K is for Knock-out-of-the-Park Kissing—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”?

Knock-out-of-the-Park Kissing—

From Italy-

When a spouse dies, can one think of remarrying? In the story “She-Bear,” a king faces this dilemma. He promises his dying wife to marry only someone as beautiful as her. After intense search, the only one is his daughter named Preziosa. Alarmed, she must flee.

50-word-or-less summary:

King promised to remarry as beautiful as first wife. Only Preziosa, daughter. Cried! Woman appeared. Gave Preziosa wooden block to place in mouth to transform as bear. Ran! Prince spied bear turn into woman and back again. Prince pale/sick with pining. Queen begged bear/woman to kiss son. Block dislodged. Marriage!

Version of She-Bear story: https://www.worldoftales.com/European_folktales/Italian_folktale_15.html

Compare to History:

Kissing a donkey—or any other animal with big teeth like rodents—was believed in German folklore to cure toothaches. A whole book was dedicated to this dental folklore written by Leo Kanner in 1923. From the She-Bear story, the prince was certainly cured of his aches! Now tooth pain? Having a wooden block dislodged and flying towards him? He better look for a donkey.

More on the History: https://bda.org/library/history/Documents/Featured%20folklore%202%20-%20Animals%20in%20Dental%20Folklore.pdf

From Germany-

How could we pass up a classic tale of Snow White when it came to knock-out-of-the-park kissing? Though this story came from real people and cultures as shared below.

50-word-or-less summary:

Miracle child. Queen died. New jealous queen. Snow White fled after hunter’s confession. Slept on seven tiny beds of dwarves. Intruder! No, I clean! Never mind then. Queen knows girl alive. Disguised. Three attempts to poison. Success on third time. Dwarves preserve girl. Prince kissed/resuscitated. Apple spit out. Married!

Finding the Story: Too many though… https://www.pitt.edu/~dash/grimm053.html

Compare to History:

A gravestone exists for Snow White, Maria Sophia Von Erthal. The Diocesan Museum in Bamberg of southern Germany has exhibits and displays that feature facts and inspirations to the story we know today. There was a jealous queen. The land was close to inhabitants who were shorter in stature and specialized in making mirrors.

As for kissing itself, let’s jump topics and ponder the “kissing disease” known as Mono. This particular disease develops from the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Then, on April 16, 2018, it was published for the first time that this virus was linked and developed seven other major diseases: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis (MS), rheumatoid arthritis (JIA), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease, and type 1 diabetes. This study will open more studies…and hopefully will lead to a vaccine for EBV. Right now, once EBV is in you, it is there for life. So those kisses…last forever, too? May they be healing kisses to resuscitate you for the eternities.

More on the History: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-europe-49234674 – on real Snow White, https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/news/release/2018/mono-virus – about Mono also known as “kissing disease”

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!

Story Snippets…with Clever Octopus

Our Story Snippets series delves into moments that have brought delight to us with Story Crossroads.  This is a first of several to come on this blog.

For our 4th Annual Story Crossroads Festival on May 15, 2019, we wanted more hands-on story opportunities for people.  This meant materials.  This meant materials we did not have yet.  Thankfully, we received some materials needing a purpose through a Mini-Grant from Clever Octopus, a nonprofit creative reuse center.

We gathered boxes of wood blocks from Clever Octopus that Kurt Munson sawed and sanded so that small to large hands could handle them with care.  Then,  Spencer Thompson cut pieces of felt to glue on the blocks so that these turned into mini flannel boards.

We were thrilled when Clever Octopus also had tons of scrapbook felt embellishments in the form of frogs, lizards, fish, whales, starfish, seahorses, snakes, planes, and basketballs.  Each family that came by could take 3-4 blocks so that these characters (4 in a package) could roam on these blocks, interact with each other, and create stories for all to celebrate.  Extra bits of felt could be used to decorate the story blocks to add to the scenery.  The day of the Festival was super windy so we had to hang onto the felt.  Thank goodness that wooden blocks have some weight to them!

After the Festival, there were leftover felt characters so we transformed them into another story project at our 4th Annual Youth Teller Reunion on July 13, 2019.

Every year we have about 30 youth tellers and we have had 99 youth tellers on stage so far.  We gather for our Youth Teller Reunion at Boondocks in Draper, Utah.  Once youth tell at our event, they are always part of the Story Crossroads Family.  We had a youth teller attend the 2019 Reunion that told at our Inaugural event in 2016.  Some youth tellers are now in college.

We kick-off with a storytelling performance by the Executive Director, Rachel Hedman.  She never tells during the Festival itself as she has too much to oversee and do.  Though, she looks forward to telling stories for the youth.  She started storytelling as a sophomore in high school and celebrated 25 years in the art exactly this month and year.

Finally, story games are played and we work on a story project or craft.

We had the youth tellers and families take some blue cardstock (one paper per person). They chose where to place three long cuts.  This time, the embellished felt characters  were stuck onto Popsicle sticks so that they could move within the cut slots or jump to another slot.  The cardstock itself was decorated as a scene for the story.

We had preschool-aged kids to college-aged kids engaged with these cardstock story scenes.  Although people had many of the same characters, the adventures were varied from plane crashes to basketball champions to hungry snakes and on and on.  Combine these together…and the story possibilities were endless.  Still are to this day.

Could you tell a story…or a story snippet from the pictures?

Check out our previous post of thankfulness to Clever Octopus by clicking here.