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Saturday, November 9, 2019

Stories and more about the Wind - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

It's commonly said "Everybody talks about the weather, but no one does a thing about it."  There's been plenty to talk about as the weather seems to have rushed the end of autumn and the start of winter.  Winds bringing colder than normal weather began even before Halloween and it promises to stay until at least November 20 and possibly to Thanksgiving.  They're even mentioning the "S" word to accumulate!  Summer is NOT the word anymore.

Thinking about this started me looking for stories about . . .

The WIND! 

Our winter weather comes down out of Canada, so it seems reasonable that today's story should come from there.  The tale comes from southern British Columbia's Thompson River people (as they were called at the time the story was recorded by the American Folklore Society in 1898) now called the Nlaka'pamux. The simplest form -- and most re-tellable form -- of it comes in Caroline Cunningham's The Talking Stone.
Like I said it's re-tellable and we all probably are wishing the Wind was so easily controlled.  (Well maybe not people wanting wind turbines to produce power.)

A later book by the same title was edited and the story retold by Dorothy deWit.  She called her story "The-Boy-Who-Snared-the-Wind and the Shaman's Daughter."  Her book is still in copyright, but she gave her source as "Traditions of the Thompson River Indians" in the Memoirs of the American Folklore Society, 1898.  Of course this made me want to see the original.  I'll give it here, but maybe you don't care to follow that academic route and just wanted an enjoyable tale of the wind.  If so, you may enjoy this bit of nursery verse:
(Found in various editions of My Book House, vol. 1 edited by Olive Beaupre Miller)

Now for those wanting the "rest of the story", it includes that mythic folk hero, Coyote, and a bit of explanation about an unusual word, the stsuq, follows after it.
If you're like me, you probably wondered "What the heck is a stsuq?" This is answered at the back of the book in the Notes section.

The Coyote version I just gave is considerably different from the version deWitt admits she retold.  To justify her version she cites yet another story which she blended with it.  Unfortunately copyright prevents me from giving it here.  Go to a library to borrow a copy if you're that curious.  Personally, knowing what a trickster Coyote traditionally is, I'm sure he would be amused.
Image by ArtTower from Pixabay
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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