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Friday, September 23, 2022

Renaissance Times and Two Tales from Il Novellino

This Sunday I will become a Renaissance wine wench.  It's the Michigan Renaissance Festival and an annual fundraiser for two theatre groups where I'm a  member.  If you can go this weekend you can find me in the wine-tasting tent for Michigan wines.  It's also the weekend Sign Language interpreting is provided so I look forward to using my signing skills!

The Royals...I'm a mere commoner and aid to a vendor

The Theme is Harvest Huzzah! and I enjoy helping people find the right wine from our Michigan grapes.  But even if you can't make it, here's a bit of Renaissance storytelling from Italy.  In this weekend when England is transitioning from Queen Elizabeth to her son being King Charles, these stories seem appropriate.  But first I'll open with the Introduction by the interpreter, Edward Storer.

Il Novellino

The Hundred Old Tales

Translated from the Italian by

EDWARD STORER

To this day the author of this famous collection of tales remains unknown. But he probably was a minstrel of the Middle Ages who went from castle to castle entertaining his listeners with his stories—Bible stories, stories from French, Provençal, and Arthurian sources, stories from the Classics, and stories of Oriental origin. Some were moralistic, some humorous, some witty, some spicy.

As a collection they have never ceased to interest because of their humanness. Written in a quaint simple style, they are full of action, wit, and wisdom, and represent practically the oldest prose work in the Italian language. 

XIX

Of the great generosity and courtesy of the Young King

We read of the valour1 of the Young King2 in rivalry with his father through the offices of Beltram.3 

This Beltram boasted that he had more sense than anyone else. Whence many judgments came into being, some of which are written here.

Beltram plotted with the Young King that he should persuade his father to give him his share of inheritance. And so insistent was the son that he gained his request. And he gave all away to gentlefolk and to poor knights, so that nothing remained to him and he had no more to give away.

A court player asked him for a gift. He replied that he had given all away, but this only is left me,4 a bad tooth, and my father has promised two thousand marks to whomsoever shall prevail on me to have it taken out. Go to my father and make him give you the marks, and I will draw the tooth from my mouth at your request.

The minstrel went to the father and had the marks, and the son drew out his tooth.

On another occasion it happened that he gave two hundred marks to a gentleman. The seneschal or treasurer took the marks, and laid a carpet in a room and placed the marks beneath it, together with a bundle of cloth so that the whole should seem larger.

And the Young King going through the room, the treasurer showed him the pile saying: Sire, see how you dispense your gifts. You see what a large sum is two hundred marks, which seem nothing to you.

And the Young King looked and said: that seems little enough to me to give to so valiant a man. Give him four hundred, for I thought two hundred marks much more than they seem now I see them.5


1 bontà in original—goodness. 

2 The young King was Henry, eldest son of Henry II of England. He was often known under this title. 

3 Beltram, or Bertrand di Born. 

4 This change from indirect to direct narrative occurs frequently in the Novellino

5 The story of the tooth appears also in Conti di antichi cavalieri

XX

Of the great liberality and courtesy of the King of England

The young King of England squandered and gave away all his possessions.

Once a poor knight beheld the cover of a silver dish, and said to himself: if I could but hide that upon me, my household could thrive thereon for many a day. He hid the cover on his person. The seneschal, when the dinner was ended, examined the silver, and found that the dish was missing. So they began to spread the news and to search the knights at the door.

The young King had observed him who had taken it, and came to him silently, and said to him very softly: give it to me, for I shall not be searched. And the knight all shamefaced, obeyed his behest.

Outside the door, the young King gave it back to him and hid it on him, and then he sent for him, and gave him the other half of the dish.

And his courtesy even went further; for one night some impoverished gentlemen entered his room in the belief that he was asleep. They collected his arms and clothes in order to steal them. One of them was reluctant to leave behind a rich counterpane which was covering the King, and he seized it and began to pull. The King, for fear he should remain uncovered, took hold of the end of it and held it fast, while the other tugged, and the knights present, in order to save time, lent him a hand. 

And then the king spoke: this is not theft but robbery—to wit, taking by force. The knights fled when they heard him speak, for they had believed him to be sleeping.

One day, the old King, the father of this young King, took him harshly to task, saying, where is your treasure?

And he answered: Sire, I have more than you have. There was much discussion. Both sides bound themselves to a wager.

The day was fixed when each was to show his treasure.

The young King invited all the barons of the country who were in the neighbourhood. His father set up that day a sumptuous pavilion and sent for gold and silver in dishes and plates and much armour and a great quantity of precious stones, and laid all on his carpets and said to his son: where is your treasure? Thereupon the son drew his sword from its scabbard.

The assembled knights crowded in from the streets and the squares. The entire city seemed to be full of knights.

The King was unable to defend himself against them. The gold remained in the power of the young King, who said to his knights: take your treasure. Some took gold, some plate, some one thing and some another, so that in a little while everything was distributed. The father gathered all his forces to take the treasure.

The son shut himself up in a castle, and Bertrand de Born was with him. The father came to besiege him.

One day through being oversure, he was struck in the head by an arrow (for he was pursued by misfortune) and killed.

But before his death he was visited by all his creditors, and they asked him for the treasure which they had lent him. Whereat the young King answered: sirs, you come at a bad season, for my treasure has been distributed. My possessions are all given away. My body is infirm, and it would be a poor pledge for you.

But he sent for a notary, and when the notary had come, that courteous king said to him: write that I bind my soul to perpetual bondage until such time as my creditors are paid. Then he died. After his death they went to his father and asked for the money. The father answered them roughly, saying: you are the men who lent to my son wherefore he waged war upon me, and therefore under the penalty of your life and goods take yourselves out of my dominions.

Then one of them spoke and said: Sire, we shall not be the losers, for we have his soul in our keeping.

And the king asked in what way, and they showed him the document.

Then the king humbled himself and said: God forfend that the soul of so valiant a man should be in bondage for money, and he ordered them to be paid, and so it befell.

Then Bertran de Born came into his hands, and he asked for him and said: you declared you had more sense than any man in the world; now where is your sense? Bertran replied: Sire, I have lost it. And when did you lose it? I lost it when your son died.

Then the King knew that he had lost his wit for love of his son1, so he pardoned him and loaded him with rich gifts. 


1 The passage is not clear and is probably corrupt. I have added the word “lost”. For Bertran see Dante, Inf. XXVIII, 134, 22. 

***

If you are wondering about the father, Henry II, he's the first Plantaganet and the king who had Archbishop Thomas Becket appointed Chancellor and later had him killed in Canterbury Cathedral.  T.S.Eliot's play and movies, Murder in the Cathedral, were about him.  Similarly the play and movie Lion in Winter were about him, his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their sons (none of whom were named Henry since by that time young Henry had died).  Bertran de Born also was a real person, involved in Henry, the Young King's revolt against his younger brother, Richard.  Bertran also had a play about himself, called Bertran de Born, but it's probably only remembered for its incidental music by Darius Milhaud that was later worked into his Suite provençale.

The anonymous Italian creator or creators of Il Novellino never let a good story go to waste, but also didn't let facts stand in the way of a good story.

****************

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. 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!"

The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:        

         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html

         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html

         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales

         - 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.

       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 

 
           - 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!

    Somebody 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.

You can see why I recommend these to you. 

Have fun discovering even more stories

Friday, September 16, 2022

Oak Hill Cemetery this weekend or "Cemetery Walks Are Anything But DEAD!"

This month and next month are the perfect time to "haunt" cemeteries.  For September, this Sunday Oak Hill is where I will be. 

This weekend's walk is the 7th year for the Friends of Oak Hill Cemetery and goes back to the beginning of Pontiac's historic cemetery.  

Oak Hill Cemetery is located at 216 University Drive in Pontiac, Michigan. It is considered to be one of the oldest cemeteries in Oakland County, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. Oak Hill spans University through the middle and Paddock to the east. The easiest way to access the main cemetery from the west: Take M-59 east to Paddock Street and turn left, then left again at University. From the east, simply take M-59 to University and there you are.

Oak Hill was founded by the Pontiac Company in 1818, and the town’s first burying grounds were located on Stephen Mack’s land on the ridge east of the Clinton river (about where City Hall stands today), and in a small graveyard on the corner of Saginaw and Huron Streets. As the town expanded, a new burying ground was needed and in 1822 land was set aside by the Pontiac Company for a cemetery, church and parsonage east and north of town. In 1839 the cemetery was platted and burials began there in 1841, beginning with relocating the graves from the earlier burying grounds. 

One of the gravesites we will visit is that of Elizabeth Denison Forth. In 1825, "Lisette", the nickname she preferred, was a freed slave and the first black woman to own land in Michigan, purchasing 4 lots in Pontiac. She leased these lots to her brother, Scipio Forth, selling them in 1836 or 1837 to the village of Pontiac. Portions of this land became part of Oak Hill Cemetery. A historical marker stands on what was Ms. Forth’s land, commemorating her ownership of the property.

If her portrait looks familiar it's because a 50- by 60-foot version is on the side of the Riker Building's parking structure in downtown Pontiac, seen while traveling south on Woodward.. The Waterford artist of this mural, Zach Curtis, wanted to illustrate Pontiac's colorful history and memorialize her significance to Michigan. Lisette also is remembered for willing a portion of her estate to build St. James Episcopal Church on Grosse Ile.  

There's a certain appropriateness in her overlooking Woodward as Wikipedia says:

Judge Augustus B. Woodward ruled that the Michigan Territory had no obligation to return enslaved people who had been freed by establishing residence in Canada to slavery. Following this legal precedent, Lisette and her brother crossed into Canada shortly afterward to establish residency and gain their freedom.

Oak Hill today consists of about 15 acres of land north of University Drive, crossing Paddock Street to the east, and an additional 7 acres south of University. The northern portion of the cemetery stands on the highest point of ground in Pontiac and is the oldest part of the grounds. It is laid out in a rectangular fashion. The section south of University is laid out in a more free form pattern and is bordered by the Clinton River on its southern boundary.

The cemetery is owned by the City of Pontiac and operates under its Department of Public Works. The grounds and landscaping are maintained by Covenant Cemetery Services of Davison, Michigan under contract to the City of Pontiac.

Covenant’s area of responsibility to the cemetery is limited by its contract. This contracted amount doesn’t support privately owned structures like mausoleums, monuments, headstones, or other structures. Aside from the Petrie Mausoleum, any endowed funds have been depleted. Maintenance and repair to monuments, mausoleums and other certain cemetery assets falls to the local community. This aspect of maintaining Oak Hill is most often provided by the volunteer group unofficially called the Friends of Oak Hill Cemetery.

The walk is dedicated to the continual restoration of mausoleums along with beautifying the grounds. They have also accomplished the restoration of the original historic fence, and raised money for headstones including the memorial for the residents who died at Pontiac State Hospital in section 11 of the cemetery. This page on the Oakland History Center's website (you may know them by the former name of Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Center) shows some past year posters and then below that exciting photos of cemetery projects.  The walk donations are directly used to support new projects and maintain and repair monuments and gravestones. Even at that the annual history walk only raises a small amount each year, but it is not nearly enough to do larger projects. Your financial help saves this vulnerable historic cemetery. A walking tour booklet created in 1976 is available here.  While it doesn't have the lively reenactors throughout the cemetery, you may want it to visit the many other memorable graves throughout the cemetery, some of which have been featured over the past seven years.


Friday, September 9, 2022

Bailey - The Three Apples - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Apple Orchards are turning into cider mills complete with all manner of activities, crowds, and yellow jackets!  Just because they are yellow with black stripes doesn't make them bees!  They are members of the WASP family . . . read Bees and the Anishinaabe for a story from 2014 about this irritable and irritating cousin of the useful bee.

But whether you have any of the above, the apple trees should be drawing our attention as autumn starts bringing the apple into the spotlight. Carolyn Sherwin Bailey from her Tell Me Another Story has a story worth remembering and a bit of talking about afterwards.

THE THREE APPLES

The old apple tree stood in the orchard with the other trees, and all summer long it had stretched out its branches wide to catch the rain and the sun to make its apples grow round and ripe. Now it was fall, and on the old apple tree were three great apples as yellow as gold and larger than any other apples in the whole orchard. The apple tree stretched and reached as far as it could, until the branch on which the three gold apples grew hung over the orchard wall. There were the three great apples, waiting for some one to pick them, and as the wind blew through the leaves of the apple tree it seemed to sing:

"Here in the orchard are apples three, Who uses one well shall a treasure see."

And one morning Gerald came down the lane that passed by the orchard wall. He looked longingly at the three gold apples, wishing, wishing that he might have one. Just then the wind sang its song again in the leaves of the apple tree and, plump, down to the ground, right at Gerald's feet, fell one of the three gold apples.

He picked it up and turned it round and round in his hands. How sweet it smelled, and how mellow and juicy it was! Gerald could think of nothing so good to do with such a beautiful ripe apple as to eat it. He put it to his mouth and took a great bite of it, then another bite, and another. Soon there was nothing left of the apple but the core, which Gerald threw away. He smacked his lips and went on his way, but the wind in the apple trees sang, sorrowfully, after him:

"Here in the orchard are apples two, But gone is the treasure that fell for you."

And after a while Hilda came down the lane that passed by the orchard wall. She looked up at the two beautiful gold apples that hung on the branch of the old apple tree, and she listened to the wind as it sang in the branches to her:

"Here in the orchard are apples two, A treasure they hold for a child like you."

Then the wind blew harder and, plump, an apple fell in the lane right in front of Hilda.

She picked it up joyfully. She had never seen so large and so golden an apple. She held it carefully in her clasped hands and thought what a pity it would be to eat it, because then it would be gone.

"I will keep this gold apple always," Hilda said, and she wrapped it up in the clean handkerchief that was in her pocket. Then Hilda went home, and there she laid away in a drawer the gold apple that the old apple tree had given her, closing the drawer tightly. The apple lay inside, in the dark, and all wrapped up, for many days, until it spoiled. And when Hilda next went down the lane and past the orchard, the wind in the apple tree sang to her:

"Only one apple where once there were two, Gone is the treasure I gave to you."

Last of all, Rudolph went down the lane one fine fall morning when the sun was shining warm and the wind was out. There, hanging over the orchard wall, he saw just one great gold apple that seemed to him the most beautiful apple that he had ever seen. As he stood looking up at it, the wind in the apple tree sang to him, and it said:

"Round and gold on the apple tree, A wonderful treasure, hanging, see!"

Then the wind blew harder, and down fell the last gold apple of the three into Rudolph's waiting hands.

He held it a long time and looked at it as Gerald and Hilda had, thinking how good it would be to eat, and how pretty it would be to look at if he were to save it. Then he decided not to do either of these things. He took his jack-knife out of his pocket and cut the gold apple in half, straight across, and exactly in the middle between the blossom and the stem.

Oh, the surprise that waited for Rudolph inside the apple! There was a star, and in each point of the star lay a small black seed. Rudolph carefully took out all the seeds and climbed over the orchard wall, holding them in his hand. The earth in the orchard was still soft, for the frost had not yet come. Rudolph made holes in the earth and in each hole he dropped an apple seed. Then he covered up the seeds and climbed back over the wall to eat his apple, and then go on his way.

But as Rudolph walked down the lane, the orchard wind followed him, singing to him from every tree and bush,

"A planted seed is a treasure won.

The work of the apple is now well done."
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or as another site in thinking about philosophy reminds us "There's a Brilliant Star Inside of Every Apple."

 

Have you taken the apple cores and at least tossed them into a field, especially in an area unlikely to be mowed?  I love to do that.  Maybe a deer will find that apple core and plant it somewhere else along with its own fertilizer.  

Similarly I love the story of how the Granny Smith apple came to be.  A site called Culinary Lore says there are various versions of the story, but 

The most common origin story of Granny Smith apples (Some folks just call them granny apples) is that, around 1868 in New South Wales, Mrs. Smith had dumped a crate of old rotten apples French Crab Apples from Tasmania in her garden and then later found an apple sapling growing there. The tree grew to produce green tart apples “that had never grown before.” They subsequently became famous not only in Australia but were shipped all over the world, including the U.S.

It helps to have other apple trees near enough to fertilize your "planted" tree, but even old untended apple trees can produce crops.  Our apple trees furnish treats for neighbors' donkeys and horses and we're happy to have them appreciated.


The apple in this story is probably the popular Golden Delicious.

My favorite apple is the Ida Red, but I enjoy Granny Smith apples, too.  That's the great thing about apples, there's so many varieties.  Enjoy! --  (and maybe toss it in a field after you eat it.)

******************

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. 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!"

The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:        

         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html

         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html

         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales

         - 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.

       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 

 
           - 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!

    Somebody 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.

You can see why I recommend these to you. 

Have fun discovering even more stories

Friday, September 2, 2022

Bigham - The Wonderful Secret - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

 This past week we lost Joanne Ladd, who for many years was known to many as Mother Goose. 

Please notice I didn't say we lost Mother Goose.  Joanne mentored so many Mothers Goose.  One of them, Trudy Bulkley, wrote the following for the In Memoriam page of MichiganStorytelling.org, which lists Michigan's events, organizations, and more.

 Joanne Ladd always loved books for children and rhymes to share. For countless children and families she was the REAL Mother Goose telling stories and reciting age-old nursery rhymes with love and laughter, assisted by a gentle Goose puppet.  She lived in Flint, Michigan; her other name was Joanne Ladd. She was welcoming and generous with all her experience and enthusiasm for the rhymes and the traditions. She edited a newsletter that brought other aspiring Mothers Goose together. This quintessential Mother Goose went to share stories and nursery rhymes beyond this earth, mid-August 2022.

This is why I can't say we lost Mother Goose for Joanne always did so much to share Mother Goose.  

Here on Storytelling + Research = LoiS I've also included stories from two wonderful Public Domain books that continue Mother Goose characters in appropriate situations.  Frank Baum, known best for the Wizard of Oz books also wrote a very unusual look at The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, and Mother Goose in Prose, both of which have had stories here.  I almost posted another of his Mother Goose stories here, but decided on Madge Bigham's Stories of Mother Goose Village, which has also been posted here.  At the end of today's story I'll say a bit more, but Joanne would know that her audience is getting restless and dive right in to Mother Goose!




Many libraries nowadays are lending seed packets.  Perennial plants and wildflowers return after winter passes.  (I'm trying to find more wildflower seeds for a roadside entrance to my driveway!)  Similarly Mother Goose, and the love of her spread and nurtured by Joanne, will continue.  Surely that is the essence of Keeping the Public in Public Domain.

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. 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!"

The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:        

         - David K. Brown - http://people.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/stories.html

         - Richard Martin - http://www.tellatale.eu/tales_page.html

         - Spirit of Trees - http://spiritoftrees.org/featured-folktales

         - 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.

       - World of Tales - http://www.worldoftales.com/ 

 
           - 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!

    Somebody 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.

You can see why I recommend these to you. 

Have fun discovering even more stories