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Friday, November 26, 2021

Bayliss - Coyote Rides Through the Sky - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

November is fast drawing to a close and with it our look at Native American folklore from the four directions.  While coyotes are seemingly everywhere, the nations of the western part of our country have some of the best folktales and mythology about coyotes.  Looking to find something, preferably a whole book of coyote tales I discovered Old Man Coyote by Clara Bayliss back when I was just a little over a month into beginning the Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments with her  "How Coyote Brought Fish and Fire to the Indians".  At that time I didn't say anything about Bayliss, but go to that Wikipedia hotlink to see she was born here in Michigan on a Kalamazoo farm and obtained both her bachelor's and master's degree from Michigan's very independent Hillsdale College before going on to become an educational pioneer and writer.  Often her books were folklore, especially publishing Native American stories.  Many can be found online, but Old Man Coyote, unfortunately, is not one of them.  Back when I published her first story I said:

 For those wanting sources on the stories in Old Man Coyote, Ms. Bayliss cites sources like Curtin, Boas, Mathews, Teit, Bancroft, and the Journal of American Folk Lore, but she does not attempt to give specifics as to the origins of her retellings.  It's up to you if you are so caught up by Coyote that you must know more, or just enjoy a good story.  Unfortunately this volume has not yet been preserved online.  Her only work e-published so far is A Treasury of Eskimo Tales.  Northwest native trickster, Raven, makes his appearance there.

I'm grateful that more of her work is now available, but really want Old Man Coyote available.  If you want to see more about her sources, she gives their titles and volume information in her Preface, but her "How the Stories Came to Be Told" narrows her work to the coyote stories of the Navaho and Ute people.   

The name of Old Man Coyote is also the title of the 1931 book by Frank B. Linderman of coyote tales from the Crow (Absaroka) people of southeastern Montana.  The book was renewed so Public Domain must wait until 2026 (95 years).  Calling him Old Man Coyote is fairly common & Thornton W. Burgess wrote The Adventures of Old Man Coyote.  Burgess books, including this one, however, tend to bring facts about animals in an anthropomorphic style to make them interesting especially to children.  

The coyote of Bayliss is the "pourquois" trickster tale, telling how things came to be.  Obviously Bayliss enjoyed tricksters like Coyote and Raven.  As I said so long ago, "I confess it, I enjoy Coyote and other Tricksters.  Some might question holding up such rascals as folk heroes, but usually when they behave unacceptably, they get what they deserve.  That's a worthwhile lesson to come from folktales and, with tricksters, it is usually done in an enjoyable way that doesn't feel like a sermon.  But Coyote, Raven, and others sometimes even surprise us by using their very trickiness to produce something good!"

I'm not sure today's tale has Coyote producing something good.  In many ways it's closer to the foolish Coyote of Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons.  For that reason, even though the book has illustrations by E. Warde Blaisdell, I went looking for pictures of a coyote jumping.  There are many, especially in the snow, but this picture by Chris Dinych at Furaffinity.net better captures the spirit of Coyote in this story.  I tried to learn more about the artist and found https://toyhou.se/Dinych/created and at https://toyhou.se/Dinych/art with this information card at https://dinychinfo.carrd.co/, listing herself as a Digital artist | Anthro artist | Feral artist and at https://www.instagram.com/verylazywolf/?hl=en  we learn "Chris/Dinych | 18 | ? | Animals artist/ Digital artist | RUS/ENG | I like to draw canines and felines" (You can follow her on Instagram, but her Twitter account has been removed.) If you like canines and are seeking art, perhaps you can discover for yourself this young talent.

Now it is time to jump into the story.

That "The End" is because the story is the final tale in the book, but obviously not the end of thoughts on coyotes.  While Coyote the trickster may not really have lost his magic in stories, it's a fact that real life coyotes can cause problems.  Here's a good reminder.

 

Today's story, because it isn't otherwise available (yet) online shows the problems of scanning from a book with slightly crooked pages.  At the same time I can see how I've learned ways to present stories better since the Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments began.

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


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!


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Thanksgiving for Authors AND Public Domain

Yes, I tend to get passionate about the concept of Public Domain and the length of time now keeping books from what was originally intended to become shared.  The Wikipedia article on Public Domain quotes the value of Public Domain this way: 

Pamela Samuelson has identified eight "values" that can arise from information and works in the public domain.[25]

Possible values include:

  1. Building blocks for the creation of new knowledge, examples include data, facts, ideas, theories, and scientific principle.
  2. Access to cultural heritage through information resources such as ancient Greek texts and Mozart's symphonies.
  3. Promoting education, through the spread of information, ideas, and scientific principles.
  4. Enabling follow-on innovation, through for example expired patents and copyright.
  5. Enabling low cost access to information without the need to locate the owner or negotiate rights clearance and pay royalties, through for example expired copyrighted works or patents, and non-original data compilation.[26]
  6. Promoting public health and safety, through information and scientific principles.
  7. Promoting the democratic process and values, through news, laws, regulation, and judicial opinion.
  8. Enabling competitive imitation, through for example expired patents and copyright, or publicly disclosed technologies that do not qualify for patent protection.[25]: 22 

As a storyteller I particularly value #2, its access to our cultural heritage.  

