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Friday, March 15, 2024

Olcott - 2 Short Stories About St. Patrick Driving Snakes Out Of Ireleand

Sunday is St. Patrick's Day and wouldn't you know it, at almost the last minute I was asked to substitute for another storyteller who was supposed to do the program, "but her daughter had a baby so she is preoccupied!"  I've never kissed the Blarney Stone, but how could I refuse?!?  

I thought and looked at my stories and story collections and am sure we'll have lots of fun with the stories I have chosen.  Of course I must include some stories in honor of the good saint telling how it is said he drove all the snakes out of Ireland.  I found two inter-related stories in The Wonder Garden; Nature Myths and Tales...  Frances Jenkins Olcott's book is perfect just as the calendar claims spring is coming near on March 19.  Whether the weather is springlike or not, I hope you enjoy these tales of how St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland.  Oh I'm talking reptiles, so don't take this as a political comment!


You can Google "St. Patrick +snakes images" or go to Pinterest which has lots of images for "driving the snakes out of Ireland", but what I like best is the card from with this cartoon by Dave Blazek

It's too late to order them for this year, but prowl their site.  I guarantee you will laugh and want some of their cards unless you're as mean as a snake.  (Even their message on their phone is funny!  Call it.)

If you are thinking ahead to future years, I also recommend this lesson plan I found on Pinterest by Keri Logan using the book, The Last Snake in Ireland by Sheila MacGill-Callahan with humorous illustrations of the battle by Will Hillenbrand for what Logan calls a stART (story + ART) lesson.

As the old Irish Blessing goes: May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields.  And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Of course that's Public Domain and may we add to that keep reading and telling stories from all over!


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


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