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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Beston - The Marvelous Dog and the Wonderful Cat - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This past week began the Year of the Dog for Chinese New Year.  A whole year deserves a story, but what cat will permit a dog getting more attention?  They are both here.  This is a fairly long story, so I will split it into three weeks. (Phew!  That gets me past the insanity of Sister Act the Musical, but I still would love for you to catch the show.)

While the use of fairies in 1919, when the book was published, may be less popular today, the sorcerers in this story are very important, in addition to the animals.  I think lovers of Harry Potter books, by the final segment, will find it includes magic enough to satisfy the faculty of Hogwarts.  (Yes, that's a hint to pay attention to the wizards.)  Also this comes in time for Tell a Fairy Tale Day 2018 on Monday, February 26. 

Back in 2013, when I started the Keeping the Public in Public Domain segments, I included that first year a story from Henry Beston's The Firelight Fairy Book.  Because the blog format puts the most recent post first, I want to post again this link to Theodore Roosevelt Junior.  The son of President Roosevelt (who was famous in his own life) wrote a Foreword worth reading and reminding us of the child inside every "grown-up"and how this book has been favorably received and "universally acclaimed" by his own and other people's children.  (Also nowadays I don't try to do two pages at a time, which I hope makes it easier to read.  Because the book is old, any slight movements of the pages is not pushed down to avoid damage to the original book.)

The adventure has begun!  The Year of the Dog has begun, too.  Come back to see more next week in preparation for Tell a Fairy Tale Day.
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 .  It's not easy, but go to snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.
       - 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.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell 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 now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!
    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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