Reflections—A to Z Blog Challenge (Story Crossroads-Nominee for 2020 Vision)

We were surprised and thrilled that our blog was nominated by the A to Z Blog Challenge team for having “2020 Vision.” We did enjoy our self-made theme of Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. We participated a sixth year in a row in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).

Reflections-

We decided on the theme with ease considering the situation around the world. While we have optimistic views that this COVID-19 is temporary, we wished to give a cure from the sad news in the world for news on folktales that preceded our time that gave strength to our souls for the present and future.

We delved into stories around the world though so many came from Europe, specifically Norway. We also featured many from China—partly from the lovely stories found and to combat the ugly racial slurs and insults towards people of Chinese—and oftentimes Asian—descent. We love all cultures, ethnicities, and languages. We do our best to honor all people. Sometimes, certain cultural groups are targeted and it is our duty to defend and buoy our fellow human beings.

We had a hard time finding stories of healing from Africa and South America though had a handful. We squeezed in a story from Australia. We at least had each of the six major continents represented and wished it could have been more even. We know more stories of hope and healing are out there. Feel free to share your findings with us.

Some stories had potential to be healing folktales and then, at the last minute, turned too violent. We still had death and murders in our selected stories, but we wanted any killing to not come from the supposed healer. Though, death and Death (personages) were often dealt or met within the stories. This is unsurprising as sickness can lead to death. We loved that Death could be the reason for life.

We appreciated the kind words from those who read our comments. A favorite comment was by Shari Elder who said about “J is for Joyful Journeys,” “Beautiful blog post, beautiful theme for the challenge. Wonderful. Thank you. This was my pick me up for the day.” That was our goal. Giving delight to one person is all we wish. Any more than one is as thrilling as the first.

Adding the connections to medical history became more infused than planned. When we introduced the theme, someone asked if this would be throughout. “Occasionally” was the thought. Yet, there were too many fascinating details and history to ignore. Thus, each post had two stories as well as at least two medical connections.

Thank you for taking this journey with us. We will participate in this challenge in 2021 for our seventh year…so until we tell again.

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 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

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 by donating today!

Z is for Zealously Zen—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”?

Zealously Zen-

From China-

Brocades are woven with fine details and embossed cloth. The skill to make a brocade has always been highly prized as it is by the fairies in this story. The loss of one’s work brought sickness near death for a woman and the son is willing to find it. That is zealous action, and yet it is a type of zen he needed for his mother.

50-word-or-less summary:

Mother lost favorite brocade to wind/fairies. Sick/dying! Son/Chen sought zealously to bring peace to mother. Fairies attempted to copy mother’s work. Li-en and Chen shared glances. Wove herself in brocade. Chen returned brocade, healed mother. Brocade enlarged as castle, Chen and mother entered. Mother taught fairies. Chen married Li-en.

Finding the Story: http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/056.html

Compare to History:

In October 2013, David Wilson with the South China Morning Post reported the increase of mental illness diagnoses and that critics accused psychiatrists of inflating the numbers. Labels such as “disruptive mood disregulation disorder” and “social anxiety disorder” could simply mean common temper tantrums and shyness. Was the mother exaggerating her condition so much that her body responded physically? Did the son truly need to go on a quest or discover another to bring her peace. Though, Chen would never have found Li-en without that adventure.

More on the History: https://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health/article/1339739/how-zealous-psychiatrists-are-diagnosing-quirks-mental-illnesses

From Zen Buddhist-

Buddha is reborn as many animals and learns lessons with each birth. This time, Buddha becomes a Banyan deer. He leads other deer and makes a choice that affected a king.

50-word-or-less summary:

King obsessed with hunting. Ruined fields. People upset. Trapped deer herd, king could hunt without hurting land. Buddha/Banyan deer witnessed deer injured in stockade. Decided by lottery one deer offered to save others. Finally doe willing to die once fawn born. Buddha took her place. King moved, gave up hunting.

Finding the Story: https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/banyan-deer

Compare to History:

The Zen Caregiving Project began in 1986 through the San Francisco Zen Center. Martha deBarros sought a Zen Hospice where patients without social or financial support could be eased from their pain or transition peacefully. Run by volunteers, they used to use a Victorian guest house until October 2018. They persevered and received help and a home through Laguna Honda Hospital. Their good work continues to this day.

More on the History: https://zencaregiving.org/our-history/

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 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

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 by donating today!

