With all the activity in May, I've been using stories from three of E.C. Hartwell's Story Hour Readings. Today is from the Seventh Year book and originated in Frederick O'Brien's travel book, White Shadows in the South Seas. I've never seen the 1928 classic silent film of the same name. It was supposedly "loosely based" on the book, but it would have been a challenge to film this wild adventure O'Brien lived. The Wikipedia article on Swordfish doesn't hint at the danger of this story, but in that article's footnotes we learn they can kill even sharks and ancient Hawaiians feared the swordfish for their attacking and piercing fishing canoes. A CNN article talks about one killing an experienced fisherman in 2015. All information talks about the swordfish and the related marlin as being the fastest fish using their agility to catch their prey.
With all of that in mind, let's dive into this tale from the South Seas.
Obviously our grandparents or great grandparents classroom reading went far beyond "Dick and Jane." It was meant for Seventh Year students. My own Storytelling Cruise Around the World is often open to children too young for this story, but teens and adults might appreciate it.
- 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!