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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Bailey - Stout-Heart and the Dragon - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Back when I ordered Tlingit Myths And Texts, I also found an anthology by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey.  I've always found her work, both original stories and collections of stories by others, to be quite tellable.  Not sure if "tellable" is a word beyond the storytelling world, but it is a credit to her that I already have posted her work 13 times before this and I have many of her books, both in the Public Domain and not yet.  The book was clearly the personal property of a young boy from long ago.  The cover has separated from the text, but, other than his writing his name in pencil and it clearly being read often and loved, it's in good condition.  The title story, The Torch of Courage, is set in the winter, so I want to save it for another time.  The title page and cover are the book's only illustrations.  With all the current excitement with the Game of Thrones series, I thought the present was a great time for a dragon tale.  I'm fond of dragon stories anyway, so it grabbed my attention right away.  All the stories in the book require courage on the part of someone, so let's open with a dragon drawing scary enough to worry our hero, Stout-Heart, who already has the challenge of an orthopedic handicap.
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

It seems somehow appropriate that Stout-Heart, who also probably was called crooked and ugly, found the truth about the dragon.  Since there are no illustrations in the book, I went looking to see if I could find a dragon-shaped tree in real life.  There's a plum tree in Vietnam that supposedly is, but I just don't see the dragon in it even though others do.  Instead I found this tree that would need to be seen closer, but definitely looks like a dragon.  It's in the ancient abandoned city of Chellah within the capital city of Morocco .
Found on
Today's story was the second to the end of the book, The Torch of Courage.  Next week's story is the final tale and also requires courage.  (I wonder if that was why the original owner treasured this book?).
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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