T is for Tending & Telling Tales—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”?

Tending & Telling Tales-

From Armenia-

Nourie Hadig feels like part Snow White and part Sleeping Beauty. However, instead of a woman asking a mirror, it is the moon. As for a sleeping princess, this time it is a sleeping prince.

50-word-or-less summary:

Woman asked moon who’s most beautiful. Woman. When daughter was 15, moon answered girl. Jealous! Asked husband to kill her. Pretended. Escaped! Girl comes upon sleeping prince. Must tend for 7 years to heal/break curse. Awake! Prince proposed. Asked for Stone of Patience. Tells her tale. Broke stone. Married!

Version of Story: https://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2013/6/2/nourie-hadig-an-armenian-folktale

Compare to History:

The Parkinson’s Story Exchange was founded by Johanna O’day after enjoying NPR’s StoryCorps and how they collected stories from around the nation. Johanna partnered with StoryCorps so that researchers for Parkinson’s could understand the patients and the patients could understand the medical people. They inform each other through the stories shared and archived. Healing and medical progress come as a result—like being awakened from a 7-year sleep.

More on the History: https://www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/blog/the-parkinsons-story-exchange-inspiring-stories-from-people-living-with-parkinsons/ and http://healthlibrary.stanford.edu/story-exchange.html

From India-

Princess Savitri, named after the goddess Savitri with her miracle birth, later grew up and married happily to Prince Satyavan. Then, she tended to her husband doomed to die in one year. Yama, the god of death, arrived on time. She must rescue her love from death somehow.

50-word-or-less summary:

Princess chose husband prophesied to die in one year. Happy year. Tended. Princess starved/insomnia three days before prediction. Saw Yama/god of death due to fasting/praying. Chased after Yama. He admired loyalty. Three chases, three wishes (can’t ask for husband’s life). Last wish-children with prince as father. Wit! Lived!

Finding the Story: http://www.aaronshep.com/storytelling/GOS03.html

Compare to History:

Many nurses have tended to the sick and dying. Florence Nightingale brought hope on the battlefield during Crimean War of 1854z After her, professional nursing was seen alongside soldiers. During the American Civil War, Clara Burton saw the need of more trained nurses and had nursing schools established. Clara traveled to Switzerland, witnessed the International Committee of the Red Cross, and eventually founded the American Red Cross in 1882. Then, in 1888, some American Red Cross nurses jumped off moving trains to reach people in need. Remind you of the tenacity of Princess Savitri?

More on the History: https://www.workingnurse.com/articles/Nursing-with-the-American-Red-Cross

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!

P is for Purging the Physique—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”?

Purging the Physique

From Brothers Grimm-

This story feels more like science fiction than a folktale. Perhaps an edge of Frankenstein. Three army doctors, after experimenting, realize they can remove and put back particular body parts. This is an extreme purge. They were proud and never turned down a challenge. The ending is questionable as they became rich but yearned for how it was before. So happy ending? No, but they still were healed to a degree.

50-word-or-less summary:

Three doctors determined to impress innkeeper. They boasted they could remove eye, hand, and gut/heart and return the next day. Girl placed parts in cupboard. Cat discovered parts. Girl-afraid-replaced with cat’s eye, thief’s hand, and hog’s gut/heart. Doctors used salve. Took on abilities of cat, thief, and hog.

Version of Story: https://www.longlongtimeago.com/once-upon-a-time/fairytales/grimms-fairytales/the-three-army-surgeons-die-drei-feldscherer/

Compare to History:

The first known prosthesis was of a big toe for an Egyptian noblewoman between 950-710 B.C.E. The prosthesis throughout time had been “as much medical device as it is an emotional comfort.” As sandals were worn, the noblewoman needed her toe to feel like all was well.

More on the History: http://unyq.com/the-history-of-prosthetics/

From Norway-

This type of purging is more of an exorcism…kind-of. The imagination can be powerful enough to arise from certain death.

50-word-or-less summary:

Shoemaker fetched parson to pray over dying wife. Parson confused bit of shoemaker’s leather for wafer and a cup of powder for a cup of wine. Crazy circumstances and powder exploded. Wife sat up from explosion. Saw figures in smoke she thought were demons. Scared/purged the sickness from her!

