THE STORY TELLERS’ MAGAZINE
VOL. I NO. 1
PVBLISHED BY THE STORYTELLERS COMPANY NEW YORK
The Storytellers’ Magazine
RICHARD T. WYCHE, Editor
THE STORY TELLERS’ MAGAZINE
VOL. I NO. 1
PVBLISHED BY THE STORYTELLERS COMPANY NEW YORK
The Storytellers’ Magazine
RICHARD T. WYCHE, Editor
Nimmy Nimmy Not
An English Fairy-tale
Retold from English Folk and Fairy Tales—Camelot Series
This story is built upon the lines of a perfect dramatic unit, as set forth by Freytag in his “Technik des Dramas”—(1) Exposition. Facts preceding the principal interest, i. e. the girl and her mother, etc. (2) Ascending Action. The coming of the king. The task. The development of the plot. (3) The Climax. This is the revelation of the name by the king, followed by the Supreme Moment which was the revelation of the proper name to Nimmy Nimmy Not. (4) Descending Action. The disposal of the villain through his “shrivelling up” and “flying away.” (5) Conclusion. “Living happy ever after.”
Joseph Jacobs in his “English Fairy Stories” gives us the following information in regard to the story: “Unearthed by Mr. E. Clodd, from the Suffolk Notes and Queries of the Ipswitch Journal, and re-printed by him in Folk-Lore Journal vii. 138-43. It has its parallels in Devonshire’s as “Duffy and the Devil,” in Hunt’s Romances and Drolls of the West of England, 239-47; in Scotland two variants are given by Chambers, “In Popular Rhymes of Scotland.” It is clearly the same as Grimm’s “Rumpelstiltskin” (No. 14).
Mr. Clodd sees in the class of name-guessing stories, a “survival” of the superstition that to know a man’s name gives you power over him, for which reason savages object to tell their names. It may be necessary—to explain to the little one, that Tom Tit can only be referred to as “That” because his name is not known until the end.
The version of the story here given is republished by permission from “Story Telling in School and Home,” by Evelyn Newcombe Partridge and George Everett Partridge, Ph. D., New York. Sturgis & Walton Co.
The illustrations for the story are reproduced from “English Fairy Stories,” through the courtesy of the author Joseph Jacobs and the publishers Messrs. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York.
Once upon a time there was a woman, and she baked five pies. And when she took them from the oven, she found that they had baked so long the crusts were too hard to eat. So she said to her daughter:
“Put you them there pies on the shelf, and by and by they’ll come again.” She meant, you know, the crust would get soft.
The girl, she took the pies into the pantry, and she put them upon the shelf in a long even row. She looked at them, and she thought how good they would taste.
“Well, if them there pies’ll come again,” she said to herself, “I may as well eat them now.”
So she ate them all, first and last!
Come supper time, the woman said:
“Go you and get one of them there pies, I dare say they’ve come again by this time.”
The daughter she went into the pantry, and she looked at the shelf. There were the five pie plates just as she had left them,—empty! So she went back to her mother and she said:
“Noo, they ain’t come again.”
“Not one of them?” said the mother.
“Noo, not one of them,” says she.
“Well, come again or not come again, I’ll have one for my supper.” And the old woman went toward the pantry.
“But you can’t have one, if they ain’t come again, mother.”
“But I can,” the woman declared. “I’ll have the best one for my supper.”
“Best or worst,” the daughter said, “I’ve ate them all! And you can’t have one ’til they’ve come again!”
Well, the woman, she was so astonished she forgot all about supper. She carried her spinning to the doorway, and as she span, she sang a little song about her daughter:
“My daughter has ate five, five pies today,
My daughter has ate five, five pies today!”
Now the king was coming down the road, and he heard the woman singing, but he could not hear the words. So he stopped in front of the door and said:
“My good woman, what were you singing?”
Now the old woman did not want anyone to know what a greedy daughter she had; so she sang instead of that,
“My daughter has spun five, five skeins today.”
“Land sakes alive!” said the king, “I never heard tell of anyone’s doing that. Now look you here, my good woman. I want a wife, and I’ll marry your daughter. But look you here. For eleven months of the year she shall have all the victuals she wants to eat, and all the clothes she wants to wear, and all the company she likes to keep. But the twelfth month, she must spin five skeins every day, or off’ll go her head!”
“All right,” says the woman, for she thought:
“What a grand marriage this will be. And as for them there five skeins, by that time he’ll forget all about them.”
So they were married. And for eleven months the girl had all the victuals she wanted to eat, and she had all the clothes she wanted to get, and she had all the company she liked to keep. But sometimes she felt a little uneasy. Sometimes she thought of that spinning she must do.
The king, he never said one word about the five skeins, so as the eleven months had nearly passed, the girl thought that he had forgotten all about it.
But one day, it was the last day of the eleventh month! The king came to her, and he took her into a little room she had never seen before. There was nothing in it but a spinning wheel and a little chair and a small bare table.
“Here, my girl,” says he, “here I’ll put you tomorrow. And I’ll lock the door. And here you must stay all day long. At night I’ll come, and if you’ve not spun the five skeins, off’ll go your head!” And away he went about his business.
Well, the girl was that frightened! She had always been such a gatless creature that she didn’t even know how to spin! She sat down on a stool and she began to cry. How she did cry!
Little black imp
However, all of a sudden she heard a knocking, knocking, low down at the door. She got up and she opened the door. There stood a little black thing, WITH A LONG BLACK TAIL. And That looked up at her out of the corner of That’s eyes, and That says:
“What are you crying for?”
“What’s that to you?” says she.
“Never you mind, but tell me what you are crying for. Perhaps I can help you,” the little black thing told her.
“Well, it can’t do any harm, if it doesn’t do any good,” she thought. So she told him all about the five pies, and the five skeins and everything.
“This is what I’ll do,” says that little black thing, twirling his BIG BLACK TAIL. “I’ll come to your window every morning and get the flax, and at night I’ll bring it home all spun.”
“What’s your pay?” says she.
That looked at her again out of the corner of That’s eyes. “I’ll give you three guesses every night to guess my name, and if you haven’t guessed it by the last night, you shall be MINE!”
The girl thought that she would be sure to guess it before the month was up, so she said:
“All right,” That says, and how That did twirl That’s tail!
Well, the next day, the king took her into the room, and there was the flax, and the day’s supply of victuals.
“Now, my dear,” says he, “if that ain’t spun by night, off’ll go your head.” Then he went out and locked the door behind him.
The king had no sooner gone, than a knock,—knock came at the window. There was the little black thing sitting on the window ledge. She gave him the flax and away he flew.
Well, at evening, the knocking came again at the window. The girl opened it, and there stood the little black thing with the flax on his arm, all beautifully spun.
“Here it is,” he said, as he gave it to her. “Now, what’s my name?”
“Is that Bill?” says she.
“Noo, that ain’t,” says he, and he twirled his tail.
“Is that Ned, then?”
“Noo, that ain’t.”
“Well, is that Mark, then?” she asked.
“Noo.” And That twirled That’s tail harder and away That flew.
When the king came in, there were the skeins beautifully spun.
“Well, I see, my dear, that you won’t lose your head tonight.” And he went away and left her locked in the room.
So every day the flax and the food were brought to the girl. And every morning the little black imp would knock at the window and carry away the flax, and every night it would bring back the flax spun. And every night the girl would try the three times to guess the imp’s name, but she could never guess the right one.
At last, the last day had come. And that night when the imp brought back the skeins, he said:
“What, ain’t you guessed my name yet?”
“Is that Nicodemas?” says she.
“Noo, that ain’t,” That says.
“Is that Samuel?”
“Noo, not that neither.” Then That looked at her with That’s eyes like coals of fire, and That says:
“Woman, there’s only tomorrow night, and THEN YOU’LL BE MINE!” And away That flew.
Well, the girl she felt that bad. However, she heard the king coming along the passage. In he came, and when he saw the five skeins, he said:
“My dear, I don’t see but you’ll have your skeins ready tomorrow night as well, so I reckon I shall not have to kill you, and I’ll have supper in here tonight.”
So they brought the supper in, and the two sat down to the table.
Well, he had eaten but a mouthful, when he began to laugh.
“What are you laughing at?” the girl asked him.
“Well, today when I was out in the forest, I saw the funniest sight…. I was in a strange part where I had never been before. And I saw an old chalk pit…. And I heard the queerest humming and humming coming from the pit. So I got off my hobby and crept over to the pit without making a bit of a sound. And there I saw the strangest looking little black thing with a long, black tail. And That was sitting at a little spinning wheel, and That was spinning so fast that I could scarcely see the wheel. And while That span, That sang,
“Nimmy, nimmy not,
My name is Tom Tit Tot.”
“And That kept singing it over again and again.”
When the girl heard this, she was so happy that she could almost have jumped out of her skin for joy, but she didn’t say a word.
Next day, that little black thing looked so maliceful! And when night came she heard the knock at the window, she opened it, and the little black thing jumped into the room. He was grinning from ear to ear, and O! That’s tail was twirling round so fast!
“What’s my name?” That said, as That gave her the skeins.
“Is that Solomon?” said the girl, pretending to be afraid.
“Noo, that ain’t,” That said, and That came further into the room.
“Well, is that Zebedee?” says she again.
“Noo, that ain’t.” And then That laughed, and twirled That’s tail until you could hardly see That.
“Take time, woman! The next guess AND YOU ARE MINE!” And That stretched out That’s black hands at her.
Imp and Woman
Well, she moved back a step or two, and she looked at that little black thing, and then she laughed out, and says she, pointing her finger at it,
“Nimmy, nimmy not,
Your name is Tom Tit Tot.”
When that black impet heard her, That shriveled right up, and away That flew and was never heard of again.
And the girl lived happily ever after, and the king never again asked her to do any more spinning.
BY RICHARD T. WYCHE
The Taileypo story was told to me by the Rev. George Washington Neale, a student friend of mine, years ago, in Chicago University. Mr. Neale said that he had heard the story many times in his childhood, from the lips of the old negro story tellers in Tennessee. This story has its variant in the story of “The Golden Arm,” which was written by Mark Twain, Joseph Jacobs and also in a collection by S. Baring-Gould.
It is a story that loses much in the writing, as it is impossible to give voice modulation in cold print. After hearing Mr. Neale tell it a number of years ago, in Chicago, I took it up and began to tell it, and found many people in the South, who had heard the old negroes tell it.
In January 1905, I was in Atlanta, Ga., and went with Joel Chandler Harris, the author of “Uncle Remus,” to the West End School, where I told a number of Uncle Remus stories to the children. Beginning in the first grade, where Mr. Harris’s little grandson was then a pupil and ending in the higher grades, where I told The Taileypo story. When the story was done, Mr. Harris said it was one of the best negro stories he had heard, but that I did not have all of the story. There was, he said, another piece of the story that should be linked with this to make it complete, and I said to Mr. Harris: “Find the other piece, and write the story complete.”
One year after that Harris published the story in the Metropolitan Magazine, New York, January 1906. Harris gave it a setting and artistic atmosphere, bringing in Brer’ Rabbit and Mister Man. He put it in the mouth of Uncle Remus, and had the old negro, as in his other books, tell the story to the little boy. That was a demonstration to me as to how Harris took many of the negro stories in the raw, and passing them through the magic of his imagination made them into art.
We are frequently puzzled to find humorous stories for the boys and girls,—they must have humor. This story has universally amused them wherever it has been told. In it reverberates the barbaric ages from whence the race came, and it is a spontaneous expression of life from the primitive standpoint. To find a story that the boys and girls think humorous, and to laugh together with them, is decidedly refreshing and healthful to the teacher, who has dwelt so much on grammatical forms which are not fundamental in a child’s interest. As Joseph Jacobs, says, “The children know the happenings in the story are make-believe just as much as the spectators of a tragedy. Every one who has enjoyed the blessing of a romantic imagination has been trained upon such tales of wonder.”
However, if one’s imagination and sense of humor is undeveloped, and the story is taken seriously rather than humorously, it loses its value and should not be told. For that reason the story teller or teacher must study his auditors.
As Uncle Remus would say, I will “’gin it out to you as it was ’gunt to me.”
In the mountains of Tennessee, ’way back in de big woods, lived onct a man, in a house all by his self. This man had one room to his house, and dat room was his kitchen.
One night, when de man was sleepin on his bed, he heerd sup’ner roun de fire place snifflin, lickin de pots, de fryinpans, and de skillets, car’en on and g’wyin on. De man struk a light, and dar he see de curioses lookin varmint what you ever laid eyes on, a varmint wid a8 great, long tail. No sooner de man see de varmint dan he retched for his hatchet. He made one sweep at him, and clipped his tail squar off behime. De varmint he run out thu de cracks er de logs and tuk to de woods.
De man, fool-lik, took an cooked de tail, et it,—and den he went to bed. ’Way long in de night, suppen cum and got up over de man’s do, and scratched and sed:
“Taileypo, I want’s my ta-a-a-a-a-a-iley-po.”
De man had three dogs: one name Uno, and one Ino, and one Cumticocalico. De man call his dogs, “Yer! Yer! Yer!”
De dogs dey cum bilin out frum under de house. De varmint he run down side de house and jumped. De dogs snapped at him, but he got away, and dey run’ed him and run’ed him ’way back in de big woods. De man he tuk, he did and went back to bed, and went to sleep.
But ’way long in de night, de thing cum and got up in de crac’ er de man’s do and sed:
“Taileypo, you know,—I know,—all I want’s my Ta-a-a-a-a-a-iley-po.”
De man call his dogs, “Yer! Yer! Yer!”
Uno, Ino and Cumticocalico cum abustin roun de cordner of de house. De varmint jumped down from de side of de house and tuk to de woods. De dogs ketch him at de gate,—knock down de gate an tore down de fence. He got away, but dey jus’ natchally tore up de earth runnin him ’way frum dar. De man tuk, he did and went back to bed and went to sleep.
’Way long in de night, jus befo day, de man he heard sup’ner down de hill, sayin:
“Uno, Ino, all I want’s my Ta-a-a-a-a-a-iley-po.”
By and by he heard him in de crack up over de do, sayin:
“Taileypo, I want’s my Ta-a-a-a-a-a-iley-po.”
De man call de dogs, “Yer! Yer! Yer!”
De dogs didn’t cum: de Taileypo dun car’ed em off sumeres in de woods, lost em or kil’t em.
Arter a while—de Taileypo stop. Everything was still. De man drapped back on his pillow, but fo long he feel supen and heard supen scratchin and clawin at de foot of de bed. Supen ketch holt er de kivers, and clawed lak a cat a’climin up. De man rais his haid up and look, and he see two bright eyes, lak balls er fire, lookin right pine blank at him frum de foot er de bed. De varmint crawl up9 nigher and nigher on de man. He can see his little short ’years by de light er his eyes. De varmint say right easy to de man again:
“Taileypo—I want my te-e-e-e-e-e-eley-po!”
De man try to holler. He opens his mouf, but lak a man in his sleep, he ca’nt mak a soun’. De varmint crawl right up on top er de man and say right easy again: “Taileypo.”
“I want’s my te-e-e-e-e-e-eley-po!”
De man’s voice cum back to him, and he say:
“I aint got your taileypo.”
De varmint says, “Yes, you is.”
He jumped on de man and scratch him all to pieces, and got his taileypo.
All dat’s lef of de man’s house now is de rude heart-stone, and dey say dat when de moon rises roun and red and shines down dat lonely hollow, and de win’ blow, dat you can hear a voice in de win’ day say:
“Tail-a-a-a-a-a-e-eley-po-o-o-o!” and die in de distance.
Once Upon a Time
Every now and then the postman leaves at the office of The Evening Sun a message that brims over with pleasure for the recipient. Among such communications we gratefully acknowledge the following, addressed to us by a young friend in the South:
“Durham N. C. March 29.
”Dear editor—I like the Once upon a time stories very much pleas make them a little longer Father reads them to me after Supper. do you tell them to your little boy or girl with love Lucy Glasson Mary likes them to”
Time was, Lucy, when we told some of these stories to our little boy and girl at bedtime, and now, years afterwards, we are glad to think that we can tell them over to thousands of other people’s little boys and girls. If only they will think of us occasionally as Lucy Glasson does, “with love,” how rich will be our reward. N.Y. Evening Sun.
North Carolina has recently organized a Folk-Lore Society, which will be a branch of the National Folk-Lore Society.
Kitchen with girl and Johnny Cake
Mr. Joseph Jacobs publishes this story in his Collection of “English Fairy Tales.” He gives as his source “American Journal of Folk-Lore,” ii. 60. Another variant of this story is found in “The Gingerbread Boy,” in St. Nicholas, May, 1875. Chambers gives two versions of the same story, under the title “The Wee Bunnock,” the first of which is one of the most dramatic and humorous of folk tales. Unfortunately the Scotticisms are so frequent as to render the Droll practically untranslatable. “The Fate of Mr. Jack Sparrow” in Uncle Remus is similar to that of Johnny Cake.
The version herewith is taken from the Aldine Fourth Reader, by Frank E. Spaulding and Catherine T. Bryce, through the courtesy of the publishers, Newson & Company, New York.
Once upon a time there was an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy. One morning the old woman made a Johnny Cake, and put it into the oven to bake.
Then she said to the little boy: “You watch Johnny Cake while your father and I go out to work in the garden. Don’t let it burn.”
The little boy soon got tired watching the oven, and went to look out of the window. All of a sudden he heard a noise back of him. He looked around quickly. The oven door popped open. Out jumped Johnny Cake. Away he went rolling along, end over end, through the open door, down the steps, and out into the road, long before the little boy could catch him.
“Mother! Father! Johnny Cake’s running away!” cried the little boy, and down the street he ran after Johnny Cake.
His father and mother threw down their hoes and gave chase too. But Johnny Cake outran all three a long way, and was soon out of sight. The old man, the old woman, and the little boy, quite out of breath, sat down by the roadside to rest.
On ran Johnny Cake. By and by he came to two well diggers, who looked up from their work and called out, “Where are you going Johnny?”
“I’ve outrun an old man, an old woman, and a little boy, and I can outrun you, too-o-o!”
“You can, can you? We’ll see about that!”
They threw down their spades and ran after him. But Johnny Cake outstripped them also. Seeing they could never catch him, they gave up.
On ran Johnny Cake. By and by he came to a bear.
“Where are you going Johnny?” growled the bear.
“I’ve outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, and two well diggers, and I can outrun you, too-o-o!”
“You can, can you?” growled the bear; “we’ll see about that!”
And he rushed thump, thump, after Johnny Cake, who never stopped to look behind him. Before long the bear was left far behind, so at last, breathless and panting, he stretched himself out by the roadside to rest.
On ran Johnny Cake. By and by he came to a wolf. “Where are you going, Johnny Cake?” yelped the wolf.
“I’ve outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, two well diggers, and a bear, and I can outrun you, too-o-o!”
“You can, can you?” snarled the wolf; “we’ll see about that!”
And he set into a gallop after Johnny Cake, who went on so fast that the wolf saw there was no hope of overtaking him, and he, too, lay down to rest.
On ran Johnny Cake. By and by he came to a fox that lay quietly in a corner of the fence.
“Where are you going, Johnny Cake?” called the fox, in a sharp voice, but without getting up.
“I’ve outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, two well diggers, a bear, and a wolf, and I can outrun you, too-o-o!”
“I can’t quite hear you, Johnny Cake; won’t you come a little closer?” said the fox.
Johnny Cake went a little nearer to the fox and called out in a very loud voice:
“I’ve outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, two well diggers, a bear, and a wolf, and I can outrun you, too-o-o!”
“Can’t quite hear you; won’t you come a little closer?” said the fox, in a feeble voice, as he put one paw behind his ear.
Johnny Cake came up quite close, and leaning towards the fox, screamed out, “I’ve outrun an old man, an old woman, a little boy, two well diggers, a bear, and a wolf, and I can outrun you, too-o-o!”
“You can, can you?” yelped the fox, and he snapped up Johnny Cake in a twinkling.
The Twelve Months
An Oral Re-telling of a Bohemian Fairy Story
R. T. Wyche
In the Bohemian land there lived a woman, who had one daughter named Katinka, and a stepdaughter named Dobrunka. The woman, naturally, loved her own daughter more than she did her stepdaughter, but her own child was not as fair nor had she as pleasing a disposition as had the stepdaughter Dobrunka.
This displeased the woman so that she made Dobrunka, the stepdaughter, do all the housework, the cooking and the churning, whereas, her own daughter, Katinka, she dressed in fine clothes and let her live in idleness. And more than that—she frequently allowed Katinka to order Dobrunka around the house as if she were a servant. Dobrunka was always pleasing in countenance and in spirit, and the work she did made her strong and wholesome, whereas the idleness in which Katinka lived made her very disagreeable.
One day, Katinka came to Dobrunka, and said: “Dobrunka, I want some violets; go out into the fields or the forest and find me some.”
Dobrunka said, “Why Katinka, that is a strange request. This is not the time for violets; it is mid-winter.”
Whereupon Katinka grew very angry and said: “Go, do as I say and bring me some violets, or I shall beat you to a jelly.” With that Katinka pushed her out of the door and with the help of her mother barred the door behind her.
Now, it was mid-winter and snow was upon the ground, and Dobrunka started through the forest not knowing what to do. As she walked along the forest, she saw on a hillside a fire burning. Soon she came to the fire, and there sat twelve old men with long grey beards. Their names were the Twelve Months.
It was mid-winter, and January, of course, was presiding. As Dobrunka came near to the group, not knowing what to do nor where to go, she stopped and began to cry.
January saw her, and said: “Child, why do you stand there shivering and crying, what is the matter?”
Dobrunka said, “My mother and sister have driven me from the house, and they said if I do not bring them some violets they will beat me to a jelly.”
January felt sorry for the girl, and he said: “Violets do not belong to me; perhaps March can help you.”
Near by sat March, and he turned and saw the girl was troubled and he pitied her.
March stood up and waved his wand over the fire. The fire and the circle of old men disappeared. March and the girl were standing in a field and the air was fragrant with the breath of early Spring. March said, “Daughter look down at your feet, and gather as many violets as you wish!”
As Dobrunka looked, all about her the field was purple with violets. She stooped down and gathered a great handful of them.
When she came back to the house and entered the door, Katinka saw her, and said, “Yes, I knew you could bring them, you were just pretending that you could not.” And, the perfume of the violets filled the whole house.
Some days after Katinka came again to Dobrunka, and said:
“Dobrunka, I want some strawberries, red and fresh from the fields.”
“There sat twelve old men”
Dobrunka said, “Why sister, how strangely you talk. This is not the time for strawberries; it is mid-winter. But Katinka said: “Obey me, you said there were no violets the other day; you brought them,—go, bring me some strawberries or I will beat you to a jelly.”
With that she pushed her out of the door and the stepmother helped her bar the door.
Dobrunka then turned toward the forest again. Snow was still on the ground. She walked along toward the mountain and saw16 again the fire burning in the distance. Soon she was standing where sat the twelve old men in a circle.
January heard her footfall on the snow. Dobrunka stopped and began crying. January said to her, “Child, why did you come back, we gave you violets and still you are back again?”
Dobrunka said, “My mother and sister have driven me from my home, and they say if I do not bring some strawberries they will beat me to a jelly.”
January said: “I am sorry, but I cannot help you. Strawberries do not belong to me; perhaps May can help you.”
May was sitting across the circle. He looked at the girl standing there in trouble and he felt sorry for her. He stood up and waved his wand across the fire. The old men disappeared and the fire. Dobrunka found herself standing in a field. It was a perfect day in May. Above her head the sky was soft and blue; in every treetop sang the birds. May, the old man, stood by her and said:
“Look child at the earth and see what you will find.”
Dobrunka looked, and all about in great bunches grew strawberries, peeping like jewels from the green leaves.
May said to her, “Help yourself.” And stooping down she gathered her hands full and then ran back to the house.
When she entered the door, her sister seized the berries and ate them all up.
A few days after that, Katinka came again to Dobrunka and said: “Dobrunka, I want some apples, fresh and ripe; go to the forest and find me some.”
Dobrunka said, “Why sister how strangely you talk,—this is not the time for apples; it is mid-winter.”
Katinka said, “Lazy girl, you said you could not find the violets, but you did. You said there were no strawberries, but you brought them; go, and get me some apples or I will beat you to a jelly.”
Whereupon she pushed her from the door and the stepmother helped her to bar the door behind her.
Dobrunka turned again to the forest. She remembered where the old men lived on the mountainside and was soon standing near the circle. She crept along very quietly. She did not wish to ask the old men to help her again because they already had been so kind to her, but January saw her standing with bowed head and shivering in the cold.
He said, “Child, child, why did you come back here? We sent you away the other day with your wants supplied.”
Then Dobrunka said: “My mother and sister have driven me from the house, they say if I do not bring them some apples they will beat me to a jelly.”
January said, “Apples do not belong to me; perhaps September can help you.”
“One day the handsomest youth in all the world came by”
On the opposite side of the circle sat September, and he saw the girl standing there, helpless. He felt sorry for her and standing up, he waved his wand over the fire. The circle and the old men disappeared. They were standing in a gently rolling field. The air was soft; the crickets were chirping in the grass and there was in the sky a haze. All around here stood great apple trees, loaded with fruit, red and yellow.
September said to the girl, “Help yourself.”
Dobrunka picked up two of the largest apples, and then fled back to the house. When her sister saw her, she seized the apples, ate one and gave the other to her mother. As soon as the apples were eaten,—she came to Dobronka, and said, “Why did you not bring more apples?”
Then Dobrunka told her about the old men and how they had helped her each time.
“Then,” said Katinka, “I know why you did not bring more, you ate them up on the way. Go back, and bring me more or I will beat you.”
Dobrunka said, “Please do not send me again in the cold,” and she begged that she might stay in the house.
Then Katinka said, “I will go myself; if you could get them I can get them from the old men.”
She left the house and walked through the forest, and soon came in sight of the fire where sat the twelve old men. When she came near to them, she said, “Hello there, old grey beards, I want some apples and want them quick!”
January was not accustomed to such words. He stood up and waved his wand over the fire and the fire and the circle were gone.
Katinka found herself in a great forest. The wind was wailing through the treetops, the snow was falling and it was bitter cold. Katinka did not come back to the house. Her mother waited for her and by and by she started out in search of her, but she, too, was lost in the storm that raged, and never came back.
Dobrunka waited in the house. The night passed, and the next day and many days. By and by the snow melted. The birds and flowers of Spring came, but still the lost ones did not come back. Dobrunka had the house all alone. One day, the handsomest youth in all the world came by and met Dobrunka. They became friends, and afterwards they were married and lived happily forever thereafter.
The Storytellers’ League, of the State Normal School, of Dillon, Montana, have decided for the present year to devote their attention to a line of work, which so far as we know, has not yet been attempted by any other League. They will investigate the part that the supernatural, especially witchcraft, plays in literature, and will follow it not only through folk literature, but the following units: Goethe’s Faust, Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, Konigs-kinder and Hansel and Gretel. The general theme will be broken from time to time by the introduction of stories suitable for a special session. At the last meeting in December the program will be given over to Christmas stories, tales and legends. Miss Florence Mayer is President of the League.
Story Telling and Education
BY GEORGE EVERETT PARTRIDGE, Ph.D.