Y is for Youngest Youth & You-Bet-On-Luck—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”?

Youngest Youth & You-Bet-On-Luck—A to Z Blog Challenge-

From Hungary-

Ferko has jealous brothers to scheme to take his life…twice. They are poor so it is an awful way to find a solution. Though, focus on Ferko, the youngest of the three brothers, and his kindness despite his adversity. Though have you noticed that the youngest in folktales tend to have the best luck?

50-word-or-less summary:

Jealous brothers falsely accuse Ferko for gluttony. Ferko must trade eye and break leg for bread. Repeat for more. Abandoned. Overheard ravens of magic lake/dew. Healed! Helped wolf, mouse, bee be healed. Brothers lie to king that Ferko is evil. Complete tasks to prove goodness. Animals assisted. Ferko crowned king.

Finding the Story: https://folklore.greenwood.com/wff.aspx?k=6&x=GR3786&bc=DBFL1632&p=GR3786-1281&tab=ft&id=1&u=#hit – May need user name/password to access and cannot share…but can also be found here- https://www.ebay.com/i/402243071343?chn=ps&norover=1&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-117182-37290-0&mkcid=2&itemid=402243071343&targetid=883115548502&device=m&mktype=pla&googleloc=9029749&poi=&campaignid=6470049731&mkgroupid=84221218450&rlsatarget=pla-883115548502&abcId=1141176&merchantid=101491854&gclid=Cj0KCQjwy6T1BRDXARIsAIqCTXqNxPG3auwAV8h40A4g7v7DPlsC6m4CtgMjasHayYHFVYupI9jRzkcaAvJyEALw_wcB

Compare to History:

Youth today need many skills before they are adults. Finances and cooking are obvious though many parents are forgetting to teach how to schedule doctor appointments or regular health check-ups. If only magic lakes or deed upon hills were everywhere…though knowing this now will make the difference for any youth you know. Dr. Burgert said that youth experience anxiety when working out their healthcare. Youth tend to be healthier—that we are seeing also with COVID-19—but we need youth to remain calm when medical emergency and non-emergency situations occur.

More on the History: https://www.parenttoolkit.com/health-and-wellness/advice/physical-health/transferring-health-care-responsibility-to-young-adults

From Finland-

The Kalevala is a 19th century epic poem that has many episodes. The Kalevala was compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythology, and it involves more than 18 characters including the Nine Diseases, the sons of Loviatar who was blind and impregnated by the wind. Väinämöinen is the main character and demigod with a powerful singing voice to the point of winning battles or healing wounds. He was not a youth. In fact, he was an old and wise man…but perhaps the youngest born in his family. I don’t know. Though he had a lot of You-Bet-On-Luck! Lemminkäinen is another hero who must be healed, and the diligent search by his mother makes it possible to rise from the dead. He is young…so there you go for “youngest youth” and he certainly had luck. It would be impossible to summarize in 50 words or less so I will only focus on one of the moments within the eight cycles.

50-word-or-less summary:

Lemminkäinen drowned in underworld river while attempting to capture black swan to impress potential wife. Body parts scattered. Mother raked parts from river. Prayed. Sewed. Nothing. Convinced bee for honey from Ukko/sky god as ointment. Revived!

Finding the Story: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/7000

Compare to History:

There is the debate on who is healthier—the grandparents who ate pure foods and went outdoors all the time or the youth of today with technology that beckons them indoors (or because there is distancing and stay-at-home orders). People do live longer than 100 years ago. In 1918, the average life expectancy was about 60 and now it is closer to 80+. Older people today are more likely to die of a chronic condition than an infection with improved healthcare.

More on the History: https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2018-07-05/were-our-grandparents-really-healthier-than-us-probably-not/9934910

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 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

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 by donating today!

X is for Xi (Greece) & Xi (China)—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”?

Xi (Greece) & Xi (China)-

From Greece-

Xi is a Greek letter. Two Greek gods gave their word—or many Greek letters—to a generous husband and wife named Philemon and Baucis. Yes, a little stretch for the letter “x,” but I enjoyed the connection.

50-word-or-less summary:

Zeus and Hermes disguised as beggars. Poor couple gave best meal they could. Gods revealed! For kindness, couple received two wishes. They wanted to serve the gods in their temples and die at same time. Couple had long health, died together, reborn as linden and oak tree by temple.

Finding the Story: http://classictales.educ.cam.ac.uk/stories/metamorphoses/baucisphilemon/explore/Baucis%20&%20Philemon%20transcript.pdf

Compare to History:

Joe and Helen Auer had been together for 70 years. When Helen passed on at the age of 94, Joe whispered to her to “Call me home.” About 28 hours later, 100-year-old Joe died of an aneurism. People wonder if science could explain such happenings. Emotional shock/broken heart is usually partial reason for the surviving spouse to pass not long after. Though is it broken heart or a heart-felt promise made from the heavens above?

More on the History: https://www.guideposts.org/inspiration/life-after-death/the-science-behind-a-broken-heart

From China-

Xi is the name of a river in southern China and the western tributary of the Pearl River. This story involves a river in China…so we can let this count as “x.” The four dragons in the story represent the four great rivers of China: Heilongjian (Black Dragon), Huanghe (Yellow Dragon), Changjiang (Yangtze/Long River), and Zhujiang (Pearl River). Now you see the Xi/Pearl connection?

50-word-or-less summary:

Four dragons beg Jade Emperor over heavens/earth/hell for rain. Humans suffering. Some people ate bark, more sickness. Emperor promised to send rain. Distracted! Dragons attempt to cause rain by borrowing from sea. Sea god complained. Emperor transformed dragons to mountains. Dragons/mountains caused rivers to flow. Healing!

Finding the Story: https://wyrmflight.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/the-four-dragons-a-chinese-folk-story/

Compare to History:

The people suffer when there is no rain and when there is too much. Little rain causes famine though too much rain (perhaps when dragons steal water from the sea), can cause more insects and diseases to spread across the land. Lately, we have experienced global climate change and precipitation has increased from Taiwan to Bangladesh to the United States. Yet, even when there are floods or monsoons, people rally together to get through it and become closer in the end. Dragons and humans are there for each other.

More on the History: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3380951/ and https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32393-0/fulltext

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 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

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 by donating today!

W is for What-the-Doctor-Ordered Water & Women—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”?

What-the-Doctor-Ordered Water & Women

From First Nations Canada-

A plague spread throughout the land and everyone was affected in some way. Many had died and gone to the Land of Shadows. This story explains how Mineral Springs came about.

50-word-or-less summary:

Woman told man of bird that lived near Healing Waters. Man rushed to save wife from plague. Rabbit and bear gave no help. Man buried body in path. Fox came and said was body’s spirit. Guided. Voice—“Release us!” Dug, spring—and Healing Waters! Made pot. Healed wife and villagers. Happiness!

Finding the Story: https://www.worldoftales.com/Native_American_folktales/Native_American_Folktale_72.html and https://face2faceafrica.com/article/mami-wata-the-most-celebrated-mermaid-like-deity-from-africa-who-crossed-over-to-the-west

Compare to History:

The history of humans includes being at least 60% made of water. We need water to replenish and heal every day. Water affects physical strength, energy levels, increases brain functions, prevents/heals headaches, relieve constipation, treats kidney stones, and even encourages weight loss. This is only skimming the surface…so drink up! Healing Waters are all around us.

More on the History: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water

From throughout Africa to Caribbean to Brazil & United States-

Mermaids of many kinds are natural for anyone by the seas, oceans, and rivers. The Mami Wata (with many different spellings) originated from the large continent of Africa with no real claim to one particular country. Her area kept expanding as people were forced from their homes to be slaves. She is the mother water and a deity with the power to capsize slave ships. She sometimes appeared as human to give hope to those taken into slavery. Some say she is one being while others argue she is a plural matriarchy.

50-word-or-less summary:

Mami Wata swam in rivers. She gave water for animals/people to drink. Kept people happy/strong. Monster killing people. She hid, watched monster cry. Comforted monster. Learned was man. Taught monster/man to sing, dance. Laughed-turned back to man. Swallowed people returned.

Finding the Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNM0qiDuCoU

Compare to History:

The Smithsonian had an exhibit in April 2009 to honor Mami Wata from the prayers people gave to her to boost fertility to material wealth to freedom. She had a darker side connected to lust and murder though mainly she was celebrated. This is not medically connected, yet the stories of her giving hope to those sold into slavery is a hope and healing that no doctor can prescribe.

More on the History: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/the-many-faces-of-mami-wata-44637742/

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 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

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 by donating today!