Finding the Story: Hodne, Ørnulf. The Types of the Norwegian Folktale. Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1984. https://www.amazon.com/Types-Norwegian-Folktale-Serie-B-Skrifter/dp/8200068498/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=Hodne%2C+%C3%98rnulf.+The+Types+of+the+Norwegian+Folktale.+Bergen%3A+Universitetsforlaget%2C+1984.&qid=1585810014&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Compare to History:

We all have probably experienced sensory perceptions and link it to hallucinations. Psychologist Philip Corlett and collaborator Albert Powers agreed that having hallucinations—of varying degrees of hearing voices to sensing a text before it comes—was something that was normal to experience rather than clinical.

More on the History: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/571819/

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!

F is for Fences that Fix—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”?

Fences that Fix-

From Russia-

If you only had a few days to live, having a strong and sturdy fence would not matter so much. Yet, it is about always doing your best no matter how long you have left. Within this Russian tale “Why People don’t know when They are going to Die,” the fence takes on another meaning that can be healing to our souls in how we approach life.

50-word-or-less summary:

People knew when they would die. Man knew he’d die in three days. Man built rickety fence. Person walked by. Person urged to at least build strong fence for those in the future. Three days. Man lives. Two years, man lives. Man rebuilt strong fence. Person walked by (really God). Decided best people don’t know when they die.

Version of Why People don’t know when They are going to Die story: https://books.google.com/books?id=sn0YDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT111&lpg=PT111&dq=folktale+fence&source=bl&ots=h-yFqd5UN2&sig=ACfU3U0sHGHtOEF3IvF0mbtUU53zW80tfA&hl=en&ppis=_c&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiRvoL6h9XoAhWZHc0KHU5IC70Q6AEwD3oECAwQKA#v=onepage&q=folktale%20fence&f=false

Compare to History:

Many guides have been written to give people comfort as loved ones approach death. Though, the day of death remains a mystery. Sue Brayne and Dr. Peter Fenwick created the manual “Nearing the End of Life: a guide for relatives and friends of the dying” in 2008. Throughout this manual are fascinating quotes on death for each section. The quote that caught my eye was stated by Dr. Sherwin Nuland, “Death is not usually a time of wonderful experiences. But it is frequently a time for healing experiences.” I think of the man building a rickety versus a strong fence. That was a healing experience.

More on the History: https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/docs/default-source/members/sigs/spirituality-spsig/spirituality-special-interest-group-publications-fenwick-nearing-the-end-of-life-guide.pdf?sfvrsn=ef164fa6_2

From Mississippi/Faulkner Family-

Jim Faulkner shared stories of his family including the famous American author William Faulkner. Though, the percentage of true versus…non-true stories is questionable as he liked to share family memories, tall tales, and fictionalized history in Mississippi. In the book “Across the Creek: Faulkner Family Stories,” the chapter called “Roasting Black Buster” Has a folkloric moment featuring Dolly and a seasoned man nicknamed Lightning on account of his lack of speed. Variants have been told by people in Kansas. This is more of healing of the land than of people.

50-word-or-less summary:

Dolly grew garden with “Lightning.” No rain for days. Snake near Lightning. Dolly requested he kill snake. Done. Dolly requested snake hung on fence vertically belly-side up as will rain within three days. No rain. Day two. No rain. Day three…late. Thunderstorm! Smaller snake for next time. Successful harvest!

Finding the Story: https://books.google.com/books?id=xKZySWbnMOQC&pg=PA6&lpg=PA6&dq=snakes+belly+side+up+fence&source=bl&ots=mn-SYEWKDP&sig=ACfU3U2e1cRI17vVRYoTUUjXdo691YdW2A&hl=en&ppis=_c&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjs5JuEwNXoAhVKZc0KHZE2CS8Q6AEwE3oECA0QKA#v=onepage&q=snakes%20belly%20side%20up%20fence&f=false

Compare to History:

Before barbed wire fences existed in 1874, people in Kansas believed the power of snakes on any kind of fence to bring rain and heal the land for the crops. Laying a snake horizontal would have the snake twist too much through rigor mortis. Then, the power of the snake would be lost. Thousands of snakes came to this vertical belly-up fate on fences. A Bohemian farmer swore by this act as did so many others. The skies themselves did not always send rain within three days.

More on the History: http://www.legendsofkansas.com/folklore.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 by donating today!