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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Shelter in Place - Week 9 / Fox - Tin Whistle on the Bass - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

This Memorial Day weekend is considered (at least by the Michigan tourism industry and many others) the unofficial start of summer.  We've just been given permission for up to TEN! people to gather, and, after the holiday, letting businesses start to reopen in a limited way.  The Upper Peninsula and the northernmost counties started the reopening of the state in time for the holiday.  The governor said people heading north should take groceries with them and she did not permit campgrounds and rental properties to open yet.  Since people in the southern part of the state were starting to head to adjoining reopened Ohio and Indiana, it's not surprising this finally will happen statewide.  So are we able to quit "Shelter in Place"?  Dunberidiculous!  The Governor said she'd be looking at this and she did...we're supposed to continue until June 12, or at least that's the latest Executive Order for those of us in Michigan.

And so it continues. . .

Whether at your own cottage or throughout the rest of our mitten-shaped state, we have water all around our "pleasant peninsula" and enough inland lakes to challenge Minnesota's "Land of 10,000 Lakes."  Unfortunately for Gladwin and Midland County, recent heavy rains earlier this past week broke two dams with water eleven feet over flood stage.  The dams breaking completely drained lakes and flooded towns in Central Michigan along the Tittabawassee River.  Surely Edenville, Sanford, and Midland will have no holiday as they clean up.  Having gone through that with a house flood several years ago, I know that is an understatement.  For the rest of us, whether in a group of ten or alone, it's time to post new signs, not about the Pandemic, but holiday signs.  Whether you fish or not, everybody can relate to the desire for a bit of time to unwind found in the saying "Gone Fishing."
Decal/sticker from

Where would the world of storytelling be without tall tales?  My fellow members of Paint Creek Folklore Society have an annual concert called the Tin Whistle, but this bass is not a musical stringed instrument, but a fish in this well-established type of tall tale.

Have a good holiday if you're reading this in the U.S.  Wherever you are stay well and keep on telling those tall tales even if you must "Shelter in Place. "
this photo came from a blog where the author said "Maybe some rest and relaxation will recharge my batteries and get me to writing again."
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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