promoter, Ron Hinman plans to teach how ropes were made on the farm.  The three of us keep history and storytelling living. 

Maybe you want to find even more.  Thompson School is called a One-Room School, but there's now a meeting room and some modernization beyond the classroom. The label of One-room Schools has been used many times here and, of all the sites about such schools, the one with the most to offer is One-Room Schoolhouse Center.  Like most large sites, some links have become inactive (to find old sites prowl the Wayback Machine's  https://web.archive.org/), but there's still a lot to be found and enjoy.