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Friday, October 16, 2020

Channell - The Maple Leaf For Ever! - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash

One of the great things about having a dog needing regular exercise is it gets you out and on the trails.  At this time there still are colorful leaves in our area, with splashes of the red leaves on maple trees.  The wind and rain are doing their best to turn them into "leaf confetti" on the ground.  

Frances Jenkins Olcott's book, The Wonder Garden, is a book of "Nature Myths and Tales from All the World Over for Story-Telling and Reading Aloud And for the Children's Own Reading."  I looked there for something offering a nature story to fit the beauty of autumn before we lose the colorful leaves.

Here in Oakland County many of the brown leaves of oaks will stay until next spring.  I always try unsuccessfully to see how the spring buds knock them off.  Guess I need to talk with a park naturalist.  I confess I'm always impressed by the riot of colors hidden all along by chlorophyll!  It's hard to believe the colors are there all along.

If I was telling this story, now, as opposed to in the winter, I would omit the opening and closing paragraph's where the Maple tells the story called a "Canadian Tale."  There's a tiny bit more to say, but it will keep until after the story.

I could find no information about Grace Channell, nor her original source of the "Canadian Tale", but The Canadian Magazine had more than a 40 year run as "the premiere monthly literary journal of Anglophone Canada."  This story seems to take that "literary" idea a bit far, but the idea of the creation of a "bright sister" tree and the beauty and purpose of the maple is worth telling as a nature myth.

Of course it also fits that popular Canadian song about "The Maple Leaf Forever."


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 the late 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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