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

Friday, May 17, 2024

Farmer - Dandelion Stars - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Hot on the heels of last weekend's Mother's Day I found myself once again wondering about something my mother used to say whenever she saw a lawn with dandelions.  "Oh the old man spilled his bag of gold!" she would shout with great delight.  I have searched and searched to find out what was behind that exclamation.  

If you know please tell me.  I suspect it was something going back to her childhood.

Aside from having dandelions on my own lawn, over on X, look at https://twitter.com/VenetiaJane.  

That inspired me to hunt once again hoping to learn more about Public Domain stories of Dandelions.  I found this in Florence Virginia Farmer's book, Nature Myths of Many Lands.  I recommend it as a very useful book for storytellers and naturalists.

I told VenetiaJane about Farmer's version.  She did a bit of prowling her own files as she remembered the story a bit differently and found this from the Journal of Education 

October 17, 1912 JOURNAL OF EDUCATION page 409

NEWTON SPELLING

[Continued from page 405.]

Here are some sentences used for spelling

orally and in writing: -

 

Did you see the sky last night?

The moon was shining.

The stars were bright.

The moon is the mother.

The stars are her children.

Can you tell who is the father?

One night some stars were cross.

They would not shine.

They hid behind à cloud.

Mother moon felt very sad.

Where are my baby stars?

Why are they not shining?

We do not want to work.

Let the other stars shine.

We are too sleepy to-night.

You were born to shine.

I will have no lazy stars in my home.

You must go to the earth below.

The lazy stars shook with fear.

They lost their hold.

Down, down they fell to the earth.

The little stars fell on the grass.

All night they lay there.

They wished they had been good.

In the morning father sun looked down.

He saw the little stars.

He was sorry for them.

How cold they look!

Come, clouds, send down some snow.

Cover the baby stars with a soft blanket.

All winter the stars slept in their warm bed.

The stars above shone down on them,

But they never woke.

At last the spring came,

Father sun sent his warm beams to the earth

It is time to wake, little stars.

The stars opened their sleepy eyes.

They looked up into their father's kind facc.

He smiled at them.

These stars now live on the earth.

They shine all day long.

Children call them dandelions.

*****

I edited out parts of that page unrelated to the Dandelion story.  <sigh!>  That was from an idea for teachers shortly before my own mother was born.  I intend to keep looking for what inspired mom's cries of "The old man spilled his bag of gold!"  Perhaps it was something created by a teacher she had. I can certainly tell you her lawn never tried to eliminate dandelions.  

Whether you want dandelions or not, if you love nature, especially plants, I want to give a shout out to https://www.venetiajane.co.uk/ as well as her work on X (Twitter), Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.  Her photography is both lovely and lovingly done with cards, calendars, and photos.  She mixes those images with folklore, literature, and history.  Here in the mitten-shaped state of Michigan I sometimes see her part of the United Kingdom warming up before us.  As winter tends to drag on too long, it's wonderful to see what she sees.

You may see dandelions as a weed taking over your lawn, but my mom, VenetiaJane, and I see so much more.  Blow on those dandelion stars to spread them and, while you're at it, spread a story about them.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Asbjørnsen & Moe - One's Own Children Are Always Prettiest - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

I tend to use the original Index to Fairy Tales, Myths and Legends by Mary Huse Eastman, published in 1915, to guarantee Public Domain stores.  I plowed through the stories for Mother's Day and others with Mother in the title.  Maybe it was the mood I was in, but everything just seemed too "quaint" and I wasn't happy with telling them in the 21st century.  In telling Public Domain stories it's sometimes necessary for the storyteller to modernize the language.  "Thees" and other quaint word choice isn't needed to tell the story and can keep a present day audience from hearing what is meant.  These stories just struck me as having an antiquated view of motherhood or children.  

Quite by accident I discovered today's story and believe it will always fit the way mothers view their children.  This translation originally appeared in Sir G. W. Dasent’s Popular Tales from the Norse, but is the Kay Nielsen illustrated version of the Asjornsen and Moe tales titled East of the Sun and West of the Moon; Old Tales from the North.  That's a Project Gutenberg link, but Nielsen's work has had many reprints and I strongly recommend seeing it in book form as both the full-color and black and white illustrations really shine in print. 

The story itself is about a Snipe.  I will say a bit more about it after the tale.

ONE’S OWN CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS PRETTIEST

A sportsman went out once into a wood to shoot, and he met a Snipe.

“Dear friend,” said the Snipe, “don’t shoot my children!”

“How shall I know your children?” asked the Sportsman. “What are they like?”

“Oh!” said the Snipe, “mine are the prettiest children in all the wood.”

“Very well,” said the Sportsman, “I’ll not shoot them; don’t be afraid.”

But for all that, when he came back, there he had a whole 204 string of young snipes in his hand which he had shot.

“Oh, oh!” said the Snipe, “why did you shoot my children after all?”

“What! these your children!” said the Sportsman; “why, I shot the ugliest I could find, that I did!”

“Woe is me!” said the Snipe; “don’t you know that each one thinks his own children the prettiest in the world?”

***

Snipe in Water, by Ohara Koson. Japan, 1900-1930

LoiS again:

I've long heard about Snipe Hunts and presumed they were hunting for something fictitious.  Not so. . . well not entirely.  The Wikipedia article on the Snipe mainly incorporates the old Public Domain article found in Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.).  I wanted an update on the bird and find it as the Common snipe, which is not a North American bird.  This is why a "Snipe hunt" -- at least in North America -- is considered a prank or practical joke.  There are however North American birds, known as Wilson's snipe, which had been considered a subspecies until 2003 when it was changed to its own species.

Along the way on my own literary Snipe Hunt I learned the term "sniper" came from the bird because of its ability to hunt and also camouflage.

 All of that may be far more than you ever cared to know.  Mr. Nielsen frequently marks the end of stories with an illustration that seems appropriate to this little known tale which ends the book.  (Note the short bird bills, so they are not snipes, but they hide 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 December 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, May 3, 2024

Giddings - Yaqui stories of San Pedro and Jesucristo - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Sunday is Cinco de Mayo.  As it is indeed a Sunday, I think there are some stories from Mexico that are a lot of fun about San Pedro and Jesucristo (St. Peter and Jesus).  They come from the Yaqui, an Indigenous people of Mexico.  Ruth Warren Giddings didn't renew her copyright on Yaqui Myths and Legends nor any of the other contributors, Harry Behn the editor nor the illustrator, Laurie Cook, so it became Public Domain.  The entire book is available online.  That online book includes the following review from https://sacred-texts.com/:

About the Book
"This is a delightful collection of Yaqui folklore, illustrated with line
drawings which invest Mexican folk-art motifs with quaint atomic-age
cheerfulness. The Yaqui are part of the Southwestern Native American
culture-group, and live in the Sonoran desert on the west coast of northern
Mexico, opposite Baja California. The stories here are a mixture of ancient
folklore blended with Mexican Catholic themes. Coyote and other
zoomorphs walk in the same cycle of tales with figures such as Jesuschristo
(who figures in several comic stories) and Columbus (who appears briefly as
a villan)." (sic)

European folklore includes such stories.  I recognize the first story about the "one-legged chicken."  I am including it and the other three such stories.  For my part they are my favorite stories in the book!  





May you enjoy these light-hearted tales in your own fiesta!

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

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 December 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, April 26, 2024

Ginzberg - God's Justice Vindicated - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Folklore by its very nature travels and scholar Louis Ginzberg seems perfect to present Jewish folklore in his seven volume work, The Legends of the Jews.  I won't presume to know how Project Gutenberg manages copyright of the translation (by Paul Radin and Henrietta Szold) offering the first four volumes of the German manuscript. This weekend is in the midst of Passover, along with the current Palestinian situation in both Israel and the U.S. It seems appropriate to look at folklore about the prophet Elijah.  Almost all religions, including both Judaism and Islam, revere Elijah. Passover tradition includes the door of the house being opened and Elijah invited in along with a cup of wine reserved for him. 

Ginzberg says of Elijah: 

The Biblical account of the prophet Elijah, of his life and work during the reigns of Ahab and his son Joram, gives but a faint idea of a personage whose history begins with Israel's sojourn in Egypt, and will end only when Israel, under the leadership of the Messiah, shall have taken up his abode again in Palestine. 

Talking about the post-Biblical work of Elijah, Ginzberg states:

Elijah's removal from earth, so far being an interruption to his relations with men, rather marks the beginning of his real activity as a helper in time of need, as a teacher and as a guide. At first his intervention in sublunar affairs was not frequent.

. . . 

It was reserved for later days, however, for Talmudic times, the golden age of the great scholars, the Tannaim and the Amoraim, to enjoy Elijah's special vigilance as protector of the innocent, as a friend in need, who hovers over the just and the pious, ever present to guard them against evil or snatch them out of danger. With four strokes of his wings Elijah can traverse the world. Hence no spot on earth is too far removed for his help. As an angel he enjoys the power of assuming the most various appearances to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes he looks like an ordinary man, sometimes he takes the appearance of an Arab, sometimes of a horseman, now he is a Roman court-official, now he is a harlot.

One example of why Elijah is invoked is his wisdom seeing beyond the obvious.  This story shows how what we see may not reveal God's view of the situation.  (Wikipedia's article on Elijah gives a more visually friendly version of the story.  I'm giving it as Ginzberg wrote it, only breaking it up rather than one very long block of text.)

***

Once he granted his friend Rabbi Joshua ben Levi the fulfilment of any wish he might express, and all the Rabbi asked for was, that he might be permitted to accompany Elijah on his wanderings through the world. Elijah was prepared to gratify this wish. He only imposed the condition, that, however odd the Rabbi might think Elijah's actions, he was not to ask any explanation of them. If ever he demanded why, they would have to part company. 

So Elijah and the Rabbi fared forth together, and they journeyed on until they reached the house of a poor man, whose only earthly possession was a cow. The man and his wife were thoroughly good-hearted people, and they received the two wanderers with a cordial welcome. They invited the strangers into their house, set before them food and drink of the best they had, and made up a comfortable couch for them for the night. When Elijah and the Rabbi were ready to continue their journey on the following day, Elijah prayed that the cow belonging to his host might die. Before they left the house, the animal had expired. Rabbi Joshua was so shocked by the misfortune that had befallen the good people, he almost lost consciousness. He thought: "Is that to be the poor man's reward for all his kind services to us?" And he could not refrain from putting the question to Elijah. But Elijah reminded him of the condition imposed and accepted at the beginning of their journey, and they travelled on, the Rabbi's curiosity unappeased. 

That night they reached the house of a wealthy man, who did not pay his guest the courtesy of looking them in the face. Though they passed the night under his roof, he did not offer them food or drink. This rich man was desirous of having a wall repaired that had tumbled down. There was no need for him to take any steps to have it rebuilt, for, when Elijah left the house, he prayed that the wall might erect itself, and, lo! it stood upright. Rabbi Joshua was greatly amazed, but true to his promise he suppressed the question that rose to his lips. 

So the two travelled on again, until they reached an ornate synagogue, the seats in which were made of silver and gold. But the worshippers did not correspond in character to the magnificence of the building, for when it came to the point of satisfying the needs of the way-worn pilgrims, one of those present said: "There is not dearth of water and bread, and the strange travellers can stay in the synagogue, whither these refreshments can be brought to them." Early the next morning, when they were departing, Elijah wished those present in the synagogue in which they had lodged, that God might raise them all to be "heads." Rabbi Joshua again had to exercise great self-restraint, and not put into words the question that troubled him profoundly. 

In the next town, they were received with great affability, and served abundantly with all their tired bodies craved. On these kind hosts Elijah, on leaving, bestowed the wish that God might give them but a single head. Now the Rabbi could not hold himself in check any longer, and he demanded an explanation of Elijah's freakish actions. Elijah consented to clear up his conduct for Joshua before they separated from each other. He spoke as follows: "The poor man's cow was killed, because I knew that on the same day the death of his wife had been ordained in heaven, and I prayed to God to accept the loss of the poor man's property as a substitute for the poor man's wife. As for the rich man, there was a treasure hidden under the dilapidated wall, and, if he had rebuilt it, he would have found the gold; hence I set up the wall miraculously in order to deprive the curmudgeon of the valuable find. I wished that the inhospitable people assembled in the synagogue might have many heads, for a place of numerous leaders is bound to be ruined by reason of multiplicity of counsel and disputes. To the inhabitants of our last sojourning place, on the other hand, I wished a 'single head,' for the one to guide a town, success will attend all its undertakings. Know, then, that if thou seest an evil-doer prosper, it is not always unto his advantage, and if a righteous man suffers need and distress, think not God is unjust." After these words Elijah and Rabbi Joshua separated from each other, and each went his own way. 

***

As we look at the way things are happening in the world, may this remind us we should do the best we can, but don't know the full picture.  

For further background I suggest starting with the Wikipedia articles on Elijah and Ginzberg in the first paragraph here and also on Joshua ben Levi. I omitted here numbers relating to footnotes there, but there is even more you may find if wished.

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


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 December 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, April 19, 2024

Parker - The Gwineeboos The Redbreasts - Keeping The Public in Public Domain

Monday is Earth Day and while I have tons of Creation or Pourquois tales, none of them seemed to call out to me until I went to K. Langloh Parker's Australian Legendary TalesI've included Parker's book from colonial Australia retelling Australian aboriginal tales twice before here and strongly recommend going to them for background material on her and to understand more about the stories.

Today's story is about sharing, for Earth Day is indeed about learning how to share the earth.  It's also a tale about the robin, but the Australian robin is not the same as the robin most of us, living outside Australasia, know.  There are 51 species of Australasian robins, but like the robins of the rest of the world, today's story is about the red breasted ones that led colonizers to call them robins, but Parker preserved their original name of Gwineeboo.  Gwineeboo's friend, Goomai, is a water rat.  The other characters named in the story, Quarrian and Gidgereegah, are only described as hunters, but the book's glossary tells us they are parrots for that's what they became.

Aside from this being a story pitting two females (plus their noisy hungry baby) against two hunters, it's a great story for audience participation.  Teach the audience to chant like the baby, "Gwineeboo, Gwineeboo. I want kangaroo. I want kangaroo. Gwineeboo. Gwineeboo." They will have a blast, but be sure to teach them to silence when you hold up your hand!  Beyond that I suggest putting the later chant that causes the storm on a card as it's more difficult to remember.  "Moogaray, Moogaray, May, May, Eehu, Eehu, Doongarah."  Then give the translation.  You can say that fortunately the audience aren't birds, so - you hope -the chant only works in the story.

The only other needed explanation, again from the glossary, is that a dardurr is a type of hut.

The scarlet robin, an Australasian robin

THE GWINEEBOOS THE REDBREASTS

Gwineeboo and Goomai, the water rat, were down at the creek one day, getting mussels for food, when, to their astonishment, a kangaroo hopped right into the water beside them. Well they knew that he must be escaping from hunters, who were probably pressing him close. So Gwineeboo quickly seized her yam stick, and knocked the kangaroo on the head; he was caught fast in the weeds in the creek, so could not escape. When the two old women had killed the kangaroo they hid its body under the weeds in the creek, fearing to take it out and cook it straight away, lest the hunters should come up and claim it. The little son of Gwineeboo watched them from the bank. After having hidden the kangaroo, the women picked up their mussels and started for their camp, when up came the hunters, Quarrian and Gidgereegah, who had tracked the kangaroo right to the creek.

Seeing the women they said: "Did you see a kangaroo?"

The women answered: "No. We saw no kangaroo."

"That is strange, for we have tracked it right up to here."

"We have seen no kangaroo. See, we have been digging out mussels for food. Come to our camp, and we will give you some when they are cooked."

The young men, puzzled in their minds, followed the women to their camp, and when the mussels were cooked the hunters joined the old women at their dinner. The little boy would not eat the mussels; he kept crying to his mother, "Gwineeboo, Gwineeboo. I want kangaroo. I want kangaroo. Gwineeboo. Gwineeboo."

"There," said Quarrian. "Your little boy has seen the kangaroo, and wants some; it must be here somewhere."

"Oh, no. He cries for anything he thinks of, some days for kangaroo; he is only a little boy, and does not know what he wants," said old Gwineeboo. But still the child kept saying, "Gwineeboo. Gwineeboo. I want kangaroo. I want kangaroo." Goomai was so angry with little Gwineeboo for keeping on asking for kangaroo, and thereby making the young men suspicious, that she hit him so hard on the mouth to keep him quiet, that the blood came, and trickled down his breast, staining it red. When she saw this, old Gwineeboo grew angry in her turn, and hit old Goomai, who returned the blow, and so a fight began, more words than blows, so the noise was great, the women fighting, little Gwineeboo crying, not quite knowing whether he was crying because Goomai had hit him, because his mother was fighting, or because he still wanted kangaroo.

Quarrian said to Gidgereegah. "They have the kangaroo somewhere hidden; let us slip away now in the confusion. We will only hide, then come back in a little while, and surprise them."

They went quietly away, and as soon as the two women noticed they had gone, they ceased fighting, and determined to cook the kangaroo. They watched the two young men out of sight, and waited some time so as to be sure that they were safe. Then down they hurried to get the kangaroo. They dragged it out, and were just making a big fire on which to cook it, when up came Quarrian and Gidgereegah, saying:

"Ah! we thought so. You had our kangaroo all the time; little Gwineeboo was right."

"But we killed it," said the women.

"But we hunted it here," said the men, and so saying caught hold of the kangaroo and dragged it away to some distance, where they made a fire and cooked it. Goomai, Gwineeboo, and her little boy went over to Quarrian and Gidgereegah, and begged for some of the meat, but the young men would give them none, though little Gwineeboo cried piteously for some. But no; they said they would rather throw what they did not want to the hawks than give it to the women or child. At last, seeing that there was no hope of their getting any, the women went away. They built a big dardurr for themselves, shutting themselves and the little boy up in it. Then they began singing a song which was to invoke a storm to destroy their enemies, for so now they considered Quarrian and Gidgereegah. For some time they chanted:

"Moogaray, Moogaray, May, May, Eehu, Eehu, Doongarah."

First they would begin very slowly and softly, gradually getting quicker and louder, until at length they almost shrieked it out. The words they said meant, "Come hailstones; come wind; come rain; come lightning."

While they were chanting, little Gwineeboo kept crying, and would not be comforted. Soon came a few big drops of rain, then a big wind, and as that lulled, more rain. Then came thunder and lightning, the air grew bitterly cold, and there came a pitiless hailstorm, hailstones bigger than a duck's egg fell, cutting the leaves from the trees and bruising their bark. Gidgereegah and Quarrian came running over to the dardurr and begged the women to let them in.

"No," shrieked Gwineeboo above the storm, "there was no kangaroo meat for us: there is no dardurr shelter for you. Ask shelter of the hawks whom ye fed." The men begged to be let in, said they would hunt again and get kangaroo for the women, not one but many. "No," again shrieked the women. "You would not even listen to the crying of a little child; it is better such as you should perish." And fiercer raged the storm and louder sang the women:

"Moogaray, Moogaray, May, May,
Eehu, Eehu, Doongarah."

So long and so fierce was the storm that the young men must have perished had they not been changed into birds. First they were changed into birds and afterwards into stars in the sky, where they now are, Gidgereegah and Ouarrian with the kangaroo between them, still bearing the names that they bore on the earth. 

***

This story convinced me to add it to my "Storytelling Cruise Around the World."  The "cruise" is one my most popular programs and fits well with this year's Summer Reading theme of "Adventure Begins at Your Library." Stories sometimes just have a way of calling out to be told. . . sort of like that baby calling "Gwineeboo, Gwineeboo. I want kangaroo. I want kangaroo. Gwineeboo. Gwineeboo."

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

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 December 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, April 12, 2024

Tolstoy - How I Learned to Ride - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

1949 Newbery Medal winner, also 1990 movie

April 13, 1902 is the birthday of Marguerite Henry whose 59 award-winning books about animals are primarily about horses.  I confess, while I rode as a camp counselor, I'm not really a horse person.  That doesn't keep me from appreciating horses and horsemanship.  As a librarian, Henry's books show every sign of remaining classics among young horse-lovers.

Her books rightfully remain in copyright for her estate. Since they are unavailable here, I went looking for another horse-loving author.  Leo Tolstoy's work comes close.  I was tempted to post his "The Old Horse" and recommend it...maybe another time.  In volume 12 of The Complete Works of Count Tolstoy that story precedes today's Tolstoy story of "How I Learned to Ride."  Storytellers could easily tell both as a story of the start of beginning a life of horsemanship and how it can affect the rider's life..

HOW I LEARNED TO RIDE

When I was a little fellow, we used to study every day, and only on Sundays and holidays went out and played with our brothers. Once my father said:

"The children must learn to ride. Send them to the riding-school!"

I was the youngest of the brothers, and I asked:

"May I, too, learn to ride?"

My father said:

"You will fall down."

I began to beg him to let me learn, and almost cried. My father said:

"All right, you may go, too. Only look out! Don't cry when you fall off. He who does not once fall down from a horse will not learn to ride."

When Wednesday came, all three of us were taken to the riding-school. We entered by a large porch, and from the large porch went to a smaller one. Beyond the porch was a very large room: instead of a floor it had sand. And in this room were gentlemen and ladies and just such boys as we. That was the riding-school. The riding-school was not very light, and there was a smell of horses, and you could hear them snap whips and call to the horses, and the horses strike their hoofs against the wooden walls. At first I was frightened and could not see things well. Then our valet called the riding-master, and said:

"Give these boys some horses: they are going to learn how to ride."

The master said:

"All right!"

Then he looked at me, and said:

"He is very small, yet."

But the valet said:

"He promised not to cry when he falls down."

The master laughed and went away.

Then they brought three saddled horses, and we took off our cloaks and walked down a staircase to the riding-school. The master was holding a horse by a cord, and my brothers rode around him. At first they rode at a slow pace, and later at a trot. Then they brought a pony. It was a red horse, and his tail was cut off. He was called Ruddy. The master laughed, and said to me:

"Well, young gentleman, get on your horse!"

I was both happy and afraid, and tried to act in such a manner as not to be noticed by anybody. For a long time I tried to get my foot into the stirrup, but could not do it because I was too small. Then the master raised me up in his hands and put me on the saddle. He said:

"The young master is not heavy,—about two pounds in weight, that is all."

At first he held me by my hand, but I saw that my brothers were not held, and so I begged him to let go of me. He said:

"Are you not afraid?"

I was very much afraid, but I said that I was not. I was so much afraid because Ruddy kept dropping his ears. I thought he was angry at me. The master said:

"Look out, don't fall down!" and let go of me. At first Ruddy went at a slow pace, and I sat up straight. But the saddle was sleek, and I was afraid I would slip off. The master asked me:

"Well, are you fast in the saddle?"

I said:

"Yes, I am."

"If so, go at a slow trot!" and the master clicked his tongue.

Ruddy started at a slow trot, and began to jog me. But I kept silent, and tried not to slip to one side. The master praised me:

"Oh, a fine young gentleman, indeed!"

I was very glad to hear it.

Just then the master's friend went up to him and began to talk with him, and the master stopped looking at me.

Suddenly I felt that I had slipped a little to one side on my saddle. I wanted to straighten myself up, but was unable to do so. I wanted to call out to the master to stop the horse, but I thought it would be a disgrace if I did it, and so kept silence. The master was not looking at me and Ruddy ran at a trot, and I slipped still more to one side. I looked at the master and thought that he would help me, but he was still talking with his friend, and without looking at me kept repeating:

"Well done, young gentleman!"

I was now altogether to one side, and was very much frightened. I thought that I was lost; but I felt ashamed to cry. Ruddy shook me up once more, and I slipped off entirely and fell to the ground. Then Ruddy stopped, and the master looked at the horse and saw that I was not on him. He said:

"I declare, my young gentleman has dropped off!" and walked over to me.

When I told him that I was not hurt, he laughed and said:

"A child's body is soft."

I felt like crying. I asked him to put me again on the horse, and I was lifted on the horse. After that I did not fall down again.

Thus we rode twice a week in the riding-school, and I soon learned to ride well, and was not afraid of anything.


That 1904 version was translated from the original Russian and edited by Leo Wiener, Assistant Professor of Slavic Languages at Harvard University.

If in a live telling, I would pair the Tolstoy tales with a tale from India I've been unable to find in Public Domain.  I recall several different titles given to it, The Hallowed Horse - the picture book by Demi, "The Wonderful Horse" or "A Horse Called Terror."  Sudhin Ghose was my first author of the tale.  My copy of it  (titled "The Wonderful Horse") is in Folk Tales and Fairy Stories from India .  Because Ghose died in 1965, publishing in Britain, his works entering Public Domain are based on that date and are unavailable until 1935. Do I tell stories in copyright?  Yes, as my retelling is part of its oral tradition.  To show you the power of the story, I was once in a hospital lying on a gurney, talking of course.  The technician recognized my voice and proceeded to retell it in all its many complicated twists and turns.  He had overheard me telling the story at a Festival of the Horse.  The funny thing for me is that I could have sworn my audience was no bigger than a few relatives who also came.  If you are fortunate enough to find it I'm sure you will enjoy and remember it, too.

UPDATE: Sharp-eyed reader and storyteller, Mary Garrett, noted my saying Sudhin Ghose's works don't become Public Domain until 1935.  <GASP!>  Guess all my historical programs set in the 20th century have me still thinking in the wrong century.  Ghose's work becomes Public Domain in 2035.  Getting my head straight is only part of the reason I hate copyrights based on the death date of the author.  I could start a rant on the whole topic, but, for now, will correct my error and mumble to myself.

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

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 December 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