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!

J is for Joyful Journeys—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”?

Joyful Journeys-

From Portugal-

Princess Gilda journeyed from her home of Norway to marry Prince Ibn in Portugal. Now, a story is passed along of how this marriage brought about the almond trees that grow everywhere in the Algarve (used to be Al Gharb). When people travel to Portugal today in the spring, it will feel like winter with the millions of almond blossoms. Perhaps you will feel at peace.

50-word-or-less summary:

Princess from Norway thrilled to marry Prince from Portugal. Journeyed with joy. After marriage, Princess became ill/pale. Doctors sought. Homesick! Missed snow! One doctor said to plant thousands of almond trees. White almond blossoms looked like snow. Princess recovered. Mental journey to Norway.

Versions of Gilda and the Almond Trees story: https://www.aportugueseaffair.com/algarve-almond-trees/ as well as podcast https://www.theguardian.com/books/audio/2017/jun/09/the-legend-of-the-almond-trees-read-by-andrew-scott-travel-folktales-for-kids-podcast

Compare to History:

Usually homesickness is considered nothing to worry about. Yet, at one time, it was labeled “hypochondria of the heart.” From Swiss soldiers in the 17th century to Greek soldiers during the Trojan War, homesickness could have them waste away with some as serious as dying. Philosopher Tiffany Watt Smith reported that these soldiers experienced “lesions heart palpitations and from there a ‘stupidity of mind..’” We can take mental journeys when we are unable to physically journey. We can connect to those memories until we are sick of them…and can move forward.

More on the History: https://www.thecut.com/2016/02/homesickness-was-once-considered-a-medical-diagnosis.html

From India-

This is more a cautionary tale, yet the result brought over 7,000 years of wisdom. Thus, the humans fare better than the tortoise. This story is part of the Jataka Tales that involves previous births of Gautama Buddha. Now we can ponder the importance of home as well as the ability to move so anywhere could be home.

50-word-or-less summary:

Tortoise refused to leave lake for river despite drought. Declared lake as birthplace, where parents born. Sun dried tortoise’s spot until became clay. Bodhisatta hit tortoise’s with spade accidentally. Thought tortoise was lump of clay. Died. Bodhisatta showed tortoise to warn people of extreme fondness of home. Journey and do good.

Finding the Story: https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/traveltales.html#tortoiserefused

Compare to History:

No matter our feelings for home, many are staying at home during COVID-19 to protect others. We can still mentally journey and do good though online chats, telephone calls, or drop-off service. Meanwhile, there can be patients who refuse to leave the hospital. What then? Malingering is more commonly known for psychiatric patients than general hospital patients. Reasons are varied and countless though could be from attention of being sick; “secondary gain” or food, shelter; psychological stress, or seasonal depression. Let us reach out to each other so—whether at home or the hospital—we are free to go where we need to be and not where we think we must be.

More on the History: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3067985/

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/ and 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 by donating today!

G is for Golden Goose, Gizzard, & Godmother–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019GWe 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 Goose-

Sometimes it is clear that the goose is golden and other times it is more about golden eggs. Though, I decided to group those kinds together. There is also a Buddhist tale that is similar to the Golden Elephant Tusks story (see that blog post here).

Aesop’s Fable – http://www.storyit.com/Classics/Stories/goldengooseegg.htm

50-word-or-less summary:

Man and wife has goose that laid golden eggs. Each day, more golden eggs were laid. Man and wife become impatient. Suspect more gold inside the goose.  Kill the goose. Just like any other goose. No more gold.

Brothers Grimm – http://www.topics-mag.com/folk-tales/folk-tale-greed-china.htm

50-word-or-less summary:

Three brothers approached by dwarf, only youngest (Simpleton) shares lunch. Dwarf rewards Simpleton. Cut tree, find golden goose. Simpleton pays inn’s stay with feather. Attracts attention…and hand…of innkeeper’s daughter. Stuck! Another sister. Stuck! Another sister. Stuck! More people. Stuck! Simpleton carries goose with people stuck. Princess laughs. Marriage.

Buddhist (Jataka Tales) – http://whisperingbooks.com/Show_Page/?book=Jataka_Tales&story=Golden_Goose

50-word-or-less summary:

Goose with golden feathers learns of poor family. Goose explains that he will give a golden feather. Hurrah! Money. Goose gives another feather. Hurrah! Money spent. Repeats. Greed. Woman takes all feathers. These feathers turn white/normal when forcefully taken. New feathers grow back. Normal. Goose never returns.

Golden Gizzard-

So a muscled-wall of a bird’s stomach can be golden…and find out how.

Czechoslavak – http://oaks.nvg.org/czech10.html#bigogi

50-word-or-less summary:

Poor family kind to golden bird. Lays golden eggs. Sold to goldsmith. Goldsmith’s son sees bird. Secret inscription. Marries daughter of this family (bird as dowry). Will eat gizzard (each morning golden ducats) and heart (become king). Two poor boys eat instead. Gambling. Throw-up gizzard. Girl eats. Goats. Reunion. Marriage.

Golden Godmother-

Cinderella is not the only one with a godmother. You may be jealous.

Czechoslavak – http://oaks.nvg.org/czech13.html#gogod

50-word-or-less summary:

Lukas handled money poorly. Meanwhile, he and wife wished for child. No child when rich, only when poor. Worried over christening. No one to be godmother. Lukas chose first person on way to christening. Poor woman at crossroads. Grants golden ducat. Gold multiplies.  Girl named Marishka. Prince sees her. Marriage.

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.

E is for Golden Elephant Tusks–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019EWe 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 Elephant Tusks-

White elephants are more popular than golden elephants. Though, at least there are still elephants with golden tusks. Don’t ask me how. It makes me wonder if the elephant was born with golden tusks or this was a man-made possibility. Either way, the elephant is extremely kind.

Buddhist (Jataka Tales)  – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cy8UPlzWLyA

50-word-or-less summary:

Elephant with golden tusks learns of poor family. Elephant goes inside their hut. Scares family (not surprising). Then elephant explains that he can give part of his golden tusk. Hurrah! Money spent. Elephant gives more tusk. Hurrah! Money spent. Repeats. Greed. Woman plans to kill elephant. Stop! Won’t come back.

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.