At the end of this story of Unktomee I'll look at the Iktomi series of stories by Paul Goble. Unktomee is explained by "Smoky Day", the storyteller who frames the stories within 27 evenings.
I'm always a lover of Fox tales, so that story's addition of the fox to a story that could have ended without him just adds to my enjoyment. At the same time I notice the illustration by Edwin Willard Deming has Unktomee as a "strange little old man", but is earlier called by the narrator a Spider. That's what the name means and we are told he is a shape-shifter. The name also shifts slightly in pronunciation but is still recognizable in the work of Caldecott award winning author/artist, Paul Goble. His Wikipedia article repeats English Goble's background of adoption by Chief Edgar Red Cloud in South Dakota's Black Hills.
Goble's work is not without criticism both in the book Unsettling Narratives: Postcolonial Readings of Children's Literature by Clare Bradford on pages 29 and 30 and 81-83 and online at American Indians in Children's Literature quoting Native authors, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, and Doris Seale, and subsequent discussion in the blog by Debbie Reese.
Oh, Unktomee, how you must be laughing!
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.
There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection. I recommended it earlier and want to continue to do so. Have fun discovering even more stories!
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