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Friday, January 22, 2021

Oxford Library Program + Hutchinson - Travels of a Fox - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This coming Friday you might want either to go to the Oxford Public Library (Michigan)   at 2 p.m. for an intimate Fireside Chat or sign up for the virtual presentation of "The Civil War from the Homefront", to signup, as I bring Liberetta Lerich Green alive from the Oxford Cemetery, where several of her family are buried.  It's part of the library's two months of programs on Michigan in the Civil War.  

They own today's story and the classic book where it originates, Chimney Corner Stories, by Veronica S. Hutchinson along with her other three anthologies,  which form a basic collection of "nursery tales."  Her books are intended for preschoolers and primary grades with stories that should be known by all young children.  The other books are: Chimney Corner Fairy Tales (1926), Fireside Stories (1927), and Candle-light Stories (1927).  Hutchinson also produced two books of poetry selections, Chimney Corner Poems (1929) and Fireside Poems (1930).  It's hard to find information about her, but "Library Journal" of October 1914 lists her as a graduate of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Training School for Children's Librarians who was hired as Assistant Children's Librarian for the Cleveland Public Library.  Today's story is from a book that has just become Public Domain.  I look forward to the next two years bringing each of her anthologies into the Public Domain as they are true classics.  I recommend them to anyone with young children in their family or working with that age group.

To show how Chimney Corner Stories has the basics, here are the contents and all but today's story and possibly "Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar" and "The Cock, the Mouse, and the Little Red Hen" are well known.  The stories are: Henny Penny; The Old Woman and Her Pig; The Pancake; The Three Bears; The Three Billy Goats Gruff; Peter Rabbit; The Three Pigs; The Little Red Hen and the Grain of Wheat; Little Black Sambo (nowadays he is portrayed as being from India, but the illustration and the names of his parents needs to be discussed); The Cock, the Mouse, and the Little Red Hen; today's story; Lazy Jack; Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar; The Elves and the Shoemaker; Bremen Town Musicians; and Cinderella.  While I dislike the stereotypical illustration of Sambo's "Black Mumbo" and "Black Jumbo", the illustrations are by the multiple award winning Lois Lenski, whose Wikipedia article includes a section on  "Controversies and criticism".  To give a good overview of the book's style, I am showing the title page.

"Travels of a Fox" is a great story for teaching how to predict what will happen next -- a basic educational skill -- as well as an interesting bit of nonsense.

Let's let this less well-known story speak for itself. 








I love the Fox going to see "Squintum's", but believe that rascally Fox was a bit of a con.  He knew curiosity almost guarantees opening the bag.  Of course we know no Fox could put the Ox in a bag and throw it over his shoulder.  Personally I like foxes, so while this "wicked old Fox" got what he deserved, the story is definitely a bit of childlike nonsense.

***************************

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 the late 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!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Landa - The Quarrel of the Cat and the Dog - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I have no wish to offer partisan politics, but recently ran across a quote from Winston Churchill saying, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”

For some time I've kept this comment from Morgan Freeman:


In that spirit I went looking through the 15 books I own that this year entered the Public Domain.  Starting alphabetically with Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, I have two books newly Public Domain and the first, In the Animal World, right away grabbed my attention when I saw her section, "Of Cats and Dogs."  Bailey's Table of Contents gives the author of  "The Quarrel of the Cat and the Dog", as Gertrude Landa and her acknowledgements say the book is Jewish Legends.  Actually that's not quite correct as the book is titled Jewish Fairy Tales and Legends and that link would take you to Project Gutenberg to read the entire book, including today's story.  It seems a metaphor for the current lack of political unity in the United States, but it's also a story cat and dog lovers can appreciate for itself.




I know there are cats and dogs able to live together, but it's rare enough to be noteworthy.

Photo by Lynda B on Unsplash

If some pets are able to live together, now is the time to show citizens and politicians are able to do at least as well.

***********************

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 the late 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, January 9, 2021

Heath - Bird That Forgot to Sing - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I'm feeling a bit like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, calling out "I'm late!  I'm late!"  There are many reasons I am slightly overdue (the librarian in me makes a <GASP!>), but this story from Janet Field Heath in the book with the unlikely name of The Hygienic Pig and Other Stories fits it well.  Here it is and further comments can follow.


The metro Detroit weather forecaster tells us we are currently in the time when the winter temperatures, on average, are at their coldest.  I certainly hope so.  There have certainly been colder winters, but it always seems too long.  Hikes in the woods seem quiet and missing birdsong.  Still, as I chipped away what looked like snow, but was really ice with a snow topping, it was great to hear the few birds remaining in our frozen land singing back and forth to each other.  I know scientifically birdsong sometimes is not a form of expressing happiness, but territoriality. Lovers of birdsong and observers of birds, whether from a window or outside,   will appreciate the site Wild Bird Watching and their article, "Why Birds Sing?  Are They Just Happy?" which explains it is not just asserting territory.  


