Tell me if you have a topic you'd like to see. (Contact: .)
Please also let others know about this site.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Brown - The Young Dragon - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Relevant to absolutely nothing other than my love and fascination with dragons, here is a literary story about a young dragon.  It comes from The Mermaid's Gift by Julia Brown.  Normally I prefer telling folk tales to something created by a specific author.  (Although I find a "retelling" is fine as it comes from the folk tradition, just as my own "retelling" does.)  The problem with literary tales is they seem to expect word for word relaying to convey the author's meaning.  I can find nothing about Brown other than another Public Domain book from 1925, The Enchanted Peacocks, and other stories.  That is close enough to "Mermaid's" 1912 edition and publisher, Rand McNally, so it  probably is the same author, although it has a different illustrator.  I can find nothing about her (and her fairly common name doesn't help).  Authors live through their books just as live storytellers live through their immediate effect upon an  audience.  The Ms Brown who wrote this story kept it simple enough to re-tell.

The book is illustrated by Maginel Wright Enright.  Her biography and images of her work is far easier to find.  The Internet Archive version of The Mermaid's Gift uses a different edition from the one I own.  It has a frontispiece not in my copy, but it doesn't have the opening image to the story.  I have copied my book to open the story.

I love the way the story stops in an open-ended way.  Of course the prince & princess live "happily ever after."  That is easily expected, but what about that young dragon and also that community of dragons divided between the Liberal and Conservative dragons?  The story cries out for more story creation!  

As you might imagine, I love bringing an audience to the point of story creation!!!   But be careful please, for as my friend and fellow storyteller and lover of dragons,

Loretta Vitek

loves to say:    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crispy, and would be good with sauce!                    


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 December 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

No comments: