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Friday, September 30, 2022

Caballero - A Girl Who Wanted Three Husbands -Keeping the Public in Public Domain

September 15 - October 15 is Latinx & Hispanic Heritage Month

That reminder has been on my calendar for over a month.  I'm still trying to find something from the Latinx tradition that is Public Domain.  I have a Hispanic book, however, The Bird of Truth and Other Fairy Tales, by Fernan Caballero, translated by J.H. Ingram as part of the Illustrated Library of Fairy Tales according to the copy reproduced by Google Books - The bird of truth and other fairy tales.  That copy (and others in the Illustrated Library) was published in London by W. Swan Sonnenschein & Company.  I was delighted to find it.  My copy is exactly the same once you get past the title page, but was published here in the U.S. by J.B. Lippincott & Company.  Neither edition gives a date of publication, but the Google Book version is from the Bodleian Library.  (That Wikipedia link tells you a bit more about the truly famous library at Oxford.)  Their stamp says it was added "29 May 83" and I presume was 1883, since J.B. Lippincott & Company incorporated in 1885.  The British book has a bright beautiful cover that mine may have once had (minus the series note about the Illustrated Library) and is probably with a better binding as mine has an extremely loose binding!  For those curious about the illustrations and who was the illustrator . . . it was by that prolific artist: Anonymous!
UPDATE: The name Harrison appears on the story's illustration and other illustrations.  Not quite anonymous.

I'm mentioning this because Google BooksProject Gutenberg , the Internet Archive, and the Online Books Page all have had their share of controversy, especially dealing with copyright.  The Wikipedia links can tell you more about those organizations and take you to their sites to read Public Domain works (and save the binding of those books!).  Right now the Internet Archive as even loans for a very brief time books not yet in Public Domain.  Whether this will continue is still a matter of legal dispute with four major book publishers - Hachette, HarperCollins, John Wiley & Sons, and Penguin Random House in June 2020, challenging the copyright validity of the controlled digital lending program.  Later this year that case may finally be settled, but I expect it to go all the way to the Supreme Court.  Internet Archive also is frequently cited here for its Wayback Machine which lets you visit a digital library of internet sites as they happen to be scanned over time.  The standard information at the end of "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" articles mentions, for example, the late Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site, , and takes you to October 22, 2016.  With the exception of Google Books, all three of these are non-profit organizations that always need your donations.

Today's story is a classic tale with much found all over the world, but handles it in a distinctively Spanish way.  The interpreter, Ingram, notes  many of the stories are "evidently transplanted from a foreign soil", but says:
Whatever their parentage, however, the tales which form the present collection have been so thoroughly naturalized that they may now be fairly deemed typical Spanish...
You may be sure those naturalized tales traveled throughout Latin America and our own southwest.  I probably could have saved today's story until June and its talk of weddings, but it is shouting out to me that it must be shared NOW!

The Google version had a quirk on the initial and ending pages reproducing only the illustrations.  I was able to do the opening text separately, but it changes the size.  I had to type the ending.
Enough background -- Enjoy!


                                                from her coffin, and turning to her father said, --

                                                    "You see, father, that I must marry all three of them!"

So our title gives us a hint of how this story differs from the usual ending where a decision must be made.  I've no idea how things went from that point on, but sometimes that's a great place to leave an audience puzzling it over and making their own conclusions!


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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