Tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see. (Contact: .)
Please also let others know about this site.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Bailey - Cuffy ... part 2 - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Fear of bees or bee stings is a common phobia.

Isn't it a good thing bear cubs can swim? Last week we saw Cuffy running for the river to stop the stinging after his attempt to raid a honey tree.  First let us see how he manages.

Afterwards I'll give a brief Anishinaabe tale from our Great Lakes Native American wisdom.  Along the way including some factual information and a source or two for other Native American lore.

Yellow Jacket or hornet

As I mention on my website's page about nature programs I offer,  I and my puppy puppet, Buzz,  especially want to help children with one of their biggest fears... BEES, while learning their vital role in our food supply.

When the Going Buggy in the Garden program was being prepared, various Nature links were selected.  The Storytelling Resources section of my website includes them in the page of Specialized Resources under Nature.   They mainly focus on insects, especially bees, but my years as a librarian let me find similar resources for your program.  The same page also includes tools to let me or you make puzzles and other handouts on your topic.

I promised a brief Anishinaabe tale related to bees and hornets.  

Bee (collected by a scientist) -- note its fuzzy hairs, unlike a hornet
Back in the early days after Gitchee Manitou (the Great Spirit) made the world, Nanabazhoo (also spelled and pronounced in many ways including Manabozho) was able to help with some of the early problems.  One of those problems was brought by bees, who said their honey and their own safety was endangered as they had no defense.   Nanabazhoo needed time to think of a solution and told them to come back later and he would help.  When the time came, the generous bees brought their cousins, the hornets with them.  Nanabazhoo had created stingers as a weapon for the bees, but the hornets took them, too.  While bees agreed to use the stingers only once and then only to defend themselves or their honey, the hornets made no such promise.  Hornets have awful tempers and will sting repeatedly.  So often people mistake the Yellow Jacket for the Bee and too often blame the bee.  

While there aren't many Native American legends about the bee, you can find a few at Native American Language Net and there's also this Cherokee tale of "How the Honey Bee Got Their Stinger " which shows some similarity and comes from First People - The Legends.  The late author and folktale collector, Louise Jean Walker, grew up in Michigan, so of course she did what she could to gather the old stories then in danger of being forgotten.  This story can be found in her Legends of Green Sky Hill.  She also created a companion book, Woodland Wigwams.  

All of this talk about insects reminds me of the time I quoted Ogden Nash, saying:
In His wisdom God created the Fly
and then forgot to tell us why.
Since so many Native American tales are Pourquois tales -- tales telling us why something is the way it is, I asked a Medicine Woman about the fly.  She pointed out their role in decomposition of dead animals, food, et cetera.  She knew many stories, but she never gave me one for the fly.  Maybe you can create one?  

In the meantime be thankful to the bee and keep it safe, for it is vital to our agriculture.  Next week I think we may yet have another adventure by Cuffy since this is a busy time for me.

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 -
         - 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
       - 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!

No comments: