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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Bailey - The Birthday Stick - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

The White Rabbit by John Tenniel
Let's hear it for Un-Birthdays with today's story!  If it should actually be your birthday, here's a story about measuring up to be the best you can be...sounds like all those New Year's Resolutions. 

I want to say more after the story (which isn't from Alice in Wonderland) about a great Alice in Wonderland site, because the concept of Un-birthdays originated in Lewis Carroll's wonderful nonsense.  It might be called "illogic", but there's always a ring of truth in his work and shouldn't be dismissed as just for children. 

Before today's story, at the risk of saying this twice like the White Rabbit, "I'm late! I'm late", that's what made me look for a birthday story.  Too often I'm late getting out birthday wishes.  It's especially bad, not just for me, but for most people when it comes close to those with end of the year birthdays around the holidays.  I posted earlier this week on Facebook an apology to friends with birthdays recently.  It's no excuse, but I said: You are probably used to it, since the holidays get everybody's attention, but I've a few other things happening, too, so I feel like I've been worse than usual at wishing you had a great birthday. Happy Un-Birthday!"

I've often posted stories by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey as she not only published a great deal, but her writing is fairly close to being tellable without a lot of changes.  She knew how to reach an audience and wrote a lot on seasonal and special times of the year.  In fact earlier I gave a birthday story by her, "The Princess Who Saw Herself", about a tomboy of a princess I called "not your typical fairy tale princess, but more of a terror of a princess."  Here's a prince receiving a birthday present that, like the fairy godmother's gift in "Sleeping Beauty", is not what was expected.  Since New Year's and Birthdays are milestones, they're a perfect time to see if we are measuring up to all we might be.  That's the theme behind today's story from Bailey.  She calls it a folk tale but doesn't give the source.  Maybe it is, but it's also very much from the fortunate Miss Bailey.

Photograph of Lenny
Lenny de Rooy, creator of
So if today should actually be your birthday, consider this your special present.  For the rest of us, let's enjoy our Un-birthday!  If you're at all interested in Alice in Wonderland, I recommend where you can find so much for lovers of the original story and more.  That "more" includes not only Alice in Wonderland, and the sequel of Through the Looking Glass, complete with a lost chapter, and even the original manuscript which started it all, but also The Nursery ‘Alice’, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland retold for children ‘from nought to five’, but as they say on t.v. "infomercials", That's Not All!  Disney's movie script and illustrations are given along with all the wonderful illustrations by John Tenniel, complete with information about him and also Alice Liddell, Carroll's inspiration for the stories.  There are other things like quotes, links, and trivia, enough to satisfy serious researchers, but also resources to throw your own Mad Tea Party, even ideas for an Alice inspired Christmas tree, playing cards, a store to purchase Alice items, a forum, and the blog by Lenny de Rooy, the site creator.  

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Don't go away mad.  Come back next week to see what's here.

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.  

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.  He has just loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so one can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression he likes by pressing one key.

He also loaded to his server the doctorate thesis of Prof. Dov Noy (Neunan) "Motif-index of Talmudic-Midrahic literature" Indiana University, 1954, as a PDF file.
in the hope that some of you would make use of it.

You can see why that is a site I recommend to you.

Have fun discovering even more stories!

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