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

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Olcott - Pansy-Boy - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

There's a reason I love wildflowers...I'm a TERRIBLE gardener!  I swear plants see me coming and cringe.  If they have a way of thinking, I just bet they are thinking "OH NO!  DON'T LET HER GET ME!"  If the opposite of having a green thumb is a black thumb, as in death, that's me.

Right now in the stores I'm seeing the most adorable pansies.  I am at least waiting until next week.  Last year at this time I had pansies happily in a planter at my front door.  Off I went to a storytelling conference for a few days and came back to pansies that had been wind-beaten and probably frozen.  They didn't live.

I love pansies with their cheerful little flower faces. 

I'm certainly not alone in my love of them.  The pansies in the photo on the right is from Karen at Beatriece Euphemie's Vintage Cottage Style blog where she talks about how every year she tries to find as many different types of pansies to plant in pots for her deck. She lives in Washington state, but I can tell from her latest blog article on April 23 that her area is much farther into spring than here in my part of Michigan.  She even says, "The last few years I have been able to find what is called, 'Glacier Pansies' or 'Icicle Pansies'. These are sold in the fall and will bravely bloom their little hearts out all winter long and then put on a spectacular show come Spring."  Hmmm.  Tempting.

She gives a bit of background, saying they are "derived from the wildflower called 'Hearts-ease', 'Johnny Jump up' (and kiss me), or 'Viola Tricolor'. The name 'Hearts-ease' came from the woman St. Euphrasia, whose name in Greek signifies 'cheerfulness of mind'. The Specific colors of the original flower 'Viola Tricolor'- purple, yellow, or white- are meant to symbolize 'memories, loving thoughts, and souvenirs', respectively, as these traits are all helpful in easing lover's hearts."  She also tells,"Pansy gets it's name from the French word Pensee', meaning 'Thought' and was so named because the flower resembles a human face; in August it nods forward as if deep in thought. In the Victorian Language of Flowers, the Pansy was given to lovers or friends as a symbol of how often they were thought of."

On the practical side she says they die off or go dormant when the sun of summer gets too hot for them.  The thing she doesn't include is this very brief story from the ancient Greek lyric poet, Pindar, as retold by Frances Jenkins Olcott, in her botanically themed book, The Wonder Garden.  I enjoyed the Vintage Cottage Style blog enough that I think I'll send it to her along with letting you enjoy it.
By the way, I was curious about where Arcady was, it was a region in ancient Greece poetically associated with a tradition of rural, bucolic innocence.  There also were at least three kings there, although it's spelled Aepytus, their own stories show it wasn't always a happy life to be king in ancient Greece.  There still is a modern region of Arcadia, although this home of the Greek god, Pan, and possible site of the mummified remains of Alexander the Great, has had massive numbers of its population emigrate to the Americas in the past century.  There was such a drain, often half a village, that it was feared the towns would turn into ghost towns.

Returning to the Pansy-Boy himself, o.k. I know the term "pansy" has been used negatively, but the image of a five-day-old infant happily laughing and enjoying himself on a "blanket" of pansies is certainly part of that bucolic innocence.  Karen at Beatrice Eupehemie says, "There are two varieties- clear faced and the 'Monkey faced', that has a dark blotch in the middle of the face."  It's always been the pansies with the happy face that I have loved.

Now do I love them enough to not try and grow them?!?
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!

No comments: