Tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see. (Contact: .)
Please also let others know about this site.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Shelter in Place - Week 7 / Poulsson - How the West Wind Helped Dandelion - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

In the midst of all the current chaos, isn't it wonderful to see plants waking up for the spring?

Try this riddle on somebody.
When she's young she's tall and slender,
Any faint young breeze could bend her.
She grows stout as she grows old,
And her hair is sunny gold.
As the days pass out of sight,
Lo! her hair turns snowy white.
Then the children in their play
Wish--and blow her quite away.
Guess her name.--You're "tired trying;"?
Why, her name is--Dandelion.
That's a poem by Julie M. Lippmann from an early book aimed at teachers called The Primary Plan Book, Volume 3 by Marian Minnie George.  Right now my lawn has dandelions popping up and it reminds me of something my mother would always say with delight: The old man spilled his bag of gold!
Photo by from Pexels
I've hunted as thoroughly as possible and can't find what story or poem where that might originate.  Possibly an early 20th century reader?  If anybody can help me find it, please let me know!

A site called Dandelion Delight has many stories, folklore, recipes, health benefits, facts, videos, poetry, and so much more.  I'd love to find a way to contact the owner of the site, but it doesn't make contact available.  Possibly whomever it is could track down the source of Mom's saying.  The truly comprehensive site reminds us "Some see a weed, others see a wish."  Among the stories there, I found a story from another book perfect for teachers and parents, especially in the time when homeschooling is the only form of education going on everywhere!  In the Child's World; Morning Talks and Stories by Emilie Poulsson, a pioneer in early childhood work, who achieved phenomenal success as a writer and educator while blind from childhood.  She was especially noted for her poetry, including finger plays, since her focus was firmly fixed upon young children.

Beyond just today's story, it's part of the unit in In the Child's World about Wind and that, too, is something in the spring beyond when "the March winds doth blow."  This is why I am giving a bit more from that unit than just the story, but you might want to read more online at Internet Archive or download it or other Poulsson books at their Open Library.

Photo by Sharefaith from Pexels
That's only some of the material about the wind before today's story.  When scanning the story I also decided not to cut out bibliography, called "Teacher's Reading" in case you care to find some classic poetry, all are available on the internet.  The final item, "Earth and Man" by Arnold Henry Guyot is not poetry, but part of a series of lectures on physical geography.

I included her poem, "The Dandelion Cycle."  After that she gives a version of the story of "Odysseus and the Bag of Winds" from the Odyssey and a German tale of "The North Wind at Play."  If you're wondering why she doesn't include the famous Aesop fable of "The Wind and the Sun", she does, but it's in a section on Sunshine.  The book really does an admirable job of covering the topics suited to the curiosity of young children.  I'm pleased to own my own copy of it.

While I'm still thinking about stories and facts for young children, Dandelion Delight's poems include this which is obviously meant as a finger play.
Ten happy dandelions growing in a line
One turned to fluff and then there were nine
Nine happy dandelions growing by the gate
one turned to fluff and then there were eight
eight happy dandelions growing toward heaven one turned to fluff and then there were seven
seven happy dandelions growing to be picked one turned to fluff and then there were six
six happy dandelions growing close to a hive one turned to fluff and then there were five
Five happy dandelions growing more and more
One turned to fluff and then there were four
four happy dandelions growing wild and free
one turned to fluff and then there were three
three happy dandelions growing just for you
one turned to fluff and then there were two
tow happy dandelions growing in the sun
one turned to fluff and then there was one
one happy dandelion
having lots of fun it turned to fluff and then there were none
It was written by Kathy KJ Nanny.  I've no idea who she was, but Poulsson would have enjoyed it. 

How I wish libraries would re-open as the perfect picture book to go with all of this is the classic tale by Don Freeman, Dandelion.

Here in Michigan people can mow their own lawns or hire landscaping as long as "social distancing" is maintained.  Personally I share the opinion of the Dandelion Delight site and hate lawns treated to remove "weeds."  Still I have always said Spring is the time when a little hard work pays off in a lot of hard work later!

We've had the wind blow in a cold spell promising possible frost this weekend, but it won't hurt the dandelions.  Soon (I hope!) it will be warm enough to put the hammock back up.  If we're still worried about Sheltering in Place, I plan to follow the advice from an author I enjoy, Renee Pawlish, whose magnet gives this diagnosis I approve.
Until next week, may you "self-quarantine" by reading!
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!

No comments: