Monday, December 13, 2004

Looking for likely stories

Today I decided it was time to crack the books I got from the university library, to see if there's anything there I MUST tell. I've had these books for almost six weeks--they're due on Saturday!

I'd checked out "Curious Myths from the Middle-Ages" by Sabine Baring-Gould before but I find my interest changes over time. Also, I like borrowing books by S. B-G, who was not only the author of "Onward Christian Soldiers," a collector of folklore, a father of fourteen children and an Anglican clergyman, but also a distant ancestor. Rumor has it that once when he was holding an unfamiliar child on his knee, he asked, "And whose little boy are you?" "I'm yours, father!" This book includes "The Pied Piper of Hameln." Maybe it's time to look at that one again. Who remembers that there were two children who didn't disappear into the rock, because they were too slow? One was mute and the other blind.

I powered through a collection of "wisdom tales" from around the world. Nothing caught my eye. What's wisdom to you may not be to me.

Moving on, I had a look at a book of licentious Bulgarian folktales (in Bulgarian), but there was nothing there I could ever possibly tell in public. Ah, well.

The best book of the bunch is "British Folk-Tales and Legends" by Katharine Briggs, culled from her 4-volume "Dictionary of British Folk-Tales and Legends." I've just begun looking through it. Even if I don't tell most of the stories, it's great fun to see versions of "The two pickpockets," and "Sir Gammer Vans." What a name! That one is a mixed-up story, like the old rhyme:

Late last night in the middle of the day
Two dead boys went out to play
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other.

Tomorrow I'm going to a preschool for the morning. The groups will be small, so I'll sit or kneel on the floor with the kids. I'll take my puppets and some of my favorite stories for little guys. Hope my puppets behave.

6 comments:

Faith said...

Cool! I get to post the first comment!

Personally, I hope the puppets don't behave.

sailor said...

What puppets did you take?

Mark said...

I think Sabine Baring-Gould also is said to have banged his fist on the pulpit one day, while preaching, and imploring the congregation to stop behaving as if their brains were made of cabbage. Or something like that.

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Tim said...

While I'm certain it wouldn't behoove you to add more licentious Bulgarian tales to your repertoire... I'm hoping that one day I will be among the fortunate to either:
a) hear in private, or
b) hear your puppets tell the naughty tales.
They get away with more than you can, don't they?

PriscillaHowe said...

Oh, right--I need to answer comments! Just learning the ropes here. Five comments! Should I tell Tim and True that three are my sibs?

Puppets in attendance at the preschool were Trixie, the old lady (she didn't even pick her nose this time!) and Prince, the puppet formerly known as Frog. He ate too many grasshoppers; fortuntately he didn't throw up in the car on the way home. Mavis the monkey threatened to pop out of the bag and take over, but I used the Evil Zipper.

Mark, you're right, S.B-G thumped on the pulpit and roared, "What do you want to be, cabbages?!" I heard that first on a show about him on the BBC when I was in my dorm room in Bulgaria in 1984.

The problem with the licentious Bulgarian tales is that they're all alike--the husband is tricked while the wife fools around with a) a priest b) a neighbor or c) a stranger. And even though they're all alike and not very interesting, I suspect I'd blush while telling them.