The recent revival of story telling raises many interesting questions, both practical and theoretical. Considered as a part of a larger movement,—an effort to control and utilize the powers concealed within the instincts and unconscious forces of the mind—story telling takes a place in a problem which we can hardly be mistaken in calling one of the most important of our day. We have tended to value, in education, only that which we can see and fully understand; but now, as we begin seriously to employ arts in the school, and in the arts to subordinate knowledge to feeling, to use methods that yield no immediate or practical return, we demand an increasing faith in the powers of receptivity and inner response of the child, and we must learn more and more to detect, and to be satisfied with, unseen and remote effects.
In the art-invasion of the school, which is one aspect of this movement toward a wider education, it is difficult to see how, in the near future, we can be carried too far. We have been in the habit of emphasizing so much the learning process, that we are in danger of preventing the free and experimental attitude toward these new interests that seems needed at the present time. We are likely to have too little, rather than too much, faith in the play motives, the æsthetic moods, and the subconscious powers. We shall still want the child to express, to dramatize, to be examined upon, everything he receives: to externalize every response, even in the most intimate regions of feeling.
In calling the influx of artistic elements and methods into the school one phase of the education of the unconscious and deeper powers, we have a significant practical view-point, and20 are at the same time in touch with new results in science. As a practical ideal, we must aim to educate all the individual, not merely thought and voluntary movement. We wish to reach the inherited mechanisms of the organism; we wish to play upon all the potentialities of feeling and volition, and to utilize powers latent in the deposits of experience that the child has brought with him to the world.
These new results in science give to the well-worn principle that we must educate all the powers of the child a new meaning, and at least three important advances in psychology, in recent years, combine to put solid ground under our feet for a practical æsthetics, and give us principles by which we can coördinate the artistic elements and methods of the school.
The first of these advances is the genetic psychology that has arisen and flourished on the basis of Darwinian principles in biology, and which has shown the fundamental place of the feelings in education. The second is the new psycho-analysis, which, by showing the laws of the symbolic expression of hidden desires and feelings, has given us a new conception of the relation of art to life. The third new result is in the psychology of valuation, which has traced out, at least roughly, the course of development of the æsthetic and ethical states of consciousness.
New and incomplete and lacking in coördination as these principles are, they already yield us practical insights such as we have never been able to obtain from the older philosophies. We may confidently expect to see in time a solid science of the feelings, which will give us a “union of art and life” in a sound æstheticism in education: an æstheticism that will help to organize and control the fundamental feelings, and will overcome the superficial aloofness of our prevailing too formal and too detached art. This will be based upon the discovery that art, and the need of art, extend throughout all phases of human life; and that all true art must work in intimate union with practical affairs.
Considerations, such as these, seem essential for any study of the place of story telling, or any other art, in education.
The story telling “situation” is an artistic situation. It falls under the category of the beautiful, and is subject to all the general principles of æsthetics. Thus it stands in striking contrast with all formal methods of instruction, and all routine and unemotional learning. In such artistic situations the child is more fully present than in the formal school work, for he brings with him his deeper, unconscious nature.
The nature of the story as an educational art is best shown by its place in primitive life. Here the function of the story is clearly practical. By it religion, and all beliefs, morals, customs, and traditions are conveyed to the child. The folk-tales, the legends, the fairy-tales, the epics, and the myths of the world are not merely fanciful inventions of man; in a far more profound way than we yet fully understand, they express man’s most urgent needs and desires. Primitive man began early to express, in his stories, by means of a varied symbolism, his own hopes and wishes,—sometimes, thereby, keeping them alive through hard conditions, and passing them on to new generations; sometimes obtaining for them a vicarious satisfaction. These racial stories affect our feelings deeply, simply because there is continuity in evolution: because the past still lives in the present: because these stories are the products of universal needs, and symbolize or represent them. The story is thus a language of the feelings; it is a means of communication between the past and the unconscious and undeveloped potentialities of the present. The story is a symbolic language: its scenes and words are often trivial, but underneath them runs a deeper meaning. Everyone who has told stories must have felt this. We all know that when we tell a good story to22 a child, the child is receiving from us indescribable meanings, which the story itself conveys, but does not really contain or express,—and this sense of free-masonry of emotional meaning is the greatest charm of the story. One who feels this does not need to point a moral to a tale; and one who feels the need of the moral does not really tell his story.
Without knowing something about the nature of the æsthetic feelings and moods it is impossible to understand the scope of such an art as story telling. We are likely to think of æsthetic feeling as passive, or as merely “refining” in its effects: or, if inspiring, as mainly affecting the creative, artistic imagination. But this is not the case. All æsthetic feelings are intensely active. Because the responses are internal,—a play of forces within the organism—we are likely to overlook them altogether. In every æsthetic state, we have good reason to believe, there is a play of volitions, an active choosing, a drama of aroused and satisfied desire—definite, specific desire, which, though it may often be unconscious, if none the less real. And it is because of this drama of desire that æsthetic situations have meaning and value—educational value.
We cannot at present know,—and as practical educators we do not need to know—precisely the mechanism or content of every emotional state; yet we can often see clearly some of the deeper meaning and effect of æsthetic valuations. We can see sometimes, in the child’s interest in fairy-tales, for example, that the child is playing a part; that he is accepting for himself misfortunes for the sake of the good that issues from them; that he is appreciating, in some half-conscious way, the nature of a world in which events are not separate and haphazard, but are connected through far-seeing purposes. The child is not merely pleased at the story; he reacts to it by taking attitudes: by accepting, rejecting, deciding; by desiring, and by receiving satisfaction. In such experiences the child is even acquiring religion, and the standards and moods of later life are made23 up of just such feelings as are conveyed so effectively through the medium of the artistic story.
The story, then, is an important method in education. It is a very effective and natural devise for conveying the ideals and volitions of one generation to the mind of another, and of coördinating many individuals by means of the common possession of these ideals and purposes. We have yet to learn fully how far we can go by this and other kinds of artistry in teaching; but that the story should have a serious place in education, seems wholly certain. Just how large a place it should occupy is to be determined, in part, by experiment. Good story telling may be utilized in so many subjects of the curriculum, for so many purposes, and in so many departments of education, within and without the school; its artistic possibilities are so great; the present momentum of interest is so strong, and so well justified by science, that we may expect to see a widespread use of the story as a method of education. We shall expect to see story telling become a part of the equipment of all teachers, and the story literature of the world become more and more accessible, and better adapted to the child. And it is likely that the professional story teller will again flourish among us, as in the days before books and schools robbed him of his art.
The Story Tellers’ League, of Nashville, Tenn., issues an attractive Year Book for the current year. Among the topics announced for the year is a Greek pageant, “The Fire Regained,” to be given out of doors at the Parthenon, in Centennial Park. This pageant was written by Mr. Sidney Hirsch, a member of the Story Tellers’ League, and dedicated to the League. A popular subscription of $10,000 has been made by the city for its production. Seats will be arranged for 20,000 people. The Schools will furnish 800 young men and young women for the performance; a herd of sheep and a flock of doves enter into the pageant. It will be given five afternoons early in May.
Story Telling in Boston
BY MARY W. CRONAN
Official Story Teller for the Boston Public Libraries
I really felt most delighted at the thought of the new magazine and want to send an article, but can’t seem to find time to write it. Perhaps it will answer if I just tell you what is being done in Boston Libraries and Settlements by Mr. Cronan and myself, and let you choose such items as seem of interest.
The Library classes are held in the afternoon. On Saturday from three to four Mr. Cronan and I tell stories in the Central Library. On Monday I go to Brighton; Tuesday to Jamaica Plain; Wednesday to South Boston; Thursday the West End; Friday Shawmut Ave. Branch. All these are Branches of the Central Library. The ages of the children are from ten to fourteen. The attendance from one to two hundred.
The first part of the hour is devoted to telling the story of some book which the children have not read and which would be a valuable book for them to know. As the boys greatly outnumber the girls, the book is chosen which is likely to appeal to them. I have told in “continued story” form each book lasting from four to six periods of story telling the following:
Spenser’s “Faerie Queen”
King Arthur and His Knights
Finn and his Mighty Deeds
The Christmas Carol
Konigs Kinder, etc.
The last twenty minutes of the hour is usually devoted to some story of fun or fancy—a fairy tale—or Brer’ Rabbit’s pranks. In the evening similar work is done in Social Settlements with groups of boys from twelve to fourteen years of age. At Denison House we have ninety-six boys of Syrian and Irish nationality. There are groups in the Ruggles Street Neighborhood House—the “South End Industrial School,” Jamaica Plain Neighborhood House, South End House and Lincoln House.
In the summer story telling groups are held on the roof gardens of the Settlement House or in the yard where we sit on the grass and tell stories in the twilight—often to groups of one hundred and fifty children.
The accompanying newspaper clippings about my work may be of interest:
Introduces the Child to the Best Literature
“I do not tell stories to amuse children, but to instruct them. The purpose is to introduce the child to the best literature and not to entertain him, although he is at the same time entertained.
“Story telling bridges the gap between the child and the library and brings him into literature. It develops the child in every way and teaches him what is really worth his while to read.
“It develops the imagination, trains his mind and he gets many moral lessons, although I never tell stories as a means of preaching to children.
