It's always great to learn articles here have been appreciated in some way. I received an email from a family in Colorado this past week thanking me for an earlier article here.
If you don't mind I would like to send you a quick thank you from our family. My daughter Grace had to do a report for her social studies class for Womens History Month. She chose to write about the women's suffrage movement. I let her use my computer for their homework stuff (while looking over the shoulder) which is how we discovered your helpful page, https://www.storytellingresearchlois.com/2019/04/the-19th-amendment.html
Since I am quite cautious it was tough getting sites for her to use on her own so you have my thanks! She had the wonderful idea to send a personal note so I asked if she had any questions or favorites to share for fun. She did print out this article that has a lot of fun facts about Women's Suffrage in America: https://wyomingllcattorney.com/Blog/Womens-Suffrage-and-Voting-Rights-in-Wyoming . We thought you might enjoy it too, and even thought it could be a good addition to your page- would you consider adding it maybe? I'd love to surprise her! If you have any more favorites or ideas feel free to share but only if it's no trouble.
Thanks again for the information and have a great day!
Julie (and Grace)
|Zitkála-Šá, by Gertrude Käsebier, 1898|
That other article Julie and Grace listed called to me. It was actually a webliography of articles and the link, "Not all women gained right to vote in 1920"
, took me even further. That article is a discussion of how minority women had to continue to fight beyond the national women's suffrage amendment. What really caught my attention was seeing Zitkála-Šá
for Red Bird
)! I have her book Old Indian Legends
, but was surprised to see her described as an activist. (I also was perturbed with WGBH-TV covering up part of her write-up to promote their series, "She Resisted; Strategies of Suffrage.") It always is worthwhile reading an overview of any topic and the Wikipedia article on her
shows how much she achieved in her life.
Yes, she was an activist achieving Native American citizenship and women's suffrage, although her campaign for voting rights was still incomplete upon her death in 1938. Her occupations are listed as
- Native American activist
Her musical talents started with the violin, culminating in her writing the libretto and songs for the first Native American opera, The Sun Dance Opera
, in collaboration with composer William F. Hanson. The Wikipedia article summarized her achievements:
Zitkála-Šá's legacy lives on as one of the most influential Native American activists of the 20th century.
She left an influential theory of Indian resistance and a crucial model
for reform. Through her activism, Zitkála-Šá was able to make crucial
changes to education, health care, and legal standing for Native
American people and the preservation of Indian culture.
I've been using Project Gutenberg copies whenever possible to produce a good copy here, at the same time avoiding hurting my own books. I went there for Old Indian Legends
, but also found her autobiography, American Indian Stories
, written in 1921. Her autobiography explains her activism and efforts for Native American culture.
For retelling, however, there are wonderful stories in Old Indian Legends.
Many of the stories are about the trickster character, Iktomi, and seven were made into picture books by Paul Goble
. The Caldecott-winning illustrator's obituary
from 2017 gives a fuller picture of his work. While Goble helped visualize Iktomi, Zitkála-Šá opens her book with a wonderful description of the trickster. Rather than repeat the stories Goble offered, and he didn't cover all of the Iktomi stories, there also are five stories in the book not about Iktomi.
For Mother's Day Zitkála-Šá offers a tale of the kidnapping of a boy, with views of the love and emotions of both mothers.
THE TOAD AND THE BOY
THE water-fowls were flying over the marshy lakes. It was now the hunting
season. Indian men, with bows and arrows, were wading waist deep amid the
wild rice. Near by, within their wigwams, the wives were roasting wild
duck and making down pillows.
In the largest teepee sat a young mother wrapping red porcupine quills
about the long fringes of a buckskin cushion. Beside her lay a black-eyed
baby boy cooing and laughing. Reaching and kicking upward with his tiny
hands and feet, he played with the dangling strings of his heavy-beaded
bonnet hanging empty on a tent pole above him.
At length the mother laid aside her red quills and white sinew-threads.
The babe fell fast asleep. Leaning on one hand and softly whispering a
little lullaby, she threw a light cover over her baby. It was almost time
for the return of her husband.
Remembering there were no willow sticks for the fire, she quickly girdled
her blanket tight about her waist, and with a short-handled ax slipped
through her belt, she hurried away toward the wooded ravine. She was
strong and swung an ax as skillfully as any man. Her loose buckskin dress
was made for such freedom. Soon carrying easily a bundle of long willows
on her back, with a loop of rope over both her shoulders, she came
Near the entrance way she stooped low, at once shifting the bundle to the
right and with both hands lifting the noose from over her head. Having
thus dropped the wood to the ground, she disappeared into her teepee. In a
moment she came running out again, crying, “My son! My little son is
gone!” Her keen eyes swept east and west and all around her. There was
nowhere any sign of the child.
Running with clinched fists to the nearest teepees, she called: “Has any
one seen my baby? He is gone! My little son is gone!”
“Hinnu! Hinnu!” exclaimed the women, rising to their feet and rushing out
of their wigwams.
“We have not seen your child! What has happened?” queried the women.
With great tears in her eyes the mother told her story.
“We will search with you,” they said to her as she started off.
They met the returning husbands, who turned about and joined in the hunt
for the missing child. Along the shore of the lakes, among the high-grown
reeds, they looked in vain. He was nowhere to be found. After many days
and nights the search was given up. It was sad, indeed, to hear the mother
wailing aloud for her little son.
It was growing late in the autumn. The birds were flying high toward the
south. The teepees around the lakes were gone, save one lonely dwelling.
Till the winter snow covered the ground and ice covered the lakes, the
wailing woman's voice was heard from that solitary wigwam. From some far
distance was also the sound of the father's voice singing a sad song.
Thus ten summers and as many winters have come and gone since the strange
disappearance of the little child. Every autumn with the hunters came the
unhappy parents of the lost baby to search again for him.
Toward the latter part of the tenth season when, one by one, the teepees
were folded and the families went away from the lake region, the mother
walked again along the lake shore weeping. One evening, across the lake
from where the crying woman stood, a pair of bright black eyes peered at
her through the tall reeds and wild rice. A little wild boy stopped his
play among the tall grasses. His long, loose hair hanging down his brown
back and shoulders was carelessly tossed from his round face. He wore a
loin cloth of woven sweet grass. Crouching low to the marshy ground, he
listened to the wailing voice. As the voice grew hoarse and only sobs
shook the slender figure of the woman, the eyes of the wild boy grew dim
At length, when the moaning ceased, he sprang to his feet and ran like a
nymph with swift outstretched toes. He rushed into a small hut of reeds
“Mother! Mother! Tell me what voice it was I heard which pleased my ears,
but made my eyes grow wet!” said he, breathless.
“Han, my son,” grunted a big, ugly toad. “It was the voice of a weeping
woman you heard. My son, do not say you like it. Do not tell me it brought
tears to your eyes. You have never heard me weep. I can please your ear
and break your heart. Listen!” replied the great old toad.
Stepping outside, she stood by the entrance way. She was old and badly
puffed out. She had reared a large family of little toads, but none of
them had aroused her love, nor ever grieved her. She had heard the wailing
human voice and marveled at the throat which produced the strange sound.
Now, in her great desire to keep the stolen boy awhile longer, she
ventured to cry as the Dakota woman does. In a gruff, coarse voice she
“Hin-hin, doe-skin! Hin-hin, Ermine, Ermine! Hin-hin, red blanket, with
Not knowing that the syllables of a Dakota's cry are the names of loved
ones gone, the ugly toad mother sought to please the boy's ear with the
names of valuable articles. Having shrieked in a torturing voice and
mouthed extravagant names, the old toad rolled her tearless eyes with
great satisfaction. Hopping back into her dwelling, she asked:
“My son, did my voice bring tears to your eyes? Did my words bring
gladness to your ears? Do you not like my wailing better?”
“No, no!” pouted the boy with some impatience. “I want to hear the woman's
voice! Tell me, mother, why the human voice stirs all my feelings!”
The toad mother said within her breast, “The human child has heard and
seen his real mother. I cannot keep him longer, I fear. Oh, no, I cannot
give away the pretty creature I have taught to call me 'mother' all these
“Mother,” went on the child voice, “tell me one thing. Tell me why my
little brothers and sisters are all unlike me.”
The big, ugly toad, looking at her pudgy children, said: “The eldest is
This reply quieted the boy for a while. Very closely watched the old toad
mother her stolen human son. When by chance he started off alone, she
shoved out one of her own children after him, saying: “Do not come back
without your big brother.”
Thus the wild boy with the long, loose hair sits every day on a marshy
island hid among the tall reeds. But he is not alone. Always at his feet
hops a little toad brother. One day an Indian hunter, wading in the deep
waters, spied the boy. He had heard of the baby stolen long ago.
“This is he!” murmured the hunter to himself as he ran to his wigwam. “I
saw among the tall reeds a black-haired boy at play!” shouted he to the
At once the unhappy father and mother cried out, “'Tis he, our boy!”
Quickly he led them to the lake. Peeping through the wild rice, he pointed
with unsteady finger toward the boy playing all unawares.
“'Tis he! 'tis he!” cried the mother, for she knew him.
In silence the hunter stood aside, while the happy father and mother
caressed their baby boy grown tall.
The emotions of both mothers and the boy remind us not everyone has a
happy Mother's Day. Its "ending" seems to shout out for a continuation
to the story. Similarly news stories of rare reunions can leave us wondering if it's
truly a case of "happily ever
after" for all. Possibly this is an allegory of the way Native American children were sent away and removed from their culture. Her autobiography and the Wikipedia article would certainly make this seem likely.
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.
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.
Public Domain story resources I recommend-
are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for
folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's
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
email list for storytellers, Storytell,
discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional
- 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,
Story-Lovers - http://www.story-lovers.com/ 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 https://archive.org/ . It's not easy, but go to Story-lovers.com 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.
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!
as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website
is the late Chuck Larkin - http://chucklarkin.com/stories.html.
I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can
be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a. Archive.org, when that
becomes the only way to find them.
can see why I recommend these to you. Have fun
discovering even more stories!