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Friday, February 18, 2022

Carrick - The Crab and the Jaguar - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

When technology works it's great, but when something goes wrong it can be disastrous!  In the middle of last month I discovered my website went down and even claimed it didn't have the security certificate scheduled to run through this week.  I've been with the same webhost for many years, so I gave them the benefit of extra time to correct the problem.  Eventually it became necessary to change webhosts.  That, too, took a while, but now once again is up and running properly.

I've no idea when this problem started, but am grateful that, once again, my website is up.  It was particularly ill-timed as this is the time when I started sending out my Summer Reading Program publicity.  I'm planning on a Storytelling Cruise Around the World.  This program has long been a favorite for schools, libraries, and even at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  

I also bring my puppy puppet sidekick, Buzz, dressed in his lifeguard shirt to help me with added audience participation. Buzz helps me by drawing the raffle-style tickets of audience attendees.  Together we have fun with water-related jokes and riddles.  (I freely confess to having roughly fourth grade humor.  For my international readers, that's roughly nine years old.)

The stories in the program travel from Alaska to Hawaii, Japan, Liberia, and then either Ireland for a mermaid tale or a form of the following South American story first found in English in Valery Carrick's Picture Folk-Tales.  (He also illustrated the story.)  I'll give a bit more about the story later.

Carrick doesn't give the source for this tale, but it is a variant of a South American type of story also often told by our own Native Americans.  I asked a Brazilian storytelling friend about the story and she recognized it, saying the jaguar is known for being very cruel.  She also said in Brazil it is called Onca (pronounced Own-suh).  I use that name when I tell it and confess my telling is closer to the version called "Little Crab and His Magic Eyes" (including having the vulture find blue berries) found in Margaret Read MacDonald's Twenty Tellable Tales.  I recommend the book highly.  

Both Carrick and MacDonald give some fish names that trip well on the tongue, but aren't accurate.  I'm going to switch to Trahira.  This is after following Carrick's information that the fish is the father of the Trahira fish. Trahira grow to approximately a yard long.  Additionally Trahira is one of the names of the Erythrindae family of Central and South American fish known for preying on other fish.  Holding my hands a yard apart and calling them the vicious Trahira fish seems to follow the story's intent.

Right now or in the summer, I'm sure we'd all love to take a warm water cruise around the world. 


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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