G is for Guts that Give Life—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”?

Guts that Give Life

From Russia-

Some stories are absurd though you are willing to suspend disbelief. “Little Lost Son” would normally take a while to tell so summarizing in 50 words or less is…difficult. There are the chopping of guts involved towards the middle and end of the story. Lost Son is the 12th of 12 brothers born at the same time when transformed from hen’s eggs that an old man and woman gathered. Many rich people became godparents. The boys guard the farm as hay goes missing each night. Lost Son discovers the culprit: a mare and 12 colts. Lost Son gets the mare to give her colts to he and his brothers. Lost Son gets the most pathetic one. Time passes. The boys ask around if there are 12 unwed sisters available. Lost Son’s horse tells the boy to ride a day after his brothers. His horse flies in the sky and discovers witch’s home with 12 daughters. Yes, this was a summary, but the 50-word one will focus on the guts. No, these will not be brides. They are killed instead of Lost Son because he discovered the witch’s plan. He escapes and catches up with his brothers.

50-word-or-less summary:

Brothers tell king that Lost Son can get anything. King wants witch’s 13th daughter as wife. Boy cuts horses’s guts. Bury. Horse revives stronger. Cuts guts again, thrown to sea, leads to healing waters, horse revived! Girl found. Girl falls for boy. King kills boy. She boils boy’s guts. Alive!

Version of Little Lost Son story: https://books.google.com/books?id=g7oVNqn0OoUC&pg=SL15-PA86&dq=300.+little+lost+son&hl=en&ppis=_c&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjH-J_EmdroAhWQZM0KHQ4BCDwQ6AEwAHoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=lost%20son&f=false

Compare to History:

With all the cutting of guts, I thought of the history of surgical procedures. Anesthesia hasn’t always been around. Alcohol, opium, or mesmerism were used while strong men held the patient down. Cleanliness was not a standard while more protections were made for the doctor than the patient. A skull was found that was dated about 3000 BC with trephining (making hole in skull). The reason was unknown except perhaps to rid the body of spirits.

More on the History: https://www.hartfordstage.org/stagenotes/ether-dome/history-of-surgery

Also From Russia-

Nikolai the Wondermaker is also known as Saint Nicolas. Yes, this is the same Saint Nicolas as Santa Claus. As the priest in this story has many failings, Nikolai teaches a lesson or two in traveling with him.

50-word-or-less summary:

Priest hired laborer. Daughter snuck cream to laborer. Priest suspected and hid cream at church. Laborer trucked priest to think statue/icon ate it. Priest destroyed statue. Ran away to avoid defrocking. Priest joined Nikolai. Witnessed Nikolai cut guts/lesions and heal several times. Priest claimed to be doctor. Cut patient’s guts. Nothing! Nikolai revived patient. Nikolai revealed truth with laborer. Priest must marry daughter to laborer.

Finding The Priest and Nikolai the Wonderworker story: https://books.google.com/books?id=sn0YDQAAQBAJ&pg=PT100&dq=the+priest+and+Nikolai+the+wonderworker&hl=en&ppis=_c&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj0lYL_mNroAhWLKs0KHfu6A1gQ6AEwAHoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=the%20priest%20and%20Nikolai%20the%20wonderworker&f=false

Compare to History:

People of all ages have claimed to be a doctor whether a teenager in Florida last year to Medicine Man Traveling Shows with “miracle cures.” Those shows were most popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s and started out in England and came out to America. Cocaine drops were hailed as toothache relief…and later inspired Coca-Cola.

More on the History: http://curioushistorian.com/traveling-medicine-shows-of-the-old-west

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!

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.

H is for Golden Hair, Hairpin, & Hand–A to Z Blog Challenge

AtoZ2019HWe 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 Hair & Hairs-

Rapunzel had golden hair though not made of that metal. Find out who truly had golden hair…and the weight that went along with it.

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

50-word-or-less summary:

Ailyp followed fox to lady with Golden Hair. Hair chained her down. Carried lady. Disappeared. Had to wait three years. Tempted to marry girl with black hair.  Remained faithful. Second Attempt. Carried lady, disappeared. Wait three more years. Went to lake, underwater kingdom, beyond power of her father. Married. Happiness.

Czechoslavak – http://oaks.nvg.org/czech2.html#3goha

50-word-or-less summary:

King spends night with charcoal-burner family. Son born to family. King saw three women (Fates) bless child-gift of dangers, safety through dangers, marry daughter of King. King offers to look after baby. King assigns boy to get three golden hairs from Grandfather Knowitall. Success! King shocked. All comes to pass.

Golden Hairpin-

A hairpin is something small yet can carry the weight of an arranged marriage.

Japan – http://www.sacred-texts.com/shi/atfj/atfj03.htm

50-word-or-less summary:

Hasunuma had daughter Ko and Saito had son Konojo born same day, betrothed, sealed with golden hairpin. Seventeen years and no betrothed. Ko dies of grief. Hairpin in coffin. Konojo returns. Welcomed. Ko’s sister Kei approaches Konojo. Ko’s spirit in Kei for a year. Ko asks Konojo to marry Kei.

Golden Hand-

Golden Hand is not to be confused with Golden Arm…though similar and spooky in their own rights. (See blog post on Golden Arm here.)

Oregon, United States – http://www.americanfolklore.net/folklore/2009/10/the_golden_hand.html

50-word-or-less summary:

Widow always wore gloves. Young man saw widow often, until “bump” revealed bit of gold hand underneath gloves. Young man asked about it. Widow said had lost hand. Young man obsessed. Courted and married widow. Poison. Took golden hand. Voices! Young man found in morning strangled by golden hand.

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.