U is for Unusual & Useful—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”?

Unusual & Useful-

From Australia (Aboriginal)-

Many Aboriginal names are long and hard to pronounce like the man Byamee and his two wives, Birrahgnooloo and Cunnunbeillee. He searched for honey while his wives go to bathe but come upon the kurreahs, dragon-like creatures that dwell in lakes.

50-word-or-less summary:

Husband placed feather on bee to follow to hive/honey. Two wives bathed at spring. Kurreahs/dragons swallowed them. Kurreahs took underground waterway to Narran River. Dried up spring. Husband searched for wives. Speared kurreahs. Recovered wives. Placed on flying ant hills. Ant bites revived/healed wives. Holes from kurreahs formed Nassan Lake.

Finding the Story: https://www.worldoftales.com/Australian_folktales/Australian_folktale_4.html

Compare to History:

What appears to be strange or “unusual” could be the trick to ease your pains and sores. Fifteen interesting remedies could range from covering yourself in crystals (vibrational energy) to improve memory to eating local honey within 25 miles from your home to potentially swallow pollens to fight allergies. Perhaps that husband wanted to fight allergies and had to fight dragons instead. These ideas have been around for over a century…sometimes longer.

More on the History: https://www.thehealthy.com/home-remedies/15-harmless-folk-remedies-worth-a-try/

From Ireland-

The most famous hunchback would be the hunchback of Notre Dame thanks to Victor Hugo. Yet, Lusmore of Knockgrafton feels like the second most famous one to me. Now Jack Madden also was a hunchback and had the opposite experience of Lusmore. So be kind and useful for healing to come.

50-word-or-less summary:

Lusmore suffered from weight of hump on back. Still kind. One day, has to rest due to hump. Near fairies singing. Added to song. Fairies loved it! Lusmore fetched underground. Took hump! Story spread. Jack Madden-hunchback-attempted same feat. Jack-grump. Fairies felt he spoiled tune. Gained Lusmore’s hump.

Finding the Story: https://folkli.com/lusmore-the-hunchback-local-legend-of-knockgrafton

Compare to History:

In January 2004, a book was published entitled “The Strange Case of the Walking Corpse: a chronicle of medical mysteries, curious remedies, and bizarre but true healing folklore” by Nancy Butcher. Frog eggs were used in the past to heal and even urine. Though, a raw potato can relieve burns while bananas cure warts.

More on the History: https://www.amazon.com/Strange-Case-Walking-Corpse-Chronicle/dp/1583331603

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!

S is for Golden Spike, Spears, Swan, Snail, Scales, Shoe, Slipper, Sandal, Serpent, Spinning Wheel, Star Fruit Tree, & Stool–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019SWe 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 Spike-

As the whole Golden theme is due to the Golden Spike, this story is shared despite not being a folktale. Though, having such a way to travel did involve “the folk” to make it happen with many different cultures including the Chinese, Irish, recently-freed African Americans, Shoshoni, Paiute, Washo, and Mormons (today preferred to be called members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).

Utah – https://utah.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=e679f80b19ed4482b10910f2a918946e&folderid=578cf9fd8d4a4ce083a62bb331829c67

50-word-or-less summary:

Locomotives traveled faster than any other way. Asa Whitney petitioned Congress in 1845 for grants to build railway. Many routes considered. The joining of two railroads–Central Pacific and Union Pacific–took place on Promontory Summit, Utah on May 10, 1869. Golden spike missed twice but still considered “done” by telegraph heard around the world.

Golden Spears-

These “spears” are not weapons but are due to two mountains that looked like golden spears. This story has a “Rip Van Winkle” feel to it. Thankfully, the mother did know what happened to her two children probably by some messenger of the Fairy Queen.

Ireland – https://www.worldoftales.com/European_folktales/Irish_Folktale_4.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Connla and Nora saved thrush from hawk. Thrush said they must hear nine fairy pipers on “Golden Spear,” mountain’s nickname. Thrush told them to see crystal hall of fairies. Children explored and saw second “Golden Spear” mountain. Saw fairy queen. Slept for seven years (felt like one night). Returned. Happiness.

Golden Swan-

This story is almost exactly like the “Golden Goose” and well as similar to the “Golden Elephant Tusks.” Though it does not reveal it in this link below, but I heard that the father was reincarnated as the swan and explains more of the concern the swan has for the family.

India – https://www.culturalindia.net/indian-folktales/jataka-tales/the-golden-swan.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Swan with golden feathers learns of poor family. Swan explains that he will give a golden feather. Hurrah! Money. Swan 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. Swan never returns.

Golden Snail-

A Princess tosses a snail out of garden…what many people would do. It is tough to be cursed for a simple act, especially when no malice was meant.

Indonesia – https://indonesiantale.blogspot.com/2017/02/indonesian-folktales-for-storytelling-golden-snail-keong-mas.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Prince and Princess married. Witch curses Princess into Golden Snail. Widow catches snail. Comes home to clean place and meal. Discovers Golden Snail is enchanted. Widow tosses shell to break half of curse. Prince will remarry if wife-to-be looks like former wife. Finds Princess. Holy orchestra plays. Curse completely broken.

Golden Scales-

The opening and closing of the story references “Roland,” one of the 52 bells of a carillon tower. “Roland” sings for victory or tolls for fire. On top of this tower is a golden dragon weather vane and this story explains why.

Belgium – http://whisperingbooks.com/Show_Page/?book=Classic_Fairy_Tales_And_Stories&story=Dragon_Of_Ghent

50-word-or-less summary:

Dragon wept whenever Belgians and Saracens fought. Tears brought fertile land and tulip (Turk’s Turban). Taff took seeds home. Soothsayer predicted that dragon’s brown scales would change to gold. Did! Dragon flew to find Taff’s garden to see flowers he created. Arrow shot down dragon. Dragon weather vane overlooks flowers.

Golden Spinning Wheel-

You may think this is about Rumpelstiltskin and the spinning wheel that could change straw to gold. Nope. There is a golden spinning wheel that spins its own tale.

Czechoslavak – http://oaks.nvg.org/czech12.html#gospiw

50-word-or-less summary:

Twin girls. Dobrunka-kind. Zloboha-cruel. Dobrunka provides meal to Man. Man proposes next day. Mother and Zloboha chop off Dobrunka’s eyes, feet, and hands while man’s gone. Hermit gives golden spinning wheel for two eyes, golden distaff for feet, golden spindle for hands. Dobrunka restored. Golden spinning wheels sings deception. Reunion.

Golden Shoe-

Cinderella stories do not usually begin with the Cinderella character already a princess.

Scotland – http://www.misskelly.org/cinderella/golden_shoes.htm

50-word-or-less summary:

King remarried. Queen mistreated stepdaughter. Princess tended sheep. Starvation. Grey-horned sheep fed her. Discovered! Butchered-then-resurrected sheep. Prince saw shepherdess/Princess. Prince gave tiny golden shoes. Princess ran. One shoe left behind. Prince vowed to marry who fits shoe. Queen’s daughter cut off toes. Bird warned of bloody shoes. Princess found, married.

Golden Slipper-

Cinderella stories often involve a ball or party of some kind. This party is for more than one night. One can be careful the first night….

Philippines – https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/type0510a.html#fansler

50-word-or-less summary:

Father remarried. Stepmother with two daughters. Maria treated poorly. Discussing clothes to Prince’s ball. Crab is Maria’s mother. Caught and cooked. Shell buried, turned into tree that granted Maria’s wardrobe/golden slippers. Party for two nights, Maria ran. One slipper left. Prince vowed to marry who fits slipper. Maria fits. Marriage.

Golden Sandal-

Another Cinderella tale. Isn’t it nice to compare? Forget golden shoes or slippers.  Let’s now have golden sandals.

Middle East – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/830061.The_Golden_Sandal

50-word-or-less summary:

Maha’s Father remarried. Maha saved red fish, granted help for years. Merchant to be married. Henna celebration beforehand. Due to red fish, Maha dressed with golden sandals. Forgot time. Ran. Golden sandal fell in water. Bride’s brother found sandal. Vowed to marry to whom it belonged. Marriage. Stepmother’s trick backfired.