To share access to that Cultural Heritage I'm going to suggest support, whether on next Tuesday's "Giving Tuesday" when many organizations may have special matching funds, or by year's end to Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive.  As I write this, the Internet Archive has one of those matching funds drive.

I enjoy the daily suggestions found on the blog from Free Kindle Books and Tips.  It works to the benefit of readers, but also lets authors feature an introduction to their works with a free or low cost option.  If you prowl the site a bit, there's an About page where we learn it's the creation of "A gray-haired guy in Texas named Michael Gallagher who doesn’t blog full-time but blogs as a hobby."  That blog lets you view beyond Kindles on tablets and desktops and gives good tips.  I asked and Michael generously let me reprint here the article he wrote this past Monday.  We clearly share a love of Public Domain and Project Gutenberg and he goes beyond just the U.S. versions of both.

Try Project Gutenberg for Free Kindle Books

The first eBook was created 50 years ago, and credit for creating the first one goes to the late Michael Hart. Hart was given a $100,000 credit on an IBM mainframe computer in 1971 and decided to use this credit to develop an electronic storage, retrieval, and search system of library books – unheard of at the time – and created the first eBook. What was that title? The Declaration of Independence!

This initial beginning launched what is now called Project Gutenberg (https://www.gutenberg.org) – a site that has over 60,000 eBooks available on its site, with affiliate / linking sources to over 100,000 eBooks on it – and all of them are free, and most are available in a variety of eBook reader formats.

When is the last time you hit the Project Gutenberg site for free eBooks? If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend it.

All of the content is in the public domain, and the majority of the titles I have seen are available in the Kindle format –each title has been painstakingly typed up and proofed by a group of worldwide volunteers. I have rediscovered many titles I enjoyed reading growing up plus many more I have never been exposed.

As a resident of the USA, a complaint I often hear – and agree with – is the extraordinary long time things can be protected by copyright in the USA yet in the public domain (and free) elsewhere in the world.  You can’t legally download and read certain titles in the USA if they are in the public domain in other countries but still in copyright in the USA.  A good example of that is Australia – many things are in the public domain in Australia but still protected in the USA.

Which brings me to a listing of other “sister” Project Gutenberg across the globe (this is not meant to be an all-encompassing list):
Project Gutenberg of Australia

Project Gutenberg of Australia (https://gutenberg.net.au/) provides books which are in the public domain in Australia.

As a general rule the works of authors who died before 1955 are in the public domain in Australia. Works by George Orwell (died 1950), Virginia Woolf (died 1941), and James Joyce (died 1941), just to name a few authors, are in the public domain in Australia but not in the USA.

Of course, works which are in the public domain in Australia may remain copyrighted in other countries – even for several decades. People are not supposed to download, or read online, such works if they are in a country where they are still under copyright. That still leaves a lot of readers out there to enjoy eBooks of some of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century.

Project Gutenberg of Australia also provides a list all of the Project Gutenberg eBooks (from both the US and Australian Collections) which were written by Australians or which relate (although loosely) to Australia, and has an extensive collection of books by and about the land and sea explorers who opened up the continent to white settlement.

Project Gutenberg of Canada

Project Gutenberg of Canada (https://www.gutenberg.ca/) specializes in Canadiana literature in English and French, in the public domain in Canada.

Projekt Runeberg

Project Runeberg (http://runeberg.org/) provides free electronic books from Sweden and Nordic countries.

Reading These Titles

You can read Project Gutenberg eBooks on your computer or transfer them to your Kindle. If you download a Kindle book from the site, you will need to transfer it to your computer to your Kindle. Click here or type in https://smarturl.it/xfer into your web browser to read my post on how to do that procedure – this is the same text of the title I charge 99 cents for in the Amazon Kindle store, but the blog readers can read it for free.

So, go check out Project Gutenberg and discover / rediscover a classic!

Michael

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

Happy reading, for which I give Thanksgiving.

For a more humorous bit of giving thanks, let us salute the human creators before it may all be taken over by Artificial Intelligence.  This obituary, supposedly written by a robot, has started to appear all over the internet.  (My apologies.  This meme is somebody's delightful creation, but I can't learn its real source and can only hope the creator wanted it covered under Creative Commons.)

Speaking from the longtime librarian inside me, I have a dust allergy, but let my need for books (Bibliomania?) permit my being an "avid collector of dust."

May your Thanksgiving give you plenty of opportunity to read.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Parker - Corn Rains Into Empty Barrels - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Choosing from the four corners of our nation four stories is bound to be entirely too small a glance at the richness of Native American folklore.  Even the wealth to be found in any one direction is like attempting to see one person from outer space.  The best I can do is choose a specific nation, in the same way Canada refers to their first confederations of people as the First Nations.  With Thanksgiving this weekend a few thoughts helped direct me to a story.  While I don't like calling it "Turkey Day", Thanksgiving certainly has a large focus on food.  

The holiday began in the East, so that felt like the appropriate direction for this week.  Taking a quick look at that Wikipedia link I find, of course, a religious group like the Pilgrims were frequent in giving thanks, but this particular celebration was after their first harvest in their new home and it lasted three days!  Not sure anybody other than grocery stores would be up to that nowadays.  There were 90 Wampanoag and 53 Pilgrims at that feast which certainly included corn.  

How much of that celebration do we really know correctly?  We've probably heard that Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to farm with the native corn crop, but have we heard his name was really Tisquantum?  Added to that I remember mentioning the idea of using aquarium water to fertilize while watering plants and that it was an idea dating back to that early corn crop.  The ladies I told this had never heard of it!  Nothing like a good fertilizing with fish poo!

How Well The Corn Prospered. Squanto or Tisquantum demonstrating corn he had fertilized by planting with fish.

 

When I tried to find any major collection of theWampanoag literature, I was puzzled to find only a few scattered tales.  Looking at the Wikipedia article and the condensed information on Warpaths2peacepipes.com it shows their near extermination in the years when Native American folklore was being collected.  Today they are gradually attempting to regain recognition, but a lack of cultural continuity, as opposed to assimilation, has slowed official federal and state recognition.  For the sake of letting the Wampanoag speak, I would like to feature something not among those few online scattered tales.  I haven't succeeded YET (maybe next year?)  I'll try to prowl my more general collections as time permits.

In the meantime the major eastern grouping of five, eventually six, nations is the Iroquois Confederacy or the Haudenosaunee.  There are many collections of their stories and some have been given here.  Of the entire Confederacy, the Seneca stories are my favorites.  You can attribute (or blame?) that on first meeting them in the children's anthology of Skunny Wundy: Seneca Indian Tales by Arthur C. Parker.  Parker was of both Seneca (including the Seneca chief, Ely) and Scottish-English descent with an outstanding career combining archaeology, museums (he was Director of Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences) and folklore.  While Skunny Wundy is easily approached, I've chosen from his classic Seneca Myths & Folk Tales a story I think fits Thanksgiving and beyond.

CORN RAINS INTO EMPTY BARRELS.

At one time there was nothing to eat on all the earth. Nearly all the people had starved to death, and a few that remained gathered together on a high hill. They lived on boiled bark.

There was a certain young man who kept saying all the time, “It will be better after a while.” Nobody believed him because things were getting worse each day. His brother used to torture him with sharp stones and say harsh things to him. The young man, however, kept thinking that something would happen soon. After a while he heard footsteps, as if on a clean path. He listened for the span of a moon and then heard them running. He told the people but nobody believed him.

One morning while he sat in the doorway of his lodge with his head down on his knees, a young woman stood before him. He heard her breathe and looked up. She smiled and handed him a basket of bread. “My mother sent me to this lodge to find a young man,” she said. “My mother wants me to marry him.”

The people came out of the lodge and looked at the young woman and the young man’s mother asked from whence she had come. “I have come from the far south,” answered the girl. “There is plenty of food there.”

So the young man ate the bread and was married to the young woman from the south.

Then the young wife said, “My mother sent me to bring food to you. Let everybody take off the tops of their corn barrels and then enter the lodge and cover their faces.”

The sun had now come up and it was hot. The people did not like their faces covered, but soon they heard a sound like corn falling into their barrels. After a time the noise ceased and the young wife said, “It is finished now.”

Out into the shed went the people of the lodge and found the barrels full of shelled corn. Everybody ate and all were satisfied, except the younger brother, who threw his food into the fire and said he wanted game. Now the young wife had cooked the corn the young man threw away, and she was made sad by his action. So she said, “My husband, go to the river and get fish enough for the people.” But the younger brother said, “It is foolish to go to the river, for fish have deserted the river. There are none.” Nevertheless, the young husband went to the river and drew out enough fish for all the people. The younger brother was very angry.

The next day the husband went hunting and while he was absent the younger brother began to torment the young wife. “Your food is not good,” he said. “I cast your food away,” and again he threw food into the fire.

When the husband returned he found his wife crying and when he asked her what was troubling her she said, “Your younger brother has spoiled everything. He has rejected my food (speaking thereby the dissatisfaction of all the people). I shall now return to my home.”

The husband was very sad and begged her not to go, but his wife told him that her mother instructed her to return if she were abused. During the following night there was a sound of scraping in the corn barrels and in the morning when the women went for their corn it was all gone, and with it the bride had vanished.

After consultation the husband determined to search for his wife, and thus he set out on a long journey. At length he came to a region of great corn fields and after a while saw a high mound covered with corn plants. On this mound he found his wife and her mother. His wife showed him her body and it was burned and scarred. “This is what your brother did to me,” she said, “when he threw the corn into the fire. He would have killed me had I remained.”

After living in the south for several months the couple returned and found the people again starving. The young wife ordered them to open their corn barrels and hide their faces once again. They did so and shelled corn fell like rain into the barrels filling them to the top.

Then the young wife told the people that corn must never be wasted or thrown away for it is food and if destroyed will cause the crops to be poor and the corn to cease to yield.

*********

This story and the practical aspect of fertilizing corn with fish is only a small part of the important Native American relationship with corn.  Here among the Anishinaabeg I expected I had posted their story of how corn, or Mondaamin, came to become a major part of their diet.  It doesn't seem to be here.  Fortunately my live tellings in Jackson earlier this month did include it.  There's always another story to tell!

I guess that bottomless well of stories, coupled with the provision of food, is certainly a reason to be thankful.

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

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, November 12, 2021

Mooney - The Bride from the South - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This Native American Heritage Month my blog has a story each week from our greatly varied Native American folklore, one from each of the four directions, starting last week with Michigan's own Anishinaabeg in the North.  Today is probably my second favorite source of Native American folklore, James Mooney's wonderful Myths of the Cherokee for the south.  I've posted his work half a dozen times here starting back in February of 2016 when I said:

Not only did a Cherokee storytelling friend once verify the accuracy of the book by saying it didn't even make the elders snicker much -- as in their respecting its getting the material right! -- but the versions often tell well exactly as Mooney wrote it.  Today's story is wonderfully tellable.

Today's story is also tellable and has the benefit of brevity.  It plays upon both the idea of the directions I've made a theme for this month AND the changes in weather across our country.  

 

70. THE BRIDE FROM THE SOUTH

The North went traveling, and after going far and meeting many different tribes he finally fell in love with the daughter of the South and wanted to marry her. The girl was willing, but her parents objected and said, “Ever since you came the weather has been cold, and if you stay here we may all freeze to death.” The North pleaded hard, and said that if they would let him have their daughter he would take her back to his own country, so at last they consented. They were married and he took his bride to his own country, and when she arrived there she found the people all living in ice houses.

The next day, when the sun rose, the houses began to leak, and as it climbed higher they began to melt, and it grew warmer and warmer, until finally the people came to the young husband and told him he must send his wife home again, or the weather would get so warm that the whole settlement would be melted. He loved his wife and so held out as long as he could, but as the sun grew hotter the people were more urgent, and at last he had to send her home to her parents.

The people said that as she had been born in the South, and nourished all her life upon food that grew in the same climate, her whole nature was warm and unfit for the North.

***********

There's always a need to talk about the weather.  We're told "Everybody talks about it, no one does a thing about it", but it's good we don't have to "do a thing about it" this way.  Hmmm I never used the search label of Weddings before, but this might have additional uses for telling.

Until next week I hope your stories are all pleasant and you have enjoyed this changeable time for the weather often called "Indian Summer."  Unfortunately, just like this marriage tale, those of us in changing climates need to accept it can't last (darnit!).

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

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, November 5, 2021

Schoolcraft - Shingebiss - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

November is a month to focus on Native Americans.  It can't begin to cover enough, but I propose to take the four directions -- a sacred concept that probably spans the many Native American nations -- and give a story for each.  

Of course my love of the Anishinaabe means I must open with the north and our Great Lakes people.  Commonly called the People of the 3 Fires, they are composed of the Ojibwa (also called Chippewa), the Odawa (or Ottawa), and the Pottawatomi.  The third group, the Pottawatomi is mainly on the west side of Michigan and I've never had any opportunity to know anybody there.  They also are in Canada and called the First Nations (the Canadian name for the first people; here in the U.S. we say Native American).  I'm uncertain how their First Nations sisters and brothers might differ as again I'm limited to only what I find online and in print.  I've been taught by both Odawa and Ojibwa elders who have now gone on the Long Walk and I miss them immensely.  I have a fellow storytelling friend, Robyn Henry from the Saginaw Chippewa Band, who used to be in the Flint area.  Since she moved away it's been harder to stay in touch, but she's the one I'd always turn to for verification.  I know she resents the way many of the legends belonging to her people are supposedly now unavailable because outside writers tell and copyright them.  

Robyn also is aware of the way stories in the few anthologies available are either incomplete or contain errors.  Certainly Henry Rowe Schoolcraft  reveals his 19th century roots, but we are blessed with the knowledge that his wife, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft (whose name translates as The Sound the Stars Make Rushing Through the Sky), told him Anishinaabe stories she knew.  By the way, that hotlink for her name is also the title of a 2008 book edited by Robert Dale Parker of  all her writings, including poetry.  I believe this story reveals her poetic nature.  Project Gutenberg includes it in the book attributed to H.R. Schoolcraft, with the unattractive title of The Myth of Hiawatha, and Other Oral Legends, Mythologic and Allegoric, of the North American Indians.

Photograph by Scott Suriano
Don't let any of that stop you for many have found this to be a story worth knowing.  Sometimes it's about a duck living alone in the winter, but I've also heard of people telling it as if Shingebiss was a woman.  Some people debate which type of our ducks who winter here it could be.  Again, don't let that stop you.  You can also substitute Northwest Wind for Kabebonicca. I'll say more after the story, but for now let it speak to you.  I'm confident you will be glad you did. 

 SHINGEBISS.

AN ALLEGORY OF SELF-RELIANCE.

FROM THE ODJIBWA.

There was once a Shingebiss, the name of the fall duck living alone, in a solitary lodge, on the shores of the deep bay of a lake, in the coldest winter weather. The ice had formed on the water, and he had but four logs of wood to keep his fire. Each of these would, however, burn a month, and as there were but four cold winter months, they were sufficient to carry him through till spring.

Shingebiss was hardy and fearless, and cared for no one. He would go out during the coldest day, and seek for places where flags and rushes grew through the ice, and plucking them up with his bill, would dive through the openings, in quest of fish. In this way he found plenty of food, while others were starving, and he went home daily to his lodge, dragging strings of fish after him, on the ice.

Kabebonicca observed him, and felt a little piqued at his perseverance and good luck in defiance of the severest blasts of wind he could send from the northwest. "Why! this is a wonderful man," said he; "he does not mind the cold, and appears as happy and contented as if it were the month of June. I will try whether he cannot be mastered." He poured forth tenfold colder blasts, and drifts of snow, so that it was next to impossible to live in the open air. Still, the fire of Shingebiss did not go out: he wore but a single strip of leather around his body, and he was seen, in the worst weather, searching the shores for rushes, and carrying home fish.

"I shall go and visit him," said Kabebonicca, one day, as he saw Shingebiss dragging along a quantity of fish. And, accordingly, that very night, he went to the door of his lodge. Meantime Shingebiss had cooked his fish, and finished his meal, and was lying, partly on his side, before the fire, singing his songs. After Kabebonicca had come to the door, and stood listening there, he sang as follows:—

Ka Neej Ka Neej
Be In Be In
Bon In Bon In
Oc Ee. Oc Ee.
Ca We-ya! Ca We-ya!

The number of words, in this song, are few and simple, but they are made up from compounds which carry the whole of their original meanings, and are rather suggestive of the ideas floating in the mind than actual expressions of those ideas. Literally, he sings:—

Spirit of the Northwest—you are but my fellow man.

By being broken into syllables, to correspond with a simple chant, and by the power of intonation and repetition, with a chorus, these words are expanded into melodious utterance, if we may be allowed the term, and may be thus rendered:—

Windy god, I know your plan,

You are but my fellow man;

Blow you may your coldest breeze,

Shingebiss you cannot freeze.

Sweep the strongest wind you can,

Shingebiss is still your man;

Heigh! for life—and ho! for bliss,

Who so free as Shingebiss?

The hunter knew that Kabebonicca was at his door, for he felt his cold and strong breath; but he kept on singing his songs, and affected utter indifference. At length Kabebonicca entered, and took his seat on the opposite side of the lodge. But Shingebiss did not regard, or notice him. He got up, as if nobody were present, and taking his poker, pushed the log, which made his fire burn brighter, repeating, as he sat down again:—

You are but my fellow man.

Very soon the tears began to flow down Kabebonicca's cheeks, which increased so fast, that, presently, he said to himself: "I cannot stand this—I must go out." He did so, and left Shingebiss to his songs; but resolved to freeze up all the flag orifices, and make the ice thick, so that he could not get any more fish. Still, Shingebiss, by dint of great diligence, found means to pull up new roots, and dive under for fish. At last, Kabebonicca was compelled to give up the contest. "He must be aided by some Monedo," said he. "I can neither freeze him nor starve him; he is a very singular being—I will let him alone."

**** 

Do a search for Shingebiss and you will see, among other things, a picture book retelling the story by Nancy Van Laan.  You can use this to judge how close to its origins it is, but don't believe the story is locked up under copyright and can't be retold.  It's too important for that.

Friend and fellow storyteller, Fran Stallings is a member of National Storytelling Network's  Special Interest Group, Healing Story Alliance.  When I went looking for more about Shingebiss the search led me to the Wayback Machine and her very thorough telling and teller's notes about the story dating back to early in this century.  I strongly recommend it.  It even includes her version of the music in the tale.