I chose this book, not just for its story, but because this is one of 15 books I own now in the Public Domain.  That link celebrates a year now freely available to all of us to reprint, sing, and view.  Having recently appeared in the dramatized form of The Great Gatsby, I applaud its availability, along with songs like "Always" by Irving Berlin, which seems appropriate.  Silent films of Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton can now be freely examined, too.  As a lover of the Public Domain, who hates the 20 year delay U.S. copyrights endured to keep the works alive for the public, I cheer!  Maybe that's why this year the book Nick by Michael Farris Smith has just been published.  It looks at the narrator of The Great Gatsby before meeting Gatsby.  Having the freedom to now consider F. Scott Fitzgerald's work freely, I find myself hoping Smith goes on to consider a bit further, offering us a look beyond Fitzgerald.  This is a perfect example of how permitting works into the Public Domain  enriches our world.


********************************************

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 the late 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!

Friday, January 1, 2021

Ransome - Who Lived in the Skull? - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

As we enter 2021, I resolved to respond to a reaction to last year's posting of a story from Arthur Ransome's book Old Peter's Russian Tales.  Thanks, Jeannie!  Comments are moderated here, but also my email's posted here and have a page on Facebook where both this site and personal notes appear.  In the past week I read the title of a story in Ransome's book and that it was humorous.  Hmmm.  Checked the book and didn't see it.  Thought a Bear was in the title.  Looked at a short story there and believe I found it!  My book is a 1971 edition of the 1916 book. I also love his note to the 1938 edition, saying:

Fashions change in stories of adventure, but fairy stories (especially those in which there are no fairies or hardly any) live for ever, with a life of their own which depends very little on the mere editors (like me) who pass them on.

Because the illustrations in my edition are under copyright, I went to the 100% Public Domain edition on Gutenberg.org and discovered it includes illustrations, some in color, by Dmitri Mitrokin.  What it doesn't include is any difference in today's title except my edition's illustration.  The title remains the same!  I guess I'll just have to chalk it up to my memory.  That is, after all, a part of the folk process as stories travel from one storyteller to another.  (After the story I will give a modern example of the story which actually is quite sensible.)  My copy of Ransome's story opens with a horse skull illustration having a mouse atop it.  Can't give that, but will open with a photograph of a real horse skull.

Museum of Veterinary Anatomy FMVZ USP / name of the photographer when stated, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


WHO LIVED IN THE SKULL?

Decorative Image

Once upon a time a horse's skull lay on the open plain. It had been picked clean by the ants, and shone white in the sunlight.

Little Burrowing Mouse came along, twirling his whiskers and looking at the world. He saw the white skull, and thought it was as good as a palace. He stood up in front of it and called out,—

"Little house, little house! Who lives in the little house?"

No one answered, for there was no one inside.

"I will live there myself," says little Burrowing Mouse, and in he went, and set up house in the horse's skull.

Croaking Frog came along, a jump, three long strides, and a jump again.

"Little house, little house! Who lives in the little house?"

"I am Burrowing Mouse; who are you?"

"I am Croaking Frog."

"Come in and make yourself at home."

So the frog went in, and they began to live, the two of them together.

Hare Hide-in-the-Hill came running by.

"Little house, little house! Who lives in the little house?"

"Burrowing Mouse and Croaking Frog. Who are you?"

"I am Hare Hide-in-the-Hill."

"Come along in."

So the hare put his ears down and went in, and they began to live, the three of them together.

Then the fox came running by.

"Little house, little house! Who lives in the little house?"

"Burrowing Mouse and Croaking Frog and Hare Hide-in-the-Hill. Who are you?"

"I am Fox Run-about-Everywhere."

"Come along in; we've room for you."

So the fox went in, and they began to live, the four of them together.

Then the wolf came prowling by, and saw the skull.

"Little house, little house! Who lives in the little house?"

"Burrowing Mouse, and Croaking Frog, and Hare Hide-in-the-Hill, and Fox Run-about-Everywhere. Who are you?"

"I am Wolf Leap-out-of-the-Bushes."

"Come in then."

So the wolf went in, and they began to live, the five of them together.

And then there came along the Bear. He was very slow and very heavy.

"Little house, little house! Who lives in the little house?"

"Burrowing Mouse, and Croaking Frog, and Hare Hide-in-the-Hill, and Fox Run-about-Everywhere, and Wolf Leap-out-of-the-Bushes. Who are you?"

"I am Bear Squash-the-Lot."

And the Bear sat down on the horse's skull, and squashed the whole lot of them.


The way to tell that story is to make one hand the skull, and the fingers and thumb of the other hand the animals that go in one by one. At least that was the way old Peter told it; and when it came to the end, and the Bear came along, why, the Bear was old Peter himself, who squashed both little hands, and Vanya or Maroosia, whichever it was, all together in one big hug.

********************

I love Ransome's note about the telling of the story!  If you are like me and know children's literature, I'm sure you right away recognized this story has appeared as a picture book.

It was both by Alvin Tresselt, with illustrations by Yaroslava, in 1964 and twenty-five years later by artist, Jan Brett in 1989, with the same title of The Mitten.  A mitten is admittedly a more believable home for several animals. YouTube also has various videos of each book if you choose to search for it there.

Whether you use your hands, a mitten, a book, or video, may you enjoy a big hug from all who have loved and told this story.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*********************

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 the late 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!