Develops the Child’s Mind
“Story telling means far more to children than many people realize. The love for stories is born in every child and it takes but a remarkably short time before almost every child becomes a really wonderful listener.
“It is interesting to observe how the mind of the child is developed. At first, many can keep their attention on a story only a short time, but they soon learn the power of application and can listen breathlessly for an hour and then ask for another story, even though they know the time is up. After their attention has once been gained, children will listen to stories as long as the story teller will continue.
“After a year or more of story telling in the public libraries, I believe in the power of the story more than ever. Between the settlements and the libraries, over 1,200 children come to listen to me each week, and besides I have been conducting a normal class to teach young librarians how to tell stories themselves.
“All the librarians appear to be enthusiastic over the story hour, and although it adds to their cares and confusion, they welcome me each week with a friendliness that is truly genuine.
“But the real inspiration comes from the children themselves. They never seem to tire, and sometimes keep me for an hour and a quarter with ‘A little more, please, just a few minutes. We want to know what became of Oliver,’ or ‘Didn’t Siegfried come to life again?’
The Stone Lion
A Tibetan story, retold from the excellent collection of Captain O’Connor. Although a fairy-tale in form, it has the well marked purposive quality so characteristic of Eastern stories. Adapted from Folk-Tales from Tibet, by Captain W. P. O’Connor.
This story was voted to be the best story told during two years to a class of younger children at Bancroft School, Worcester. Twenty-two children whispered their votes to the story teller. Ten chose The Stone Lion, while no other story received more than four votes.
This story, by permission of authors and publishers, is taken from Story Telling in School and Home, by Emelyn Newcomb Partridge and George E. Partridge. Sturgis & Walton Company, New York.
Once there were two brothers who lived with their mother in a large house on a farm. Their father was dead. The older brother was clever and selfish; but the younger was kind and gentle. The older brother did not like the younger because he was honest, and never could get the best of a bargain; so one day he said to him:
“You must go away. I cannot support you any longer.”
So the younger brother packed all his belongings, and went to bid his mother good-bye. When she heard what the older brother had done, she said:
“I will go with you, my son. I will not live here any longer with so hard-hearted a man as your brother.”
The next morning the mother and the younger brother started out together. Toward night they came to a hut at the foot of a hill. It was empty except for an axe, which stood behind the door. But they managed to get their supper, and stayed in the hut all night.
In the morning they saw that on the side of the hill near the hut was a great forest. The son took the axe, and went up on the hill side and chopped enough wood for a load to carry to the town on the other side of the hill. He easily sold it, and with a happy heart brought back food and some clothing to make them both comfortable.
“Now, mother,” he said, “I can earn enough to keep us both, and we shall be happy here together.”
Day after day he went out and cut the wood, and at night carried it to the village and sold it; and they always had plenty to eat and what they needed to make them happy and comfortable.
One day the boy went further up the hill than he had ever gone before in search of better timber. As he climbed up the steep hillside, he suddenly came upon a lion carved from stone.
“O!” thought the boy, “this must be the guardian deity of this mountain. I will make him some offering tomorrow.”
That night he bought two candles, and carried them to the lion. He lighted them and put one on each side of the lion, praying that his own good fortune might continue.
As he stood there, suddenly the lion opened his great stone mouth, and said:
“What are you doing here?”
The boy told him all the story of his hard-hearted brother, and how he and his mother had left home, and were living in the hut at the foot of the hill.
When he had heard all of the story, the lion said:
“If you will bring a bucket here tomorrow, and put it under my mouth, I will fill it with gold for you.”
The next day the boy brought the bucket and put it under the lion’s mouth.
“You must be very careful to tell me when it is nearly full,” said the lion, “for if even one piece of gold should fall to the ground, great trouble would be in store for you.”
The boy was very careful to do exactly as the lion told him, and soon he was on his way home to his mother with a bucketful of gold.
They were so rich now that they bought a great, beautiful farm, and went there to live. Everything the boy undertook seemed to prosper. He worked hard, and grew strong; and before many years had passed he was old enough to marry, and bring a bride to the home. But the mother still lived with them, and they were all very contented and happy.
At last the hard-hearted brother heard of their prosperity. He too had married, and had a little son. So he took his wife and the little boy, and went to pay his younger brother a visit. It was not long before he had heard the whole story of their good fortune, and how the lion had given them all the gold.
“I will try that, too,” he said.
So he took his wife and child and went to the very same hut his brother had lived in, and there they passed the night.
The very next morning he started out with a bucket to visit the Stone Lion.
When he had told the lion his errand, the lion said:
“I will do that for you, but you must be very careful to tell me28 when the bucket is nearly full; for even if one little piece of gold touches the ground, great misery will surely fall upon you.”
Now the elder brother was so greedy that he kept shaking the bucket to get the gold pieces closer together. And when the bucket was nearly full he did not tell the lion, as the younger brother had done, for he wanted all he could get.
Suddenly one of the gold pieces fell upon the ground.
“O,” cried the lion, “a big piece of gold is stuck in my throat. Put your hand in and get it out. It is the largest piece of all.”
The greedy man thrust his hand at once into the lion’s mouth—and the lion snapped his jaws together.
And there the man stayed, for the Lion would not let him go. And the gold in the bucket turned into earth and stones.
When night came, and the husband did not come home, the wife became anxious, and went out to search for him. At last she found him, with his arm held fast in the lion’s mouth. He was tired, cold and hungry. She comforted him as best she could, and brought him some food.
Every day now the wife must go with food for her husband. But there came a day when all the money was gone, and the baby was sick, and the poor woman herself was too ill to work. She went to her husband and said:
“There is no more food for you, nor for us. We shall all have to die. O! if we had only not tried to get the gold.”
The lion was listening to all that was said, and he was so pleased at their misfortune that he began laughing at them. And as he laughed, he opened his mouth, and the greedy man quickly drew out his hand, before the lion had a chance to close his jaws again!
They were glad enough to get away from the place where they had had such ill luck, and so they went to the brother’s house once more. The brother was sorry for them, and gave them enough money to buy a small place, and there the hard-hearted brother took his family and lived.
The younger brother and his wife and his mother lived very happily in their beautiful home, but they always remembered the Stone Lion on the hillside, who gave them their good fortune.
The Oyster and Its Claimants
(From Walter Thornbury’s translation of Esop’s Fables, made into verse by M. De La Fontaine. Fable CLXXII. Page 501—“La Fontaine’s Fables.”)
There is something so grand in this species of composition, that many of the Ancients have attributed the greater part of these fables to Socrates; selecting as their author that individual amongst mortals who was most directly in communication with the gods. I am rather surprised that they have not maintained that these fables descended direct from heaven…. The fable is a gift which comes from the immortals; it if were the gift of man, he who gave it to us would deserve a temple. From Preface to La Fontaine’s Fables.
Two travellers discovered on the beach
An Oyster, carried thither by the sea.
’Twas eyed with equal greediness by each;
Then came the question whose was it to be.
One, stooping down to pounce upon the prize,
Was thrust away before his hand could snatch it.
“Not quite so quickly,” his companion cried;
“If you’ve a claim here, I’ve a claim to match it;
The first that saw it has the better right
To its possession; come, you can’t deny it.”
“Well,” said his friend, “my orbs are pretty bright,
And I, upon my life, was first to spy it.”
“You? Not at all; or, if you did perceive it,
I smelt it long before it was in view;
But here’s a lawyer coming—let us leave it
To him to arbitrate between the two.”
The lawyer listens with a stolid face,
Arrives at his decision in a minute;
And, as the shortest way to end the case,
Opens the shell and eats the fish within it.
The rivals look upon him with dismay:—
“This Court,” says he, “awards you each a shell;
You’ve neither of you any costs to pay,
And so be happy. Go in peace. Farewell!”
How often, when causes to trial are brought,
Does the lawyer get pelf and his client get nought!
The former will pocket his fees with a sneer,
While the latter sneaks off with a flea in his ear.
The Psycho-therapeutic Value of Story Telling
FRANCES E. FOOTE
The Story telling Movement is growing with such gigantic strides that a magazine which will keep the Missionaries in this movement in touch with one another seems most desirable, if not absolutely necessary.
Many writers have voiced many opinions as to the benefits to be derived from the exercise of the Art of Story telling, but there is one which I have never seen in black and white, about which I feel impelled to write. It is the Psycho-Therapeutic value of Story telling.
Pain is a real thing, and will hold us in his clutches and claim all our attention if allowed to do so.
Sorrow is absorbing, and will bow our heads and break our spirits if unhindered.
Upon what, then, may we concentrate our attention, that pain may grow weary of pressing his claim?
With what may we so absorb our minds that sorrow will fade away?
One of the fundamental principles of Story telling is that the oral interpreter of Literature, must so vividly see the pictures described in the story, that he will cause his hearers to feel that they, too, see.
He must feel the impulses and emotions of the characters in the story so truly that the hearts of his hearers will thrill with the same feeling.
Since this is true, that the mind must be absorbed in the distant scenes of Story Land, pain in due course of time must grow tired of urging his claim and will ultimately depart.
The emotions dominant in stories which we tell are altruistic for the most part. We prefer to dwell upon themes in which evil is overcome by good; those in which sorrow flees away and joy comes with the morning.
Isn’t it true that the person who, day after day, creates these altruistic emotions in the hearts of his hearers will find his sorrow, deep-seated though it may be, growing dimmer day by day as he brightens the lives of his hearers?
There are many cases which I could give you to prove my point. One, of a little child with spinal trouble, who was treated by a great surgeon. He would call upon her two or three days out of the week and each time tell her a story. He required her, meanwhile, to make up similar31 stories. For instance, he would tell her the story of “Little Green Cap.” Then he would say, “Now, by Tuesday I want you to have a story ready for me. It must be about a poor little girl, a princess and a magic ring.” So absorbed did the child become in such work that the pain in the poor little back grew less and less insistent until she ceased to be an invalid and was able to attend school. She was one of the happiest children I ever knew. She said she didn’t mind the pain any more, she had such lovely things to think about.
Another was the case of a young woman upon whom sorrow laid a heavy hand. Prostrated by grief, she lay for several days in a darkened room. Then rousing herself she went to a hospital and secured permission from the superintendent to visit daily the friendless patients who seemed lonely. For months she reported daily to the superintendent, was given directions as to which patients to visit, and for three hours she would go from one to the other telling humorous stories. The morning hours she spent hunting for artistic, mirth-provoking stories and her afternoons in bringing smiles to sad faces. The result was inevitable. People everywhere welcomed her as a ray of sunshine.
One more case—that of a young woman who, while making a brave struggle to recover from one serious operation, suddenly found herself facing another even more serious. With nerves racked by persistent pain, courage well nigh gone, pursued by that dread foe insomnia, she turned to her one accomplishment, Story telling. Though able to sit up but a few hours at a time, she held large audiences in many cities two or three times a week, until she once more went under the knife. Then within two months she was on the platform again, bringing herself back to health by compelling her mind to dwell in Storyland. I knew all the particulars of this case, the physical torture she endured for two years, the struggle she made to live, and knowing what I do, forces me to believe that if Story telling did not save her life, it certainly saved her reason.
It is a law of life that the only thing which we may always keep, is the thing we give. If then, the prime function of Story telling is the giving of Joy, then Joy is the thing which the Story teller may have.
To those who “travail and are heavy laden” I commend the Art of Story telling.
Story Telling for Mothers
Interesting accounts were recently published in the Herald, Sun and other New York papers of Miss Georgene Faulkner’s story telling for mothers and children at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York and St. Mary’s Parish House, Brooklyn.
The story telling at the Waldorf-Astoria was given under the auspices of Mrs. William Rogers Chapman, President of the Rubenstein Musical Club, to an audience of fourteen hundred, of which about seven hundred were children.
Miss Faulkner, in Mother Goose attire, told the children Mother Goose stories, assisted by singers who presented ballads to accompany the stories. Much to the amusement of the children, Miss Faulkner would sometimes change the text of the Mother Goose rhymes, and the children were not backward about crying out corrections of these errors. Miss Faulkner would say:
“Jack and Jill went up the hill,
Like a dutiful son and daughter;
Now Jack is sick, and Jill is ill,
They did not boil the water.”
This would be greeted by a chorus of, “No, No, that isn’t the way it goes!” and other exclamations.
Later, Miss Faulkner, in German costume, told the fairy story of “Hansel and Gretel.”
The “Gingerbread Man,” otherwise known as “Johnny Cake” and “The Wee Bunnock,” gave more pleasure to the children than any other story, perhaps because it was accompanied by Gingerbread Men in neat boxes, which were given to the children as souvenirs of the occasion.
Through the courtesy of Mrs. Chapman and with the assistance of Mrs. Arthur Elliot Fish, one hundred crippled children, from the Industrial School for Crippled Children, participated in the delights of the “Mother Goose” matinee.
The story telling at St. Mary’s Parish House, was arranged primarily for mothers, under the auspices of Miss Mabel McKinney, Superintendent of the Kindergartens in the Borough of Brooklyn.
“What kind of a story,” said Miss Faulkner, “should the mother tell to her children? Any good interesting story will lend itself to the spoken narrative. Many mothers are so careless about what their children read33 —thinking that almost any book which they get from the library will answer the need. This is a great mistake. If the mother will only take care to direct the young mind into the right channels at the impressionable period she would lay a firm foundation on which to build the future life of the child. Not only are many books from Public Libraries pernicious, but from the Sunday-School Libraries as well. Many mothers make a practice of filling the minds of their little children with a hodge-podge of information, superstition, fear and other ideas which have had a bad effect upon the children’s mind. They think it makes little difference what they put into the child’s thought so long as it is a story. In reality it makes all the difference in the world.
“With the great storehouse of classical and folk-lore stories within easy reach; stories of brave deeds well done; of self-sacrifice; of love and duty and other high ideals, the mind of the child is easily guided into channels of right thinking, and if mothers only realized it more fully, it is in their power through the medium of these stories to fill the little mind with ideals, which will have a most important bearing through life in the development of character. Through the simple art of story telling the mother possesses the key to the hidden nature of the child if she could only be made to appreciate and understand the value of the story influence.”
The Story Tellers’ League at the Alabama Girls’ Technical Institute, Montevallo, is divided into chapters: The Poe Chapter; the Uncle Remus Chapter, and the Wyche Chapter. The Poe Chapter deals with the Edgar Allen Poe stories, Kipling, Hawthorne, and Irving, while the Uncle Remus Chapter deals with the Arabian Nights, Robin Hood, Uncle Remus, Folk and Fairy Tales. The Wyche Chapter deals with the Stories of King Arthur; the Opera stories—Magic Flute, Hansel and Gretel; the Beowulf Story, and Stories of Knighthood by J. H. Cox. The Chapters meet once a week separately, throughout the school year, and occasionally they have a joint meeting. The programme of the League as well as other societies in the school are published by the Institute, and may be had for the asking. The Story Tellers’ League, with its three chapters, has a combined membership of one hundred and twenty-five, making it one of the strongest organizations in the school. One Chapter of the League devotes time to the playing of folk games at the recreation hour, in the afternoon, on the lawn.
THE BEOWULF CLUB OF WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY
By John Harrington Cox
The above-named organization is the story telling club of the University. Its formation grew out of the enthusiasm of four young women who were studying the great Anglo-Saxon epic, of course, in the original. Their eagerness to master the famous tale, to be able to retell it with at least somewhat of its original vigor, picturesqueness, and fascination, was worthy of a permanent record. Their zeal was to make the story something more than a mere name. They thought that this priceless bit of literary heritage should be gotten off the printed page and down into the hearts of people far and wide throughout our State.
As the idea developed its possibilities began to be more fully realized. Here was an opportunity of enlisting the sympathies of some of the brightest young men and young women of the University, in the great stories of the world; stories of all ages and all countries; prose and verse, ranging from the fairy tale to the Iliad. And, moreover, it was thought that the interest would not be a passing one, but permanent. The necessity of mastering the outlines of a story, the practice in recreating it by memory and imagination, the vivifying of it through the emotions and the personality of the teller, was believed to furnish an exercise in many ways more pleasurable and profitable than those obtained in the usual recitation.
The result more than fulfilled all expectations. The club was formed on the Twenty-ninth of February, Nineteen hundred and eight. Since that time it has not missed a single meeting. The membership averages about twelve from year to year. Most of these on leaving the University become teachers and carry the work into their schools, teachers’ institutes, and public entertainments. Several times the club has been invited to give a public performance. Invitations to its meetings are eagerly welcomed and the young people who tell the stories never lack for an appreciative audience.
Detroit, Michigan, has recently organized a Story Tellers’ League. Miss Mary Conover is President, and Miss Alice M. Alexander, Secretary. The first program is devoted to Irish stories; the second evening Folk stories. Hero tales for another meeting, with Bible and Animal stories to make up the programs for two meetings. The League meets at the College Club rooms, and has a membership of thirty.
HOW TO ORGANIZE A STORY TELLERS’ LEAGUE
“I have just read an article in the March number of The World’s Work, on the Story Tellers’ League movement, have heard of the Story Tellers’ League, or read a chapter in Mr. Wyche’s book, ‘Some Good Stories and How to Tell Them,’ on the Story Tellers’ League, and should like to organize such a league in my community. How shall I go about it?”
This is a question that comes almost every day to some officer of the Story Tellers’ League.
The method of procedure in organizing a Story Tellers’ League is a very simple one. The first step is to call a meeting of as many prospective members as can be gotten together. A chairman and secretary pro tem should then be elected and the meeting called to order. The organizer should then state the purpose of the meeting, ask for the enrollment of the names and addresses of those who wish to join and have these recorded by the secretary.
The next step is the nomination and election of permanent officers, usually a President, First Vice-President, Second Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer. Upon the election of these officers, the chairman and secretary pro tem resign in favor of the elected officers, and the League is then duly organized for business.
The adoption of the Constitution and By-Laws is next in order. The Constitution deals with the name, object, membership, officers, etc., of the League; while the By-Laws provide for the dates of meetings, dues, time and mode of the election of officers, and such other rules and regulations for the conduct of the League as may be deemed desirable. An Executive Committee may then be appointed to look after the general business of the League, such as the arrangement of programmes at the meetings; the planning of entertainments and special exercises, and various other matters of this nature. The officers of the League are usually ex officio members of the Executive Committee.
