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Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mooney - The Ice Man - Keeping the Public in Public Domain


I'm ready for it and think it sounds like a delightful idea.

Within the past week winter has definitely reared its unwanted head again with rain turning to ice and freezing rain (my least favorite weather) and then on to snow and bone chilling temperatures.  Even my "malamutt" (husky/malamute mix) has had difficulties with it.

He wants to be in with his "pack", but then he's too hot.  He wants to be on the trail -- after all I do call him my "cross trainer", but zero degrees or even zero wind chill leaves me . . . well, cold.  He's also getting old enough that at times being indoors seems to strike him as tempting as I find the idea of hibernation.

Usually a warm up in a place beyond correctly mitten-shaped Michigan sounds good, but travel right now is even less delightful as the government shutdown stretches on.  My other alternative is to get involved with rehearsals and production of a show.  O.k.  I've just been cast in a small but fun part in You Can't Take It With You.  Fortunately it's not big enough to take away my working on a major program I'm developing about Prohibition.

It's called High Times in the Dry Times and will look at how prohibition got a head start of two years in Michigan and then we supplied what has been estimated to be 3/4 of the smuggled alcohol for the rest of the nation.  I'll preview it February 21 at Brandon Township Library.  If you are interested, that link will let you register.  The description of  
Michigan started Prohibition two years before the U.S. enacted the Volstead Act in 1919 and wound up being a pivotal player with its prolific waterways.  Lois Sprengnether Keel explains how people went to extremes to secure alcohol - by any means necessary.
hints at some of the very large topic, but omits that it will include music and opportunity for audience participation and more.

Even with You Can't Take It With You at Pontiac Theatre IV and working on High Times in the Dry Times, looking at the forecast of sub-zero days leaves the idea of Hibernation tempting me.  In the past I've found stories about bears and how they don't truly hibernate, but instead go into a "torpor", and maybe that's more the state I'm seeking.  Then I saw about alligators in true hibernation in the ice
and that brought me back to ICE!


There's just something about ice that called to me this week, the very same week that the 2019 GEICO U.S. Figure Skating Championships are being held here in Detroit.  That link would let me buy tickets and they're fairly reasonable, but I think I'll just let torpor lead me to the television.  Our area will host this again for the first time since the 1994 great scandal of the attack on Nancy Kerrigan here that was tied to Tonya Harding.  Searching those names gives plenty of drama, but I want to stick to a short story from the Cherokee about an Ice Man and how he could put out a dangerous fire.  James Mooney's Myths of the Cherokee gives us a story to curl up and enjoy.

I understand why firefighters also must wish humans could enter either torpor or hibernation as people wouldn't be tempted to heat their residences in ways that lead to fire and, right now, ice.

Stay warm.  Stay safe.  (Want more Public Domain stories?  Suggestions follow in my usual "small print" for Keeping the Public in Public Domain entries.)
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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