Gold Giving Serpent-

This feels a little like the “Golden Swan” above or the “Golden Goose” or “Golden Elephant Tusks“…only that there is death involved.

India – https://www.culturalindia.net/indian-folktales/panchatantra-tales/gold-giving-serpent.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Brahmin failed at farming. Serpent appeared. Brahmin apologized to serpent, offered milk. Next day, gold coin in bowl. Brahmin gave more milk to serpent. More gold. Brahmin asked son to care for serpent. Greed. Son struck serpent. Serpent killed son. Brahmin learned of son’s death. Greed over grief. Serpent left.

Golden Star Fruit Tree-

This is really the same story as “Golden Flute” but this instrument is “Golden Reed Pipe.” Otherwise, the same.  Though, this is more complete than the link found for “Golden Flute.”

Vietnam – http://www.vietnam-culture.com/articles-15-4/The-Golden-star-fruit-tree.aspx

50-word-or-less summary:

Rich man died. Inheritance. Oldest son took all while Youngest got star fruit tree. Raven ate fruit and asked for three-foot bag only. Raven carried Youngest to island with gold/stones. Truth revealed. Oldest exchanged his riches for star fruit tree. Oldest did two six-foot bags. Heavy for Raven! Oldest drowned.

Golden Stool-

We started with a historical tale with “Golden Spike” and will end with a historical tale “Golden Stool.” Thank you to International Storyteller Mara Menzies for reminding me of this story.

Ashanti (Ghana) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfaoybhVfco

50-word-or-less summary:

Golden Stool conjured from sky and landed in King Osei Tutu’s lap. British led 2,500 troops to subjugate Ashanti. Ashanti defeated in July, 1874. Must cover cost of 1874 war. Refused to use Golden Stool. March 25, 1900 – speech – British Queen entitled to Stool. Ashanti women united, strengthened men. Exiled Ashanti King yet Stool protected!

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.

M is for Golden Mouth, Maiden, & Mountain–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019MWe 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 Mouth-

This story explains why Gregory Sound is named “Gregory.” Do you have a feeling that the main character of the story is named “Gregory”?

Inishmaan, Ireland – https://folkli.com/naomh-greoihir-of-the-golden-mouth

50-word-or-less summary:

Gregory committed serious sins. Guilt caused to bite off lower lip. He wished to become monk–was refused. He agreed to exile in cave. Monks visited. Golden lip made for Gregory (not scare people). Gregory died. Not buried with monks. Coffin sunk. Floated up. Re-sunk. Floated up. Buried (isolated) with monks.

Golden Maiden-

This story has some hints of “Hansel and Gretel” and features a man who goes along with his wife to abandon his children. The man is in deep despair as he does so but yet not strong enough to defend his children. Hmm. The ending is much more like “Cinderella.” So a fascinating mash-up with its own unique qualities.

Armenia – http://www.gutenberg.org/files/46944/46944-h/46944-h.htm

50-word-or-less summary:

Man abandons children. Boy drinks water, turns into lamb. Girl and boy-lamb return home. Step-mother asks husband to cook boy-lamb. Children flee. Fairy makes it possible for girl to become golden maiden by another fairy. Jealous step-mother. Sends own daughter. Becomes ugly. Prince arrives. Loses golden slipper. Finds/marries golden maiden.

Golden Mountain-

This seems more like the Golden Rule than only about the Golden Mountain. You’ll see what I mean, especially if you read the entire story rather than only counting on the summary.

Russia – http://www.compassrose.org/folklore/russian/Golden-Mountain.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Man hired. Taken to merchant’s golden palace, meets lady who gives touchstone and flint. Merchant takes man to golden mountain, gives drink. Man wakes up inside horse with shovel being pecked by crows. Must toss down gold to merchant. No way down. Touchstone/flint magic. Re-hired. Man tricks merchant. Death. 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.