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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Oglevee - An Easter Surprise - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Photo by Nick Reynolds on Unsplash
Today's story starts with weather matching my own area now.  I love tulips and, while cities or villages near me may have tulips popping out, I've yet to see any on our more rural hilltop.  To my mind, while lilies are linked to Easter,  tulips also belong with Easter.  If you look at the Western (Gregorian) calendar, Easter can come as early as March 22 or as late as April 25, which makes a difference on what flowers might be growing or must come from a greenhouse.  At my house and on woodland walks here it's clearly very early into just the start of spring.

"Easter Surprise" ends with a warm spring breeze.  I'll hold my own "hot air" until the story is over before saying a bit about the author, where the story can be found, and an opinion or two.

Before saying any more, take a breath or two and enjoy the joy of that elderly couple.

If you were sharp eyed, you may have noticed my copy came from A Very Little Child's Book of Stories.  It was collected by the sisters, Ada M. and Eleanor L. Skinner, who put together many delightful books, including some original writing, often publishing as a team.  Besides this book they created, among other anthologies, three related books, A Child's Book of Stories, A Little Child's Book of Stories, and A Child's Book of Stories from Many Lands with the always wonderful illustrator, Jessie Willcox Smith.  I may disagree with their thinking today's story was for "A Very Little Child", but this book cover certainly fits the story. 

Frankly the story seems today as if it would be best appreciated by an adult.  Back when the story was first written it might have been intended as character education for children.

On a personal level, I can't help but wonder what three year-old Paul's mother thought when she found her own "large bed of beautiful tulips" dug up?  The author dwells instead on how it helped the elderly couple who greatly needed them.

The story appeared earlier in The Elson Readers, volume 3 in the Holidays section of the early 20th century readers our American ancestors grew up with in school.  But the author of today's story might have slipped into obscurity except for her poetry, writing lyrics for her husband William's hymns, and her own book, The Child's First Songs In Religious Education.  A blog by the North Wellington Christian Home Educators wrote an article on "The Delight of Memorizing Poetry" with this poem:
My Beautiful Palace.
A beautiful palace my King gave to me,
And all through my lifetime my home it will be.
I call it my body, to use as I will,
But this I remember; that God owns it still.
From things that would harm it, I'll keep it away,
And carefully guard it by night and by day.
Its windows and doors are my lips, ears, and eyes.
Dear King, help me use them in ways that are wise.
-Louise M. Oglevee
The author of that article calls it "A delightful poem that we heard for many years was called My Beautiful Palace.  The truths it contained had a way of speaking even to grown up hearts."  I'd say the same about today's story.

I thought I'd never run across Mrs. Ogilvee's work before until I found her lyric to "Holy Ground" which Rynna Ollivier's blog, For Times of Trouble , credits
the words of a song I sang as a child in Primary ran through my mind.
“This is God’s House, and He is here today, He hears each song of praise and listens when we pray” (lyrics: Louise M. Oglevee, music: William G. Oglevee).
These simple yet profound words sank deep into my heart, as did the unmistakable message that the ward building was holy ground!
The Ogilvees wrote for the Church of Latter Day Saints, commonly called the Mormons.  I've never gone to a Mormon church, but that song has traveled to other churches and I know I recognize it.  On this Easter and beyond I hope you remember that God "is here today, He hears each song of praise and listens when we pray."
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 - 
           - Zalka Csenge Virag - doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.
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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