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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Babbitt - The Pennywise Monkey - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Monkeying around implies doing dumb things.

 We all do dumb things from time to time, sometimes even in clusters.  My husband refers to expensive ones as paying "Stupidity Tax."  Yep, been there. . . recently.  Rather than sit and bemoan dumb things done, it pays to look at whatever positives you can find.  There may not be many.  In my case I now have a newer version of Android on a newer tablet.  As for the other things that went wrong. . . 'nuff said.

Sometimes it also helps to read or watch a story about something even worse.  First I would like you to make a return visit to a very short story from Ellen C. Babbitt called "The Stupid Monkeys" and it's in her second book of Indian stories called More Jataka Tales.

If you clicked on that story you found a discussion about how proverbs make a great starting point for writing a story, especially a fable with animals.  Then the question was whether or not to tell the moral (the proverb or lesson) of the story or let the reader or audience draw its own conclusion.  Babbitt never tells, but lets you draw your own conclusions.  If indeed you read the story I posted back in 2015 (my this has been a long time!), I don't comment on how it wasn't half as stupid for the monkeys as it was for that human gardener and I doubt he kept his job.

Monkeys are numerous in India and so they are also numerous in the Jataka Tales.  That 2015 article also told about the origin of the Jataka Tales.  Babbitt did a very tellable slender pair of books for her version.  Buddhist literature has them for their earliest literature and Aesop Fables and also the Hindu Panchatantra share some of the same stories.  This isn't one of them, but maybe it should be.


That almost sounds like it should go to the heads of our world governments.

Guess it's time for me to quit monkeying around.
(But I like to include the following "fine print" about ways to find more stories.)
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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