Anthropologist and museum director, Arthur C. Parker, was from an important Seneca family on his father's side and wrote over the years about the Seneca along with the rest of the Iroquois Confederacy. He was one of the founders of the Society of American Indians, the first national organization run by and for Native Americans and it also aimed to "educate the public about Native Americans." I have long enjoyed three of his books, Seneca Myths & Folk Tales and Skunny Wundy; Seneca Indian Tales (both now in Public Domain); and Rumbling Wings and Other Indian Tales (which won't yet enter Public Domain for another two years). As a children's librarian I first discovered him through his highly approachable Skunny Wundy, and think of it and today's story as I watch my oak trees begin to bud. I also find it an interesting allegory of resistance to what seems like overwhelming attack.
|Photo by Ira Huz on Unsplash
I confess it, I hate seeing the oak's brown leaves of winter, so while this gives the hope of spring, the story also explains their drab, stubborn leaves that cling through that long season.
I found myself wondering about the Tamarack. There are various Michigan places named Tamarack, including the Tamarack District Library in Lakeview, Michigan, where I've presented two of my historical programs. But I wasn't sure I knew what a Tamarack looked like. It's always good research to start with the simple overview on Wikipedia. There I learned it was also called a larch and the wood is so good for making snowshoes that "The word akemantak is an Algonquian name for the species and means 'wood used for snowshoes'." Looking at the article's photos I still didn't know enough to identify it, although I began to realize it may be more often grown north of my metro Detroit location. The Arborsmith LTD's tree of the month article was far more helpful, showing it in spring, telling of its color change in autumn, and a photo of it bare in winter in addition to explaining more about the tree.
A further resource is "Get to Know Your Buds" from the Overton Park Conservancy.
Personally I'm delighted to see my oak trees budding and find the story of the two trees also a good allegory with the resilience of the Oak showing its determination to withstand attacks.
|Overton Park photo of Red Oak buds
- 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!