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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Wilde - The Selfish Giant - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

One of several illustrated editions, this by S.Saelig Gallagher
Winter still tries to cling to parts of the United States, at times including Michigan.  I keep telling myself Lent is a Middle English word for "springtime.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary says its first known use was in the 13th century and it's "akin to Old High German lenzin spring."  This all fits perfectly with a tale of the seasons from Oscar Wilde often used as an Easter story.  Easter's quickly approaching and the story divides well with a good split between before and after, so this week I'll only give the first half.  It doesn't have to be limited to Easter.  I've used it as a movie in a summer series, for example.

Next week I will add to the story's conclusion some ways this beloved story may be used in either teaching or other programs.

While Wilde said the story was a fairy tale to read to children, this is only because he didn't write for their reading level.  It has many levels to it as, like all Wilde's writing, it is done so well.  Definitely adults can enjoy it, too.

As "Gypsy Thornton or InkGypsy" put it when writing about The Selfish Giant in her Once Upon a Blog: This story seems to be one of those 'illustrators's dream' assignments as I've rarely seen a sub-par set of illustrations for this fairy tale. And how could it not be? Giants, children, seasons, castles, trees, a little visit from a not-quite-human visitor and a village populated with interesting characters.. there's so much to work with.

But let's have other comments wait and begin.
from the My Book House set edited by Olive Beupre Miller, Anonymous Artist?

from the My Book House set edited by Olive Beupre Miller, Anonymous Artist?

from Story Hour Readings - Fifth Year by E.C. Hartwell, Anonymous Artist?
from the My Book House set edited by Olive Beupre Miller, Anonymous Artist?

What indeed?  Like the Giant "I hope there will be a change in the weather."

As a storyteller I prepared this segment while about to head into a late wintry storm coming across the state, but was told the day after I'm back home we should reach 70 degrees!  At the risk of being as Selfish as a Giant, I'll hold off on the rest of the story until next week, but I'll suggest looking at this picture by Wladimir Dowgialo from Belarus. 
Once Upon a Blog about The Selfish Giant illustrated by Wladimir Dowgialo
The book is in Belarusian and so I trust both the "InkGypsy" and I are on safe grounds -- whether snow-covered or not.  Her blog gives you even more opportunity to see this work, so I recommend clicking the hotlink in the caption above.

Next week's story conclusion will include a variety of resources for using this story.

Until then here's my closing for days when I have a story in Keeping the Public in Public Domain

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.
  • 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!"
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

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