The League when organized should be reported to the President of the National Story Tellers’ League, with the name and address of its President and Secretary, so that it may be enrolled with similar Leagues throughout the United States.
Some leagues issue Year-books which may be had upon application to the Secretary. The National League will shortly issue a year-book giving general information in regard to the story telling movement, with list of the League’s suggestive programmes.
WHAT THE LEAGUES ARE DOING
The National Playground and Recreation Association of America will hold its next annual meeting at Richmond, Virginia, May 6th to 10th.
Miss Anna Tyler of the New York Public Library, recently spoke to the Public School Kindergarten Association on the subject of Story Telling and Children’s Books. The New York Library has thirty-eight branches, and Miss Tyler has charge of the story-telling work in these branches.
Miss Tyler explained how illuminating it was to watch the little ones’ use of books, and how the child was introduced to the right book by seeing pictures in the book and hearing a story told from the book.
The National Story Tellers’ League will hold a conference with members and representatives of all local Leagues this Summer, at the following places: July 19th, at Knoxville, Tenn., in connection with the Summer School of the South. At Chautauqua, N. Y., August 16th, in connection with the Chautauqua Institute. At Parkersburg, West Virginia, June 21st, in connection with the State Teachers’ Association of West Virginia.
The Story Tellers’ League of Philadelphia, a branch of the National League, has for its President, Mr. F. A. Child, Professor of Oral Literature in the University of Pennsylvania. The meeting of March 12th was called “Indian Day.” Primitive tales of Alaskan Indian life, inspired by legends on the Totem Pole, gives one an idea of the subject of the day. Mr. L. V. Shortridge, University of Pennsylvania, dressed in native costume told the stories. He showed the Alaskan territory, with its totem poles, putting his audience in touch with actual conditions from which these folk tales grew. At this meeting teachers, story tellers and leaders of groups of children were invited to bring children with them. Mr. Robert Staton furnished Indian Song.
Philadelphia has one of the largest and most successful Leagues. Its membership numbers something like one hundred people, and it has created a great deal of interest in the city among various classes of teachers and educators as well as lovers of literature.
In entering the arena of Journalism The Storytellers’ Magazine invites the support of all who love literature and youth. There are many magazines today covering almost every field of activity, but not one devoted to the art of story telling.
While it is true that most of the magazines publish stories, few of them deal with the educational aspect of these stories—their most important relation.
Story telling in the schools; at the home; on the playground; in the Sunday schools; the children’s library rooms of the Public Library, and among social organizations has become so popular and aroused such widespread interest throughout the land that some medium of communication which will represent and unify these interests—has become almost a necessity.
The Storytellers’ Magazine is founded upon a definite purpose. It enters the field in the hope that it will merit the support of a large number of general readers as well as teachers, parents and all who are interested in the uplifting of the rising generation. It goes forth as a missionary to acquaint its audience as far as it can with the vital principles that underlie the whole movement of story telling. It, therefore, invites the co-operation of all who believe in the story telling idea, in the hope that great good may come through such a union of interests.
The Editor of the Magazine has devoted many years to the work of story telling, and he earnestly hopes that through the columns of the Magazine greater opportunity may be afforded for direction and organization, and thus make more permanent the whole story telling movement.
There is a growing belief that in arranging the curriculum of studies for the young the rights and interests of the child38 have received but scant consideration. Mere drudgery has been translated to mean development while hard labor with little thought to the tendencies and attributes of the individual child has been accepted as education.
The Storytellers’ Magazine offers itself as a champion of the rights of the child in education, and it hopes with the co-operation of those who know and believe in the efficacy of the story as a pleasing and effective instrument of education to battle bravely for the rights and liberties of the child, who has been aptly termed “the last serf of civilization.”
Elsewhere in this issue will be found an “Announcement” setting forth in some detail the aims and ideals of the Storytellers’ Magazine.
The chief aim of this magazine is to serve the great cause of story telling in a manner that will best satisfy the needs of the greatest number of those interested in the movement.
How shall this be accomplished? The answer to this question is Co-operation.
The first issue of a magazine is something of an experiment. Its make-up is open to criticism and discussion. Its friends can do it no greater service than to disclose its shortcomings and point out the road to improvement.
Criticism is usually divided into two schools, one constructive, the other destructive; or better, let us say into friendly or unfriendly criticism.
While we shall endeavor to turn all unfriendly comment into constructive channels, we shall hope far more to profit by the sympathetic assistance and helpful advice of friends and well-wishers.
The latch string is out to all, but a double welcome is assured to those who “Lend a Hand.”
THE MOTHER—THE CHILD—THE STORY
Extract from a Report of Committee on Story Telling to the Montessori Class, University of Virginia Summer School
Since all races in all epochs have used oral stories both as a means of education and entertainment, and since much of the culture and civilization that our ancestors have bequeathed to us has come down to us in the form of story literature, and since the children of all races and in all times have said, “Tell me a story,” we believe it is fundamental in the child’s life and education.
We believe that the mother, who instinctively hums lullabys and sings Mother Goose Rhymes to the child is cultivating the child’s sense of rhythm, touching its feelings, and speaking to it through vocal language—voice modulation—which precedes verbal language; that the mother who sings
“Hush you bybaby in the tree tops,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,” etc.,
and other Mother Goose jingles, has already begun her story telling.
That the story, the most universally used medium for conveying truth and especially the told story that comes through the sensuous beauty of speech, should be continued throughout the child’s education.
We believe that when a child attributes life to its doll, makes up strange and unreal stories, that it does so in obedience to a deep psychic necessity,—that of developing the imagination, and that as a child climbs a tree or ladder and in doing so develops his body and bodily senses, so he must have for the development of his imagination the clear, bold, mental picture whether it be in fairy and folk stories or the high daring of some noble hero in epic literature or history.
We believe that the development of the imagination should go hand in hand with the sense training, modified by local, ethnic, and individual needs, and that children as well as adults must have heroes to admire and worship and ideals to inspire; that the idea of God can be represented only through the imagination and that to deny the child stories of gods and supernatural beings would be to bring him up without religious training. That the story that delights the child has psycho-therapeutic value and whether it be fact or fiction it is true in a higher sense, ministering to the spiritual needs of the child, and therefore valuable in education.
We believe that it is the most inalienable right of all children to hear stories told from the great story books of the world; that wise selections of stories should be made not only from the literature and history of Europe and America, but from Japan, China, Russia, and India, so that we may develop in the young people a feeling of a world brotherhood.
THE GREAT EPICS
The following suggestive outline of a “STORY HOUR CYCLE,” arranged by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, is re-published as an excellent example of systematic classification.
Such study applied to any of the great epics will not only discover to the story teller a great treasure house of stories, but will be helpful in holding them together in sequential relation.
STORIES FROM THE ILIAD AND THE ODYSSEY
THE SIEGE OF TROY
Story I. The Apple of Discord
1. The Founding of Troy
2. Story of Paris and Œnone
3. Marriage of Peleus and Thetis
4. The Apple of Discord
5. The Judgment of Paris
Story II. The League Against Troy
1. The Athletic Games in Troy
2. Discovery of the Parentage of Paris
3. Embassy to Greece
4. Story of Helen and the Pledge of the Greek Princes
5. Abduction of Helen
6. League against Troy
Story III. The Beginning of the Trojan War
1. The Stratagem of Ulysses
2. The Quest for Achilles
3. The Assembling of the Greeks
4. The Omen of the Snake and the Birds
5. The Sacrifice of Iphigenia
6. The Heroism of Protesilaus
7. Beginning of the War
Story IV. The Quarrel of the Chiefs
1. The Wrath of Apollo
2. How Agamemnon Wronged Achilles
3. The Revenge of Achilles
4. The Dream of Agamemnon
5. Assembly of the Greeks
6. The Counsel of Ulysses
7. Preparation for the Battle
Story V. The Duel of Paris and Menelaus
1. The Challenge of Paris
2. The Combat
3. The Council of the Gods
4. The Broken Covenant
Story VI. The Combat of Hector and Ajax
1. The Message of Hector
2. The Parting of Hector and Andromache
3. The Challenge
4. The Casting of the Lots
5. The Combat
6. The Truce
Story VII. The Battle of the Plain
1. The Command of Zeus to the Gods
2. The Battle
3. The Speech of Hector
4. The Council of the Greeks
5. The Embassy to Achilles
6. The Answer of Achilles
Story VIII. The Deeds and Death of Patroclus
1. The Battle at the Ships
2. The Request of Patroclus
3. The Myrmidons March forth to Battle
4. The Death of Patroclus
5. The Grief of Achilles
6. How Achilles ended the Battle
Story IX. The Exploits of Achilles
1. The Making of the Armor for Achilles
2. The End of the Strife with Agamemnon
3. The Battle at the River
4. The Battle of the Gods
5. Achilles’ Pursuit of the False Agener
Story X. The Slaying of Hector
1. The Pursuit of Hector by Achilles
2. The Combat
3. Death of Hector
4. Grief of Andromache
5. The Funeral of Patroclus
6. The Funeral Games of the Greeks
7. The Ransoming of Hector41
Story XI. The Fall of Troy
1. The Fate of Achilles
2. The Death of Paris
3. Capture of the Palladium
4. Stratagem of Ulysses
5. The Fate of Laocoön
6. Capture of Troy
THE ADVENTURES OF ULYSSES
Story XII. Adventures of Ulysses with the Lotus-eaters and the Cyclops
1. Adventure with the Ciconians
2. The Lotus-eaters
3. The Land of the Cyclops
4. In the Cave of the Cyclops
5. The Blinding of Polyphemus
6. Escape of Ulysses and his Companions
Story XIII. The Kingdom of the Winds and the House of Circe
1. The Gift of Æolus
2. The Loosing of the Winds
3. Return to the Isle of Æolus
4. Adventure with the Læstrygones
5. The Wiles of Circe
Story XIV. The Visit to the “Land of the Shades”
