This Native American Heritage Month my blog has a story each week from our greatly varied Native American folklore, one from each of the four directions, starting last week with Michigan's own Anishinaabeg in the North. Today is probably my second favorite source of Native American folklore, James Mooney's wonderful Myths of the Cherokee for the south. I've posted his work half a dozen times here starting back in February of 2016 when I said:
Not only did a Cherokee storytelling friend once verify the accuracy of the book by saying it didn't even make the elders snicker much -- as in their respecting its getting the material right! -- but the versions often tell well exactly as Mooney wrote it. Today's story is wonderfully tellable.
Today's story is also tellable and has the benefit of brevity. It plays upon both the idea of the directions I've made a theme for this month AND the changes in weather across our country.
70. THE BRIDE FROM THE SOUTH
The North went traveling, and after going far and meeting many different tribes he finally fell in love with the daughter of the South and wanted to marry her. The girl was willing, but her parents objected and said, “Ever since you came the weather has been cold, and if you stay here we may all freeze to death.” The North pleaded hard, and said that if they would let him have their daughter he would take her back to his own country, so at last they consented. They were married and he took his bride to his own country, and when she arrived there she found the people all living in ice houses.
The next day, when the sun rose, the houses began to leak, and as it climbed higher they began to melt, and it grew warmer and warmer, until finally the people came to the young husband and told him he must send his wife home again, or the weather would get so warm that the whole settlement would be melted. He loved his wife and so held out as long as he could, but as the sun grew hotter the people were more urgent, and at last he had to send her home to her parents.
The people said that as she had been born in the South, and nourished all her life upon food that grew in the same climate, her whole nature was warm and unfit for the North.
There's always a need to talk about the weather. We're told "Everybody talks about it, no one does a thing about it", but it's good we don't have to "do a thing about it" this way. Hmmm I never used the search label of Weddings before, but this might have additional uses for telling.
Until next week I hope your stories are all pleasant and you have enjoyed this changeable time for the weather often called "Indian Summer." Unfortunately, just like this marriage tale, those of us in changing climates need to accept it can't last (darnit!).
- 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. http://folkmasa.org/motiv/motif.htm
- 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!"
- Zalka Csenge Virag - http://multicoloreddiary.blogspot.com 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!