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Friday, November 13, 2020

Powers - How Giving Evil for Evil Ends - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

November for the United States has traditionally been a time of elections.  Being primarily a two-party system, it has sometimes felt like the swing of a pendulum.  If you tend to think like Edgar Allan Poe in "The Pit and the Pendulum",  that swing can be dangerous.  I went looking for quotations about elections from someone never a U.S. politician, to avoid coloring what was said.  This led me to the late Indira Gandhi.  She was indeed a politician in India and was assassinated.  I won't attempt to gauge her political record here, but was impressed by many things she said listed in Brainy Quotes offering of 40 Indira Gandhi Quotes.  A few fit today's topic looking at elections, starting with "Winning or losing of the election is less important than strengthening the country."

November is also Native American Heritage Month.  Aside from Pourquoi tales, explaining Why something happened or exists, much of Native American tales are teaching tales.  ("Pourquoi" is French for "why.")  Last week I discovered a story I would hope our politicians and all of us after the election could keep in mind as the pendulum swings.

I guess you could call that the other side of the Golden Rule of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I intentionally left "THE END" as it was the end of the book, Around an Iroquois Story Fire by Mabel Powers and also fits what the story was saying.  Two other stories from that book have been posted here under that Powers hotlink.  One was at the start of last month about "Why Leaves Turn Red and Yellow", a Pourquoi tale.  I was surprised to see initially I had no biographical hotlink for her first story here.  At that time I did give her endorsement by the Iroquois Confederation and her adoption as an honorary member by the Seneca and mentioned her work in the Chautauqua movement.  I also would like now to recommend the article about her in the Chautauqua Daily, "Mabel Powers: Advocate for Native Americans, Women and Peace" 

Beyond this story, I find myself looking at two more Indira Gandhi quotes.  "This is why we feel that democracy's important: because democracy allows you to have small explosions and therefore avoid the bigger explosions."  She also said, "You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist."  Right now nobody is shaking hands thanks to Covid, but now is definitely the time to remember, as the pendulum has swung in so many elections, what happens if we store up evil and try to deliver it.


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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