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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Carrick - The Crane and the Heron - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

"Storyteller Sorepaw" here, bringing a story from my own field and that of my neighbors, yet it reaches out from here in Michigan to Utah and possibly back into the dawn of time.  Every year at this time we are visited by a few Sandhill Cranes.  It's like watching something from the age of the dinosaurs.  In fact this article from The Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah may interest those of us who have wondered "Are Birds Really Dinosaurs?"  That article is from the controversial author, Stephen Czerkas.  He died in 2015 and Wikipedia at this point has yet to do an article on him, but as of last month the self-taught paleontologist's work attempting to trace the link from prehistoric raptors to modern birds fills up most of the 62 citations under the name of Czerkas including several from May 2017.  I'm certainly not a paleontologist, and don't know if past mistakes like his National Geographic accidental hoax about Archaeoraptor prove anything beyond curiosity will always leave us wondering.

Fortunately I do have the ability to find stories, including many in the Public Domain which can be published for our enjoyment without restriction.  The stories are not necessarily about this particular type of Crane as Sandhill Cranes are one of 15 living species of a bird with a record that continues to fascinate paleontologists and the public alike.  That fascination includes stories wherever any cranes have appeared, Asia, Europe, and here in North America.

Some other time I may add other crane stories, but today prefer a story that includes a cousin of the Crane, the Heron, who also is here in Michigan.  The Sandhill Crane and our own Blue Heron may not be the specific species in this Russian tale, but the story is a delightful look at the contrariness of courting.  I prefer it to television's attempt with The Bachelor.  Earlier on this blog we've had another article and three stories by or about Valery Carrick .  Those stories and today's tale come from his trio of Picture Tales from the Russian.  Today's offering is from the first volume and was translated by Nevill Forbes with Carrick's own humorous drawings.  Don't get hung up on the inter-species behavior, just enjoy this look at "true love" and its difficulties.  Oh heck, here's a site with lots of quotes about True Love and, if that's too sappy for you, let your cursor hover over the Topics button at the top of the page and go to others on love you prefer.

Fortunately my own "local" cranes each year seem to match this Wikipedia claim, "Cranes are perennially monogamous breeders, establishing long-term pair bonds that may last the lifetime of the birds." I can't tell the male from the female, but they clearly are more motivated in their search for food in the fields than by whose turn it is to be in charge.
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!"
  • The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:            
               - David K. Brown -
               - Karen Chace -
               - Richard Martin -
               - Spirit of Trees -
           - Story-Lovers - is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at and put in in the search box.  I recommend using the latest "snapshot" on November 2016
               - Tim Sheppard -
               -  World of Tales -

    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.  For an example of using the "Wayback Machine", 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 gone, but using the Wayback Machine you can still see it.  At the Wayback Machine I put in his site's address, then chose 2006 since it was a later year and clicked until I reached the Library at  

    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin -  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a., when that becomes the only way to find them.
You can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun discovering even more stories!

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