1. The Offering for the Dead
2. The Warning of Tiresias the Seer
3. How Ulysses Conversed with his Mother and with Achilles and other Heroes
4. The Judging of the Dead
5. Return to Circe’s Isle.
Story XV. The Song of the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis and the Oxen of the Sun
1. Song of the Sirens
2. Escape from Scylla and Charybdis
3. Arrival at the Island of the Sun
4. The Slaying of the Sacred Kine
5. The Wrath of Hyperion
6. The Shipwreck
Story XVI. The Island of Calypso and the Shipwreck on the Coast of Phæacia
1. The Years on Calypso’s Isle
2. Minerva seeks aid for Ulysses from Jupiter
3. Mercury is sent with a Message to Calypso
4. Making of the Raft
5. Departure of Ulysses
6. The Tempest
7. Ulysses Cast on the Coast of Phæacia
Story XVII. The Princess Nausicaa
1. The Request of Nausicaa
2. The Games of the Maidens
3. Discovery of Ulysses
4. How Ulysses was Received in the Palace of Alcinous
5. The Festival
6. Return to Ithaca
7. Ulysses left asleep in his Native Shore
8. The Ship of the Phæacians changed to a Rock
Story XVIII. The Adventures of Telemachus
1. The Suitors of Penelope
2. Penelope’s Web
3. Visit of Minerva to Telemachus
4. Assembly of the Men of Ithaca
5. Departure of Telemachus in quest of Ulysses
6. Journey to Pylos and Sparta
7. Telemachus warned by Minerva to return to Ithaca
8. Conspiracy of the Suitors
9. Escape of Telemachus
Story XIX. The Battle of the Beggars
1. Awaking of Ulysses
2. Transformation into an Old Man
3. Meeting with Eumæus
4. Arrival of Telemachus
5. Eumæus conducts Ulysses to his Palace
6. The Dog Argus
7. The Beggars’ Quarrel
8. The End of the Feast
Story XX. The Triumph of Ulysses
1. Removal of the Weapons from the Hall
2. Interview with Penelope
3. The Scar of the Boar’s Tooth
4. The Last Banquet of the Suitors
5. The Trial of the Bow
6. Death of the Suitors
7. Recognition of Ulysses by Penelope
SOME RECENT BOOKS
“Story Telling in School and Home.” A Study in Educational Æsthetics. By Emelyn Newcomb Partridge and George Everett Partridge, Ph.D. Publishers, Sturgis & Walton Co., New York. Price, $1.25 net.
This is the fifth book that has appeared on story telling in the past half a dozen years. The authors have presented the psychological foundation and the æsthetic value of story telling in a most elaborate and convincing way. It is the first book that has been written by a psychologist, on the subject of story telling, and Dr. Partridge’s handling of the delicate, subtle, psychic forces that enter into literature and story telling is masterful; while Mrs. Partridge, with her practical experience as a story teller, contributes as much to the art as applied and exemplified in actual work of facing an audience of young people.
The study of the child on one hand and its fundamental needs, and the survey and analysis of sources from which we can draw material,—myth, fable, folklore, epic, and history on the other, is of immense value to all story tellers and all who teach young people even up to college entrance.
Part II of the book contains a dozen retold stories that have been put into shape by the oral telling, and are valuable both because of the form and their intrinsic worth. The book contains a number of illustrations, which add to its attractiveness, along with a bibliography and suggestions for reading. We cannot praise the book too highly. It is an inspiring book to read and a permanent contribution to the literature of story telling.
Some Great Stories and How to Tell Them. By Richard Thomas Wyche. Price $1.00. Newson & Company, New York.
“Story tellers were the first teachers,” says Mr. Wyche in his chapter on “The Origin of Story Telling.”
In an interesting way he throws light on what stories shall be told, the use of the story in the classroom and in formal work, the story in the Sunday-school, the library, the playground, and the social circle.
The author also discusses the fundamental needs of the child, the psychological principles involved, and the spiritual equipment needed in story telling.
For purposes of illustration the author uses “The Story of Beowulf,” “The Coming of Arthur,” and other “Great Stories.”
Games for the Playground, Home, School, and Gymnasium. By Jessie H. Bancroft. Price, $1.50 net. The Macmillan Company, New York.
Miss Bancroft’s book of games is a volume of over four hundred and sixty pages, with twenty-three illustrations. It contains, we should say, over two thousand games classified for Elementary schools from the first to the eighth year, for High schools, for playgrounds, for gymnasiums, for boys’ and girls’ summer camps, for house parties and country clubs, for children’s parties, and for the seashore. An excellent system of classification makes it possible to classify the games in many different ways, and thus easily find those suited to one’s needs.
As story telling and playing games are blood relations on the playground, this book is to be cordially commended as an interesting and valuable contribution to the Cause.
The Normal Child and Primary Education. By Arnold L. Gesell, Ph.D., and Beatrice Chandler Gesell, Ed.B. Price, $1.25. Ginn & Company, New York.
This work, the authors tell us, is chiefly the result of contact with eager minds of young women who were preparing to teach young children.
It will interest story tellers mainly because of its extensive analysis and discussion of the child in the educational relation.
“To achieve results in literature,” it is stated, “the children must have something more than a good story: they must have a good story teller—one with quick sympathies and an intuitive knowledge of her group; one who loves the old stories, who feels the pulse of humanity throbbing through them all; whose voice is clear, flexible, interpretative; whose language is simple, direct, pictorial; who enters into a dramatic situation; who has a keen sense of humor, who is willing to sow the seed and let it develop in its own good time.” “The Normal Child” is a most helpful, illuminating, and instructive book.
The Children’s Reading. By Frances Jenkins Olcott. Price, $1.25 net. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.
Miss Olcott has given us a valuable book on children’s readings. She speaks as an authority from her many years’ experience as a librarian; therein is the chief value of her book. She knows the names and authors of many of the best books for young people, and gives many valuable lists of books. The very fact that she has had to deal with so many books from without as a librarian, has probably prevented her knowing so well the inside of the book,—seeing and living with its imagery, communing with its spirit and breathing its atmosphere until it gives up its deepest meaning. Any treatment of a story that helps one to visualize, to re-create, to breathe its atmosphere and live its spirit, ought to be valuable; the letter killeth, the spirit giveth life. However, her quotations from authors who have done that are many and valuable. The one on Homer’s Iliad, page 103, is especially good; but she barely mentions the Odyssey, the more interesting story to the young people. The book is conservative rather than original and creative.
Aldine First Language Book. For Grades Three and Four. By Catherine T. Bryce and Frank E. Spaulding. Price 48 cents.
A Manual for Teachers. To accompany Aldine First Language Book. Price 60 cents. Newson & Company, New York.
These two books, the Manual and the Pupil’s book accompanying it, the authors tell us have grown out of many years’ experiment in teaching “language” so called.
The work which the child is called upon to accomplish is, throughout the entire book, based on fables, myths, legends, stories of all kind, rhymes and poems, the delight of childhood, all of which are fully within the range of the child’s understanding and appreciation. The varieties of ways in which these materials are presented arouses the keen interest of the children, stimulates their thought, and quickens their whole mental life. They discuss freely, they dramatize, they reproduce orally and in writing, the work over into new forms, they live and love the contents of stories and poems. No one can read this pupil’s book without becoming impressed with the tremendous value of story telling as a direct instrument of education. The introduction of a comprehensive “Teacher’s Manual” into the class-room, explaining the work to the teacher step by step, seems to be a new and most serviceable idea.
Stories of Long Ago in the Philippines. By Dudley Odell McGovney, A.M. Price forty cents. World Book Company, Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York.
The Story Readers’ Primer. By May Langdon White. Price thirty-six cents. World Book Company, Yonkers-on-Hudson, New York.
These little stories of ancient days in the Philippines contain such interesting selections as “The Sea and the Sky,” “The Bird and the Bamboo,” “The Good and the Evil Spirits,” “Naming the Islands,” and “Manila Long Ago.” These stories have a certain historic value and will be read with interest by children in the United States.
The Story Readers’ Primer tells of the every day experiences of two happy, healthy children, and makes effective use of the classic stories and poems.
In this list of books, Column I gives the price upon receipt of which the book named will be sent post-paid. Column II gives the price upon receipt of which the book named will be sent post-paid together with The Storytellers’ Magazine for one year. Remittances may safely be made by Money or Express Order or by draft on New York. All communications should be sent to The Storytellers’ Magazine, 27 West 23d Street, New York, giving the name of the book wanted; the date at which the subscription to The Storytellers’ Magazine should begin, and the name and full post-office address of the sender.