Back in 2011 Canadian songwriter and recording/audiovisual artist, Ellsie Kay, wrote a song for Shingebiss.  She's not a member of the First Nations, but her song and brief form of telling the story on YouTube is definitely worth viewing and seems to capture the spirit of this story.  I've too little knowledge of pronunciation of  the language to guarantee it's correct, but love her translation:

North Wind, North Wind, fierce in feature

You are but my fellow creature;

Blow your worst, you can't freeze me;

I fear you not, and so I'm FREE!

Whether you feel like telling the story & trying to sing what either she or Fran offer for the song, or just as appropriately, chant the words Kay offers, I believe you and your audiences will remember that last line and maybe even join you in it: 

I fear you not, and so I'm FREE!

By the time you read this, I will have been able to tell this story twice as part of the Jackson Storyfest.  What a privilege to bring Shingebiss and other Anishinaabe tales.  I wish they were being told by Anishinaabeg tellers, but will do my best to represent them as faithfully as possible.  

Let your love of the wisdom found in our Native American stories keep you reading and telling them.  As Shingebiss would remind you, "I fear you not, and so I'm FREE!"  At the same time do it with respect and honor the original tellers and their intent to keep their wisdom for all of us.


Friday, October 29, 2021

Curtin - The Blood-Drawing Ghost - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I first discovered this story in Betsy Bang's unlikely titled book The Goblins Giggle and Other Stories.

She doesn't give the source, but I decided to hunt and bring it to this blog as I was sure it was a Public Domain story.  Fortunately she kept its Irish setting and her version sounded very much like stories collected by Jeremiah Curtin.  His original version recording the story can be shared as Public Domain.  Bang's 1973 version falls under the copyright revision preventing my listing it here.  I consider her version an improvement and I tell it whenever a truly spooky story is needed.  In fact I have a story about my telling it that I'll tell you after giving you Curtin's tale.

