E is for Elixirs of Exuberance—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

Elixirs of Exuberance

From Japan-

The hermits in this story are from the mountains, which are likely the Yamabushi known for supernatural powers. The sacred mountains Kumano and Omine could be the mountains where Isamu found the hermits.

50-word-or-less summary:

Isamu sought hermits who created Elixir of Life. Hermits said Isamu was too selfish. Sent to land with no death. Everybody ate poison hoping to die. Isamu flown over sea. Fell! Shark! Isamu wished life! Hermits said he had no spiritual strength. Given book of wisdom. Became kind. Died happy.

Version of The Elixir of Life story: https://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2017/4/23/the-elixir-of-life-a-japanese

Compare to History:

Modern-day hermits in Japan are known as hikikomori. Over half 1 million prefer are choosing to self isolate. This was before COVID-19. Japanese psychologist Tamaki Saito used “hikikomori” to describe the people and the condition back in 1998. This has increased as people interact without connection with the real world. The face-to-face and video chat are still possible for people to fight depression. Perhaps Isamu needs to return the book of wisdom to these hermits. Let us create the Elixir of Life and reach out in whatever way we are able—whether that be by phone or computer or face-to-face.

More on the History: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamabushi and https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190129-the-plight-of-japans-modern-hermits

From China-

Magu became Goddess of Hemp with healing powers. Though, she had many tools and techniques, and this story focuses on peaches.

50-word-or-less summary:

Magu, poor seamstress, was paid with peach. Gave peach to woman poorer than her. Headed home to give same woman porridge. Took too long and locked in her room by father. Next day Magu couldn’t find woman except peach pit. Magu planted pit. Peach tree had healing powers. Magu immortalized.

Finding the Story: https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-asia/magu-hemp-goddess-who-healed-ancient-asia-008709

Compare to History:

Peaches originated from China over 4000 years ago. In the 1980s, a peach tree was found in Tibet that was 1000 years old with a 30 foot circumference. In China, giving the gift of a peach was blessing that person with long life. Within the saga “Journey to the West,” the Monkey King traveled to the Peach Garden of the Heavenly Queen Mother. These peaches gave the gift of immortality.

More on the History: https://www.whiterabbitinstituteofhealing.com/herbs/peach/ and https://www.clemson.edu/extension/peach/commercial/rootstocks/chinese-peaches-past-and-present.html

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19. Our postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/ or http://www.storycrossroads.org/virtual.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support donating today!

B is for Blindness Banishment-A to Z Blog Challenge

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Blindness Banishment-

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

From China-

The power of healing blindness is contained—of all minerals—jade. This lovely green ornamental mineral is highly featured in Chinese art as well as surrounding countries. Jade symbolizes purity or purification. Thus, One must wonder if it’s the container and not the ointment inside that makes all the difference in the following folktale known simply as “The Jade Bottle.”

50-word-or-less summary:

Shi Long shares bread with old man-really god of mountain. God rewards youth with jade bottle/healing ointment. Heal girl who is blind? Marry? Boy heals but father breaks promise to allow marriage. Youth run! Pursued! Youth marry. Father burns them. Old man/god takes jade bottle. Revived! Happy!

Find Version in the “Folktales of Love from China”: https://books.google.com/books?id=EAvADgAAQBAJ&pg=PA46&lpg=PA46&dq=cure+blindness+folktale&source=bl&ots=ohlOgB5S_L&sig=ACfU3U1ZdPDNWgjAOmVW3KbS7yPrvSE7-w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjJo57uzsjoAhUIK80KHWnBCbAQ6AEwDXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=cure%20blindness%20folktale&f=false

Compare to History:

There have been many ancient Chinese Civil Wars, and crazy enough, have affected eyesight for generations and centuries. Soldiers for these wars were recruited from the strongest man with great eyesight. Those who were weaker and could not see so good were left at home. Soldiers died. The man left behind and families and their children inherited their bad eyes. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, can sometimes be as high as 90% in east Asia compared to only 12% of Americans and 23% of Australians.

While the folktale does not explain how the girl became blind, I now wonder if it could be nearsightedness.

More on History: http://newoptixoptometry.com/why-do-asians-have-bad-eyesight/

From Norway-

Brothers can be rough with each other. My Dad is a twin, and he got in plenty of trouble with him. Yet, the extreme found in this story called “The Two Travelers.”

50-word-or-less summary:

Brothers named Truth and Untrue fought while traveling. Ow! Untrue blinded True. Blinded brother spent night in tree (safety from wild animals). He overheard animals talking and learned the king was going blind and his daughter was going deaf. Lime tree’s dew heals blindness. Crumb cures deafness. True heals all.

Version of Story: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0613.html#norway

Compare to History:

Scandinavians, which of course includes Norwegians, had a tradition during the Viking times of planting sacred trees. This was likely to reflect the world tree, Yggdrasil, that had roots connecting to the underworld, the land of the giants, and home of the gods.

More on History: https://norwegianjournaloffriluftsliv.com/doc/192010.pdf as well as https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/linden-tea#section10

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19. Our postponed Festival is now scheduled for May 12, 2021 with other virtual plans that can be seen here: https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support donating today!

DRUM ROLL…2020 A TO Z BLOG CHALLENGE THEME REVEAL (STARTING APRIL 1)

Theme RevealTime to beat the drums and enjoy the anticipation of a 5th Story Crossroads theme reveal as part of the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com) that happens throughout the month of April. These are 26 postings for each of the letters of the alphabet (with rest on Sundays). This is our fifth year participating in this challenge.

AND THE THEME IS…
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THEME: Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses

No matter the contagion, pestilence, or curse, there would always be a way to succeed and be cured. Almost all stories have some level of “happily ever after,” where all returns to how it was…though a little wiser.

The medical field is constantly changing their approach to keep up with science and compassion.   Myths, legends, and folklore are always created as these miracles take place.

While many men receive accolades for advancing the medical field, do you know about the first female doctor whose name was recorded for us to know?  Do you know Merit Ptah who lived around 2,700 BC and hieroglyphs on her tomb call her “Chief Physician.”

Now compare Merit Ptah to Isis, goddess of life and magic and who healed many people with special protection of women and children.  Perhaps it is not surprising that both Merit Ptah and Isis come from Egypt.

Or have you heard of the ships of Jacques Cartier that were trapped in ice in 1536 near present-day Quebec City?  The crew got scurvy with flesh falling off and no one had any idea of what to do.  Then Cartier kidnapped two men with one known as Dom Agaya.  Despite the lack of trust, Dom Agaya made a concoction from a tree to boost the deficiency of the Vitamin C.  The crew wondered if this could be a poison but took it anyway.  Today, it is unknown what this “tree of life” was exactly though it is guessed to be white cedar or white spruce.  While Dom Agaya was released due to this miracle, Cartier later on kidnapped Dom Agaya as well as nine other people when the scurvy came back.  Scurvy did was a problem for sailors for more than 200 years, but stories about a “tree of life” sailed the seas.  Almost all cultures have “tree of life” stories and even today we attempt to protect the rainforests, knowing that the bark or roots or other parts of trees there provide cures to more than we can imagine.

Folktales take our imagination and then transform them into fascinating stories on how humans can defy death from any number of  would-be-deadly diseases and countless curses.

There are Apples of Alteration to Elixirs of Exuberance to Infertility Interdicted to Knock-out-of-the-park Kissing. 

Some of these seem obvious, though what about Loud Laughter, Omnipotent Ointment, Purging the Physique, and Troll Trophies.

What?  Did we write “Troll Trophies”?  We sure did.

And More Surprises!

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 13, 2020 (and how exactly that will actually look like is still up in the air due to the COVID-19…but we will figure out something).  Our latest plan can be found here:  https://storycrossroads.org/contingency-plans-covid-19/

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to go directly to donation page.)

We also have year-round events such as the monthly house concerts and the 5th Annual Story Crossroads Festival that will be on May 13, 2020.

Z is for Golden Zen–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019ZWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Golden…And All Things That Glimmer.  Each post highlights golden items from a folktale from around the world. Each time you have to wonder, is something that is golden a blessing, a curse, or both?

What has inspired all this gold?–The Golden Spike with the 150th Transcontinental Railroad and the Spike 150 Grant for this year’s Story Crossroads Festival.

Golden Zen-

The name “Ryokan” and the practice of Zen originate from Japan. Yet, this story may also have influences with Kenya so “Kenya and/or Japan” are listed. A young man is taught how to be more responsible. I have interpreted “taking responsibility” to mean giving of his goods (gold) as well as his time. Thus, we have “Golden Zen.”

Kenya and/or Japan – https://www.advance-africa.com/when-truth-dawned.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Sister-in-law requested Ryokan, Zen teacher, to teach son. This nephew was lazy. Instead of rebuke, Ryokan asked nephew to tie sandal as he is not as strong as he used to be. Nephew remembered. Nephew realized he must care for his elders. Nephew vowed to give of goods/gold and time.

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 15, 2019 with free performances May 13-16, 2019 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2019-schedule/.  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (Spike 150), the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.

Y is for Golden Yukon “Fever”–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019YWe are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).  The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Golden…And All Things That Glimmer.  Each post highlights golden items from a folktale from around the world. Each time you have to wonder, is something that is golden a blessing, a curse, or both?

What has inspired all this gold?–The Golden Spike with the 150th Transcontinental Railroad and the Spike 150 Grant for this year’s Story Crossroads Festival.

Golden Yukon “Fever”-

People always want to get rich quick. The year 1897 was filled with shouts of “Gold! Gold! Gold!” Prospectors swarmed to the Canadian Northwest Territories. The link is to a story based on actual events in connection with this Golden Yukon “Fever” entitled “Klondike Gold” by Alice Provensen.

Yukon, Canada – https://www.amazon.com/Klondike-Gold-Alice-Provensen/dp/B006G882AU

50-word-or-less summary:

Two adventurers bound for Yukon. Joe was experienced, had year’s worth of supplies. “Dead” Horse Trail up the mountain was a long line of depressed men. Adventurers made it to top. Sailed to Klondike River. Rapids! Staked claim. Gold pebbles! $50,000 worth. Split. Half sunk in stream. Survived. Still gained overall.

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.

While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 15, 2019 with free performances May 13-16, 2019 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2019-schedule/.  

We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts (Spike 150), the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.