L is for Loving Laughter—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”?

Loving Laughter

From Norway-

There really is the phrase “clergyman’s throat” and I am positive it came from this story. Now you will have to look it up.

50-word-or-less summary:

Clergyman taught student certain healing through magic. Clergyman has sore throat. Dying!Despite his wisdom, he cannot save himself. Student attempted magical means and looked like fool. Clergyman laughed and fishbone dislodged. Saved by laughter!

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:

“Laughing gas” could be considered a type of magic. Nitrous oxide was discovered in 1772 by Joseph Priestly though wasn’t used for anaesthesia until 1844. Yet, we need to thank Stephen Hales in the early 1700s to create some kind of device to even contain the future “laughing gas.”

More on the History: https://edu.rsc.org/feature/nitrous-oxide-are-you-having-a-laugh/2020202.article

From England-

This story is a Jack tale—as in “the” Jack and the beanstalk—and his stories have travelled to America. There are tons of versions and variants of this one.

50-word-or-less summary:

Mother sent Jack to get job. At end of day, Jack was paid. Each time was random item from butter to ham to kitten. Jack carried items back wrong. Always promised to remember previous way to future way…led to carrying donkey. Princess cannot laugh/depressed. Sees Jack/donkey. Laughed! Cured!

Finding the Story: https://books.google.com/books?id=hI8C15_nFNIC&pg=PA33&lpg=PA33&dq=jack+laughing+princess&source=bl&ots=N29_8yG7hT&sig=ACfU3U0Aoi3MipwPYstA8kjCRIzevrVuYA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwirtOL_3unoAhXPGM0KHX6zBlIQ6AEwDnoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=jack%20laughing%20princess&f=false

Compare to History:

Laughter is truly the best medicine. I did a research paper in high school on it. You increase endorphins when you swallow saliva after laughing. Ten seconds of rigorous laughter equals ten minutes of rowing. The article linked below shares 11 benefits.

More on the History: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/539632/scientific-benefits-having-laugh

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!

T is for Golden Table, Touch, Tree, & Thumb–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019TWe 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 Table-

There are whole stories on River Mumma and she is simply mentioned as one who protects the Golden Table. Though please explore this fascinating…and scary…figure in Jamaican folklore.

Jamaica – https://www.uexpress.com/tell-me-a-story/2011/5/1/river-mumma-and-the-golden-table Though River Mumma also uses Golden Comb to lure people, see here:  https://jamaicanfolktales.weebly.com/index.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Below waters lie Golden Table left behind by Spainards, guarded by River Mumma. During hottest days, Table floats up. Man with 12 oxen pulled Table. All drowned. Bastian and Lora (kids) saw it. Argued on whether to get it. Day cooled, table sunk back. Told another. That person drowned. Kids were safe.

Golden Touch-

King Midas is famous for that golden touch. Though there is a link below, there are so many versions. Some say the daughter returns to life. I prefer the version when the daughter does not and this leads to another story involving King Midas with “The King with Donkey Ears.” Some see King Midas as being greedy. I see him as a kindhearted fool that could be any one of us.

Greek Mythology – https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Mortals/King_Midas/king_midas.html

50-word-or-less summary:

King Midas helps satyr. Dionysus rewards King with golden touch. Puts on feast. All turn to gold-food, drink. King cries. Will die by starvation. Daughter runs to comfort Father. Daughter turns to gold. Wish golden touch to be gone! Washes in river. No longer has golden touch. Daughter lost forever.

Golden Tree-

Forgiveness is beautiful, especially between husband and wife. The King’s realization of his mistake and desire to risk his life to find her again is moving.

India – http://spiritoftrees.org/the-golden-tree (retold by Laura Simms)

50-word-or-less summary:

Jealous Wives of King speak ill of fourth and kind Wife. King finally believes lies. Queen flees, disguises as beggar. She dreams of Golden Tree and next morning is pregnant. King told to find Golden Tree to find Queen. King risks life to find her. Forgiveness. Reunion with 7-year-old Son.

Golden Thumb-

This story–or more a story snippet–makes me think long and hard about the ability to have something “golden” and the ability to see something “golden.” How do you see the truth in this situation between the Merchant and the Miller?

England – https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type1620.html#goldenthumb

50-word-or-less summary:

Merchant wishes to mock the Miller and claims that honest millers have a golden thumb. Miller confirms it is true. The Miller shows his thumb though Merchant says it looks like any other thumb. Miller says his thumb is gold but the Merchant has no power to see it.

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.

J is for Golden Jersey & Jackal–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019JWe 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 Jersey (Cow)-

You may remember the Golden Calf…but this is specifically a Golden Jersey Cow with a little different story line. The Jersey is a common British cow and this story comes from England. Yes, it technically says “Golden Cow” but we know that sometimes stories lose details in time, and I would bet that this was originally a Jersey Cow. Hey, I grew up in Wisconsin. I do know cows.

England – https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0510b.html#barclay

50-word-or-less summary:

King wished to marry daughter. She loved prince (of no relation). Princess requested huge Golden Jersey. King sent to prince to say, “You are not marrying her, I am.” Princess climbed inside.  Three people exclaimed, “I touched the cow!” She took that as cue to come out. Prince arrived. Marriage.

Golden Jackal-

Like with the cow story above being a Jersey, this story says “Jackal” and not “Golden Jackal.”  Again, details sometimes are lost as the years pass.  According to Indian, Middle Eastern, and several African tales, the Golden Jackal was meant when featuring this animal. This story does not feature “gold” but rather honoring “Golden Jackal” and a friendship with a lion.

India – http://www.english-for-students.com/Jackal-Saved-Lion.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Golden Jackal comes upon lion stuck in mud. Jackal sweeps sands into mud. Lion is rescued. Friendship. Lion offered Jackal to live nearby and share of his food. Lion’s wife and kids and Jackal’s wife and kids hated their friendship. They complained. Lion and Jackal separated homes but remained friends.

And though not linked to a story, here is more about Golden Jackals:

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.

I is for Golden Iguana & Items–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019IWe 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 Iguana-

This does not focus on the traditional golden metal, though it involves the sun and the shine and glimmer of gold. I did say “Golden…And All That Glimmers.”  This is part of the “Glimmers.”

Mexico – http://almaflorada.com/the-lizard-and-the-sun-la-lagartija-y-el-sol/

50-word-or-less summary:

Sun disappears from the sky. None of the animals can find the sun. Animals search in strange places like underwater. One by one, the animals give up in finding the sun. Iguana (also known as lizard) still searches. Iguana finds golden rock due to sun being asleep. Sun won’t wake up. Emperor puts on great dance to keep sun up. To this day, Iguana and other lizards love to bask in the sun and be “golden.”

Golden Items-

I wasn’t sure where to put “Jack and the Beanstalk” as many items are gold.  So when “I” became a little tricky, it seemed the right thing to use “Items” as a way to include this classic tale.

England – https://americanliterature.com/childrens-stories/jack-and-the-beanstalk

50-word-or-less summary:

Jack must sell cow. Trades cow for beans. Mother…disappointed. Beans tossed. Giant beanstalk grows to clouds. Jack climbs and discovers Giant’s castle. Giant’s wife helps to hide Jack. He discovers sack of gold, hen that lays golden eggs, and golden harp that sings. Thief! Stalk chopped. Giant dies. Happiness?

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.