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!

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.

F is for Golden Fish, Flute, Fleece & Feast–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019FWe 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 Fish-

Four golden fish from four different countries…I was fascinated in the comparisons. The golden fish could be as popular as Cinderella.  Well, not that popular. Still, it is impressive.

Russia – https://russian-crafts.com/russian-folk-tales/golden-fish-tale.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Fisherman catches small golden fish. Fish speaks. Fisherman releases fish without accepting offered wish. Fisherman’s wife upset when hears story. Go back. Wish for bread. Bread received. Wish for wash-tub. Wash-tub received. House. Governor’s Lady. Fisherman not treated as husband. Queen. Mistress of the Sea. Everything disappears. Lived as before.

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

50-word-or-less summary:

Old man caught golden fish. Fish asks to go. Man says will eat fish (despite impressive talking of fish). Fish offers man golden rope. Proof. Fish advises. Man then finds rope. Pulls rope. Does not release fish. Greed. So much rope in boat that it sinks. Man dies. Fish lives.

Bangladesh/India – https://www.pitara.com/fiction-for-kids/folktales/the-golden-fish/

50-word-or-less summary:

Fisherman catches small golden fish. Fish speaks. Fisherman releases fish without accepting offered wish. Fisherman’s wife upset when hears story. Go back. Wish for bread. Bread received. Wish for cottage. Cottage received. Man was threatened and lashed. Queen. Threatened with beheading. Empress of the Sea. Everything disappears. Lived as before.

Thailand – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suvannamaccha

50-word-or-less summary:

Hanuman is building a causeway/bridge to rescue Sita. Sita’s husband, Rama, needs bridge so his army can attack and save wife. Suvannamaccha (means Golden Fish) orders her mermaids to take away stones at night so bridge cannot be built. Hanuman attacks mermaids. Failure. Sees Suvannamaccha. Woos her. Love. Sita’s rescued.

Golden Flute-

A few other musical instruments are golden. With a flute typically being made of metal anyway, then why not a golden flute?

China – https://www.readinga-z.com/book.php?id=206

50-word-or-less summary:

Little Red (girl) stolen by dragon. She predicted brother would save her. Mother confused-no son. She eats berry, pregnant, has son, Little Bayberry. Bayberry becomes like 14-year-old in days. Learns of sister through crow. Quest. Pushes rock. Finds golden flute. Lizards dance/obey. Plays for dragon. Forced dancing. Rescues sister.

Golden Fleece-

I couldn’t pass up this classic story of “Jason and the Golden Fleece.” Jason had so many adventures, though this is probably my favorite.

Greece – https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/jason-and-legendary-golden-fleece-001307

50-word-or-less summary:

Pelias steals throne of Iolcus. Jason born. Pelias worried this is one to take revenge on him. Orders Jason to get Golden Fleece (skin of winged ram of Zeus). Protected by dragon. Jason recruits 50 Argonauts including Hercules. Sows land with flaming bull and teeth-warriors. Attacked! Sorceress/Medea magic. Success!

Golden Feast-

Compliments to the host for such a golden meal…or not.

Philippines – http://afterschool.smarttutor.com/stories-for-kids-the-golden-feast/

50-word-or-less summary:

Couple loved to count gold coins. Did not fix their house, rather count gold coins. Servants said dinner was ready. Counted coins instead. Counted so long that feast turned to gold. Couple excited. Invite neighbors! Continued counting. Any food brought in house turned to gold. Never left home again.

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.