The Blood-Drawing Ghost

THERE was a young man in the parish of Drimalegue, county Cork, who was courting three girls at one time, and he didn't know which of them would he take; they had equal fortunes, and any of the three was as pleasing to him as any other. One day when he was coming home from the fair with his two sisters, the sisters began:
'Well, John," said one of them, "why don't you get married. Why don't you take either Mary, or Peggy, or Kate?"
"I can't tell you that," said John, "till I find which of them has the best wish for me."
"How will you know?" asked the other.
"I will tell you that as soon as any person will die in the parish." In three weeks' time from that day an old man died. John went to the wake and then to the funeral. While they were burying the corpse in the graveyard John stood near a tomb which was next to the grave, and when all were going away, after burying the old man, he remained standing a while by himself, as if thinking of something; then he put his blackthorn stick on top of the tomb, stood a while longer, and on going from the graveyard left the stick behind him. He went home and ate his supper. After supper John went to a neighbour's house where young people used to meet of an evening, and the three girls happened to be there that time. John was very quiet, so that every one noticed him.
"What is troubling you this evening, John?" asked one of the girls.
"Oh, I am sorry for my beautiful blackthorn," said he.
"Did you lose it?"
"I did not," said John; "but I left it on the top of the tomb next to the grave of the man who was buried to-day, and whichever of you three will go for it is the woman I'll marry. Well, Mary will you go for my stick?" asked he.
"Faith, then, I will not," said Mary.
"Well, Peggy, will you go?"
"If I were without a man for ever," said Peggy, "I wouldn't go."
"Well, Kate," said he to the third, "will you go for my stick? If you go I'll marry you."
"Stand to your word," said Kate, "and I'll bring the stick."
"Believe me, that I will," said John.
Kate left the company behind her, and went for the stick. The graveyard was three miles away and the walk was a long one. Kate came to the place at last and made out the tomb by the fresh grave. When she had her hand on the blackthorn a voice called from the tomb:
"Leave the stick where it is and open this tomb for me."
Kate began to tremble and was greatly in dread, but something was forcing her to open the tomb--she couldn't help herself.
"Take the lid off now," said the dead man when Kate had the door open and was inside in the tomb, "and take me out of this--take me on your back."
Afraid to refuse, she took the lid from the coffin, raised the dead man on her back, and walked on in the way he directed. She walked about the distance of a mile. The load, being very heavy, was near breaking her back and killing her. She walked half a mile farther and came to a village; the houses were at the side of the road.
"Take me to the first house," said the dead man.
She took him.
"Oh, we cannot go in here," said he, when they came near. "The people have clean water inside, and they have holy water, too. Take me to the next house."
She went to the next house.
"We cannot go in there," said he, when she stopped in front of the door. "They have clean water, and there is holy water as well."
She went to the third house.
"Go in here," said the dead man. "There is neither clean water nor holy water in this place; we can stop in it."
They went in.
"Bring a chair now and put me sitting at the side of the fire. Then find me something to eat and to drink."
She placed him in a chair by the hearth, searched the house, found a dish of oatmeal and brought it. "I have nothing to give you to drink but dirty water," said she.
"Bring me a dish and a razor."
She brought the dish and the razor.
"Come, now," said he, "to the room above."
They went up to the room, where three young men, sons of the man of the house, were sleeping in bed, and Kate had to hold the dish while the dead man was drawing their blood.
"Let the father and mother have that," said he, "in return for the dirty water"; meaning that if there was clean water in the house he wouldn't have taken the blood of the young men. He closed their wounds in the way that there was no sign of a cut on them. "Mix this now with the meal, get a dish of it for yourself and another for me."
She got two plates and put the oatmeal in it after mixing it, and brought two spoons. Kate wore a handkerchief on her head; she put this under her neck and tied it; she was pretending to eat, but she was putting the food to hide in the handkerchief till her plate was empty.
"Have you your share eaten?" asked the dead man.
"I have," answered Kate.
"I'll have mine finished this minute," said he, and soon after he gave her the empty dish. She put the dishes back in the dresser, and didn't mind washing them. "Come, now," said he, "and take me back to the place where you found me."
"Oh, how can I take you back; you are too great a load; 'twas killing me you were when I brought you." She was in dread of going from the house again.
"You are stronger after that food than what you were in coming; take me back to my grave."
She went against her will. She rolled up the food inside the handkerchief. There was a deep hole in the wall of the kitchen by the door, where the bar was slipped in when they barred the door; into this hole she put the handkerchief. In going back she shortened the road by going through a big field at command of the dead man. When they were at the top of the field she asked, was there any cure for those young men whose blood was drawn?
"There is no cure," said he, "except one. If any of that food had been spared, three bits of it in each young man's mouth would bring them to life again, and they'd never know of their death."
"Then," said Kate in her own mind, "that cure is to be had."
"Do you see this field?" asked the dead man.
"I do."
"Well, there is as much gold buried in it as would make rich people of all who belong to you. Do you see the three leachtans [piles of small stones]? Underneath each of them is a pot of gold."
The dead man looked around for a while; then Kate went on, without stopping, till she came to the wall of the graveyard, and just then they heard the cock crow.
"The cock is crowing," said Kate; "it's time for me to be going home."
"It is not time yet," said the dead man; "that is a bastard cock." A moment after that another cock crowed. "There the cocks are crowing a second time," said she. "No," said the dead man, "that is a bastard cock again; that's no right bird." They came to the mouth of the tomb and a cock crowed the third time.
"Well," said the girl, "that must be the right cock."
"Ah, my girl, that cock has saved your life for you. But for him I would have you with me in the grave for evermore, and if I knew this cock would crow before I was in the grave you wouldn't have the knowledge you have now of the field and the gold. Put me into the coffin where you found me. Take your time and settle me well. I cannot meddle with you now, and 'tis sorry I am to part with you."
"Will you tell me who you are?" asked Kate.
"Have you ever heard your father or mother mention a man called Edward Derrihy or his son Michael?"
"It's often I heard tell of them," replied the girl.
"Well, Edward Derrihy was my father; I am Michael. That blackthorn that you came for to-night to this graveyard was the lucky stick for you, but if you had any thought of the danger that was before you, you wouldn't be here. Settle me carefully and close the tomb well behind you."
She placed him in the coffin carefully, closed the door behind her, took the blackthorn stick, and away home with Kate. The night was far spent when she came. She was tired, and it's good reason the girl had. She thrust the stick into the thatch above the door of the house and rapped. Her sister rose up and opened the door.
"Where did you spend the night?" asked the sister. "Mother will kill you in the morning for spending the whole night from home."
"Go to bed," answered Kate, "and never mind me."
They went to bed, and Kate fell asleep the minute she touched the bed, she was that tired after the night.
When the father and mother of the three young men rose next morning, and there was no sign of their sons, the mother went to the room to call them, and there she found the three dead. She began to screech and wring her hands. She ran to the road screaming and wailing. All the neighbours crowded around to know what trouble was on her. She told them her three sons were lying dead in their bed after the night. Very soon the report spread in every direction. When Kate's father and mother heard it they hurried off to the house of the dead men. When they came home Kate was still in bed; the mother took a stick and began to beat the girl for being out all the night and in bed all the day.
"Get up now, you lazy stump of a girl," said she, "and go to the wake house; your neighbour's three sons are dead."
Kate took no notice of this. "I am very tired and sick," said she. "You'd better spare me and give me a drink."
The mother gave her a drink of milk and a bite to eat, and in the middle of the day she rose up.
"Tis a shame for you not to be at the wake house yet," said the mother; "hurry over now."
When Kate reached the house there was a great crowd of people before her and great wailing. She did not cry, but was looking on. The father was as if wild, going up and down the house wringing his hands.
"Be quiet," said Kate. "Control yourself."
"How can I do that, my dear girl, and my three fine sons lying dead in the house?"
"What would you give," asked Kate, "to the person who would bring life to them again?"
"Don't be vexing me," said the father.
"It's neither vexing you I am nor trifling," said Kate. "I can put the life in them again."
"If it was true that you could do that, I would give you all that I have inside the house and outside as well."
"All I want from you," said Kate, "is the eldest son to marry and Gort na Leachtan [the field of the stone heaps] as fortune."
"My dear, you will have that from me with the greatest blessing.
"Give me the field in writing from yourself, whether the son will marry me or not."
He gave her the field in his handwriting. She told all who were inside in the wake-house to go outside the door, every man and woman of them. Some were laughing at her and more were crying, thinking it was mad she was. She bolted the door inside, and went to the place where she left the handkerchief, found it, and put three bites of the oatmeal and the blood in the mouth of each young man, and as soon as she did that the three got their natural colour, and they looked like men sleeping. She opened the door, then called on all to come inside, and told the father to go and wake his sons.
He called each one by name, and as they woke they seemed very tired after their night's rest; they put on their clothes, and were greatly surprised to see all the people around. "How is this?" asked the eldest brother.
"Don't you know of anything that came over you in the night?" asked the father.
"We do not," said the sons. "We remember nothing at all since we fell asleep last evening."
The father then told them everything, but they could not believe it. Kate went away home and told her father and mother of her night's journey to and from the graveyard, and said that she would soon tell them more.
That day she met John.
"Did you bring the stick?" asked he.
"Find your own stick," said she, "and never speak to me again in your life."
In a week's time she went to the house of the three young men, and said to the father, "I have come for what you promised me."
"You'll get that with my blessing," said the father. He called the eldest son aside then and asked would he marry Kate, their neighbour's daughter. "I will," said the son. Three days after that the two were married and had a fine wedding. For three weeks they enjoyed a pleasant life without toil or trouble; then Kate said, "This will not do for us; we must be working. Come with me to-morrow and I'll give yourself and brothers plenty to do, and my own father and brothers as well."
She took them next day to one of the stone heaps in Gort na Leachtan. "Throw these stones to one side," said she.
They thought that she was losing her senses, but she told them that they'd soon see for themselves what she was doing. They went to work and kept at it till they had six feet deep of a hole dug; then they met with a flat stone three feet square and an iron hook in the middle of it.
"Sure there must be something underneath this," said the men. They lifted the flag, and under it was a pot of gold. All were very happy then. "There is more gold yet in the place," said Kate. "Come, now, to the other heap." They removed that heap, dug down, and found another pot of gold. They removed the third pile and found a third pot full of gold. On the side of the third pot was an inscription, and they could not make out what it was. After emptying it they placed the pot by the side of the door.
About a month later a poor scholar walked the way, and as he was going in at the door he saw the old pot and the letters on the side of it. He began to study the letters.
"You must be a good scholar if you can read what's on that pot," said the young man.
"I can," said the poor scholar, "and here it is for you. 'There is a deal more at the south side of each pot."
The young man said nothing, but putting his hand in his pocket, gave the poor scholar a good day's hire. When he was gone they went to work and found a deal more of gold at the south side of each stone heap. They were very happy then and very rich, and bought several farms and built fine houses, and it was supposed by all of them in the latter end that it was Derrihy's money that was buried under the Ieachtans, but they could give no correct account of that, and sure why need they care? When they died they left property to make their children rich to the seventh generation.

