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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Croker - The Wonderful Tune - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Stuck on my Bunny Slope of a hill, a gig postponed by the return of winter's grip.  Let's have an earlier publishing of the promised travel to southern Erin for a story I love to tell.  I do shorten it, but it's here in its original form.  When I first found it, a note only said it was Irish.  To find the original story I had to ask fellow storyteller, Richard Marsh.

Richard left the Upper Peninsula of Michigan years ago for Ireland.  He swears he can't tell a story unless his hands are in the position of sitting at the steering wheel of his bus.  Not true!  I've seen him tell on two different trips back to the Auld Sod of Michigan.  You can tell he regularly tells stories in all kinds of places besides his Legendary Tours bus.  I've mentioned him here before as he's a great resource for lovers of Irish folklore, including the ancient legends.  (He's also a tour guide able to have even American teens enjoy his "blarney" showing Irish historical sites and their lively stories.)  He didn't know this story himself, but knew Irish folklore resources well enough to wonder if Croker collected it.

Thomas Crofton Croker did indeed.  The National Gallery of Ireland states back in 1825 he was the first to record Irish or British oral folk tales in writing.  He's also a perfect model for National Reading Month as he's said to have had little formal schooling, but read widely.  His works were translated by the Brothers Grimm and he could easily be said to have launched European folklore.
Twenty-eight of his works are found online at the Open Library.  This story came from his second book, Fairy legends and traditions of the south of Ireland.  Enjoy, but be careful if you tell it, for it really requires dancing...something I love to include in my storytelling whenever possible!

(The binding was tricky on this book making some line edges less clear than I like.  Without resorting to either my computer's or my browser's ability to enlarge the screen, I was able read or decide what was written, so I apologize, but think this story is worth the bit of bother.  You may prefer to use Magnifier through your computer's Control Panel, or other features to have a larger View.)


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 normal monthly posting of a research project here.  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my monthly postings as often as I can manage it.    

I also want to recommend  an online database of International Folktales,
Yashpheh (Jasper), is a labor of love by fellow storyteller, Dr. Yoel Perez, in Haifa, Israel.  He, too, wants to Keep the Public in Public Domain and storytelling.

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