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Friday, May 17, 2024

Farmer - Dandelion Stars - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

Hot on the heels of last weekend's Mother's Day I found myself once again wondering about something my mother used to say whenever she saw a lawn with dandelions.  "Oh the old man spilled his bag of gold!" she would shout with great delight.  I have searched and searched to find out what was behind that exclamation.  

If you know please tell me.  I suspect it was something going back to her childhood.

Aside from having dandelions on my own lawn, over on X, look at  

That inspired me to hunt once again hoping to learn more about Public Domain stories of Dandelions.  I found this in Florence Virginia Farmer's book, Nature Myths of Many Lands.  I recommend it as a very useful book for storytellers and naturalists.

I told VenetiaJane about Farmer's version.  She did a bit of prowling her own files as she remembered the story a bit differently and found this from the Journal of Education 

October 17, 1912 JOURNAL OF EDUCATION page 409


[Continued from page 405.]

Here are some sentences used for spelling

orally and in writing: -


Did you see the sky last night?

The moon was shining.

The stars were bright.

The moon is the mother.

The stars are her children.

Can you tell who is the father?

One night some stars were cross.

They would not shine.

They hid behind à cloud.

Mother moon felt very sad.

Where are my baby stars?

Why are they not shining?

We do not want to work.

Let the other stars shine.

We are too sleepy to-night.

You were born to shine.

I will have no lazy stars in my home.

You must go to the earth below.

The lazy stars shook with fear.

They lost their hold.

Down, down they fell to the earth.

The little stars fell on the grass.

All night they lay there.

They wished they had been good.

In the morning father sun looked down.

He saw the little stars.

He was sorry for them.

How cold they look!

Come, clouds, send down some snow.

Cover the baby stars with a soft blanket.

All winter the stars slept in their warm bed.

The stars above shone down on them,

But they never woke.

At last the spring came,

Father sun sent his warm beams to the earth

It is time to wake, little stars.

The stars opened their sleepy eyes.

They looked up into their father's kind facc.

He smiled at them.

These stars now live on the earth.

They shine all day long.

Children call them dandelions.


I edited out parts of that page unrelated to the Dandelion story.  <sigh!>  That was from an idea for teachers shortly before my own mother was born.  I intend to keep looking for what inspired mom's cries of "The old man spilled his bag of gold!"  Perhaps it was something created by a teacher she had. I can certainly tell you her lawn never tried to eliminate dandelions.  

Whether you want dandelions or not, if you love nature, especially plants, I want to give a shout out to as well as her work on X (Twitter), Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.  Her photography is both lovely and lovingly done with cards, calendars, and photos.  She mixes those images with folklore, literature, and history.  Here in the mitten-shaped state of Michigan I sometimes see her part of the United Kingdom warming up before us.  As winter tends to drag on too long, it's wonderful to see what she sees.

You may see dandelions as a weed taking over your lawn, but my mom, VenetiaJane, and I see so much more.  Blow on those dandelion stars to spread them and, while you're at it, spread a story about them.

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