*****

Maybe, like me, you wonder about the blackthorn walking stick?  (In Bang's version, "Mary Culhane and the Dead Man", the girl is retrieving her father's beloved blackthorn walking stick.)  They've been prized for centuries throughout Ireland and the British Isles.  Blackthorn wood is heavier and stronger than hazel and comes from the blackthorn bush that grows in the hedgerows all over Ireland. With its characteristic knots either polished smooth or left knobbly, these walking sticks are very distinctive and each is individual.  Yes, it is indeed the fighting stick also known as a Shillelagh.  

I certainly prefer the stick being a prized family possession instead of it being a bride test, but old folktales are not always "politically correct."  Changes over time is part of the "folk process."

I promised to tell a story about me telling the story.  With spooky storytelling it's best to warn your audience the stories will get spookier as your program proceeds.  Once I was hired to tell at a Halloween party with a variety of ages and activities.  I was parked with the kids, mainly girls on the edge of becoming teenagers.  With them was a little boy who kept asking me if I had any stories about Darth Vader (he pronounced it Dahth Vayda).  Finally to the relief of the older kids he moved on to another activity.  I began "Mary Culhane" and was in far enough when he returned.  He was quickly brought up to where we were in the story and I proceeded.  We had just gotten to the point where the three young men have their throats slit when an elderly woman cut through the room.  I was sure she didn't consider the story appropriate for his age.  She was long gone by the time the story ended and the little guy piped up with "That woulda been a lot sca'wier (scarier) if it had been about Dahth Vayda!"

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

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!