Thursday, November 5, 2020

Week 11 Story: A Rocky Rescue

Brother and sister Mat and Sharn walked through the forest. They were going to their secret hideaway, a beautiful spring deep in the trees. There was a clearing with a big, marvelous patch of grass, gorgeous flowers, a crystal clear pond for swimming, and a large flat rock for relaxing. 

“Come on, Mat. We’re almost there!” said Sharn to her brother.

“We’ve got plenty of time, Sharn. Mom and dad said we don’t have to be back until dinner.” replied Mat.

Mat and Sharn soon arrived at their quaint forest oasis. They rolled around in the grass, smelled the beautiful flowers, and enjoyed their time together by playing games.

“Catch me if you caaaan!” giggled Sharn. Sharn ran through the grass and flowers, desperate to put distance between her and Mat.

“I’m on your tail, you better run fast,” shouted Mat, sprinting to catch Sharn and tag her. Mat eventually caught up with Sharn, tackling her to the ground as they both started laughing. 

“It’s sooooo hot out here,” said Sharn. “Did you bring any water?”

“No,” said Mat. “But we do have our swimsuits, and the pond is nice and refreshing.”

Mat and Sharn changed into their swimsuits and jumped into the pond. They splashed, swam, and dove through the transparent water. The cool liquid felt revitalizing in the hot summer heat. An hour later, they got out of the pond to dry themselves off.

“Oh dang it,” said Mat. “We forgot our towels. How are we supposed to get dry?”

Sharn looked around and saw the big rock. “We could lie on the rock to dry off,” she said. “It’s perfectly positioned under the sun, and it’s big enough for both of us.”

Mat and Sharn laid down on the rock, basking in the sun’s rays. Soon after, they both dozed off in the comfort of the sun. After catching a long nap, Mat opened and rubbed his eyes to gain his surroundings. Strangely, he noticed he could see the tops of the trees and a few clouds in his sight. 

“Uh, Sharn…” he said hesitantly.

Sharn also sat up, and they both realized their dilemma. The rock grew to a great height, stranding them on top. 

“What do we do?!” said Sharn. “We might be able to get down, but I don’t see any path for climbing. We need mom and dad!”

Mat and Sharn yelled for their parents, but their efforts were useless. They were too far away. While they couldn’t get their parents, they did attract a few animals.

Bobby Bear emerged from the trees. “Don’t worry kids!” he yelled. “I’ll come get you.” Bobby began climbing the rock, gripping his claws into the slab. He managed to get halfway up before his claws broke, and he slid down to the ground.

Bobby’s ruckus attracted Sam the Squirrel. “I can try and climb it,” she said. Sam began scampering up the rocks at a quick pace. It looked as though she would make it, but she became very tired, unable to lift another finger.

“I can give it a shot,” said a mysterious voice from beyond. Bobby and Sam looked around frantically trying to find the source of the voice, before looking down to see a small snail. Both animals burst into laughter.

“Yeah right,” said Bobby and Sam. “Who the heck are you? Like you can do anything.”

“I’m Spencer. I can do it. Just watch me,” said the snail. Spencer then approached the rock and began crawling up the tower. Bobby and Sam watched in awe as Spencer scaled the tower, inch by inch, and eventually reached the top where Mat and Sharn waited. Spencer’s shell then grew to the size of a carriage and had Mat and Sharn hop inside. He then made his way down the tower before delivering Mat and Sharn to the safe ground.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Spencer!” said Mat and Sharn. “We’re so thankful for you.” Mat and Sharn thanked all the animals for their efforts then ran back home.

“And we’re sorry for not believing in you,” said Bobby and Sam. “I hope you can forgive us.”

Bobby, Sam, and Spencer went back into the woods, bonded by the rescue attempt, and began a new friendship. Mat and Sharn returned to their parents, safe and sound. The large monolith in the forest still stands, now known to all of the animals as “Spencer’s Stem”, in honor of the snail’s brave and heroic actions.

“Brown Snail in Rule of Thirds Photography” via Unsplash

Story Source: American Indian Fairy Tales by W.T. Larned, with illustrations by John Rae (1921)

Author’s Note

I really liked this story because the underdog prevails when a bunch of powerhouses fail. In the source, animals like a coyote, a bear, and a fox all try to climb the rock, but a measuring worm ends up prevailing. I decided to also use a bear in my story because a bear is very ferocious and looks like it can do anything. I brought in a squirrel because they’re known for being good climbers, even though I have the squirrel fail. I substituted the measuring worm with a snail because they’re both known for moving slowly, so I thought it would be a good parallel. I gave the animals names to make everything easier to follow. In the source story, the “Big Rock” that the measuring worm climbs is renamed by the Indians to honor him, so I decided to also rename the rock in my story to honor the snail who helps the children.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Week 11 Reading Notes: American Indian Fairy Tales Part A

 The Little Boy and Girl in the Clouds (Part 1/Part 2)

  • Iagoo (storyteller) seated in a corner at night, staring into a fire

  • He was thinking about the strange/wonderful things he had seen

  • Burning logs/coals would take curious shapes and make weird pictures only he could understand

  • The children never interrupted him, waited for him to speak/tell a story

  • This one night, Iagoo stayed still and kept staring into the fire; children feared he had forgotten them/wouldn’t tell a bedtime story

  • One girl gets his attention, asks if the mountains were always there

  • Iagoo looks into fire, concludes that the mountains WERE always there

  • Iagoo begins telling story of magical Big Rock

  • Back in the day where animals/men were on friendly terms, a little boy and girl lived in a valley

  • The valley was beautiful place to live- (lovely fields, flowers, berries, and birds)

  • Boy/Girl would wander making friends with the animals- mutual love btw kids/animals

  • River flowed through the valley, for bathing and drinking

  • Boy/Girl would play in shallow pool on hot days, Beaver taught them how to swim

  • One day after swimming, they decide to lie on a big, flat, mossy rock to dry off

  • Fall asleep on the rock, and the rock rises/grows; becomes taller than the trees

  • Parents look for their kids, asking animals where their kids are- animals don’t know

  • Coyote decides to help them, sniffing around to get their scent and finds them

  • Coyote calls all animals together to figure out how to get them down

  • They eventually decide to try jumping up there

  • Many animals try to jump, fall miserably. Measuring Worm offers to try, all the animals laugh

  • Measuring Worm starts slithering/climbing up the rocks; takes him a month to get to the top

  • Worm guides Boy/Girl safely down the rocks

  • Lions/Bears no longer live in valley; Indians name Big Rock after Worm (Tu-tok-a-nu-la)

How the Summer Came (Part 1/Part 2/Part 3)

  • Morning Glory hated winter, longed for spring to come

  • Asks old man (Iagoo) if spring/summer will ever come- wouldn’t the lack of spring/summer be dreadful?

  • Old man tells him when he hears wild goose and robin flying North, summer will be soon

  • Morning Glory complains about the wind and wonders if there’s ever been such a long winter

  • Iagoo explains there was a time there was no summer on Earth (covered in snow and cold), ruled by Ka-bib-on-okka (the North Wind)

  • O-jeeg, the Fisher, eventually gave his life so summer could come- North Wind now rules the Land of Ice

  • Iagoo tells Morning Glory/Eagle Feather story of how summer came

  • O-jeeg (a hunter) knew the woods very well, was able to follow animals- good at archery, didn’t let a storm/snow turn him back from a journey, did everything well)

  • Some believed O-jeeg was magical; very friendly with animals, always willing to help him at a moment’s notice

  • O-jeeg provided for his family (wife/son) through hunting- food, clothing from skins, inspiration for son. Winter was always a struggle (snow never melted)

  • Son goes out to hunt, squirrel asks Son if he can make Summer come from the sky

  • Son says he’ll get O-jeeg to do it; O-jeeg says he’ll try

  • O-jeeg meets w/ animals to get advice; Lynx tells him there’s a high mountain that reaches the clouds, might be able to break the sky/release the sun by climbing it

  • Lynx tells O-jeeg there’s a giant that could tell them where/how to climb it

  • O-jeeg/animals set out on journey, find/meet the giant at a lodge, stay the night

  • Giant tells O-jeeg to travel straight to the North Star

  • They will be able to climb the mountain by following North Star for 20 days, but they will not be able to get down

  • O-jeeg/animals climb the mountain, call out to Great Spirit for success

  • Each of the animals try to jump up and claim the sun

  • Otter jumps, hits his head on the sky, slides down the mountain

  • Beaver/Badger/Lynx try, but hit their heads on the sky

  • Wolverine tries, hits his head on sky and dents the sky; eventually breaks it

  • Sun comes out; snow disappears, grass grows, flowers bloom, birds come out, fruit is grown, streams flow through meadows, etc.,

  • Spring/Summer/Autumn escape into the world below

  • Wolverine jumps down the hole back to Earth; O-jeeg was occupied releasing birds into the Earth, hole closes and O-jeeg gets trapped

  • Sky-Dwellers chase O-jeeg; O-jeeg climbs tree, Sky-Dwellers leave him alone

  • O-jeeg comes down and fails to find a hole back to Earth; forced to live up in the sky

  • O-jeeg (Fisher) is now visible in the sky with an arrow through his tail; Indians call them Fisher Stars, white men call them the Plough constellation

Boy and Girl on Top of the Rock, via the Untextbook

Story Source: American Indian Fairy Tales by W.T. Larned, with illustrations by John Rae (1921)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Week 10 Reading Notes: British North America Part B

  • Turtle lived alone in a lake

  • Turtle would get hit by something several times, but didn’t know what it was (couldn’t see it)

  • Turtle goes to the woods to get help; Deer agrees to help

  • Turtle asks to see Deer’s fighting ability; Deer fights a tree and breaks his antlers

  • Turtle says Deer won’t last long enough; Bear offers to help

  • Bear fights a tree, looks clumsy jumping around while fighting

  • Turtle says Bear won’t last long enough; crowd of small turtles come out and offer to help

  • Crowd of turtles fight Turtle to prove abilities; Turtle approves of their fighting

  • Turtle leads small turtles to the lake; Turtle leaves them and goes home

  • Big stone falls on the small turtles, killing them

  • Turtle runs outside to see commotion, sees big Thunderbird

  • Muskrat explains that is the Thunderbird and he is very scary

  • Turtle now stays in the water during a thunderstorm

The Making of Lakes and Mountains

  • Group of bears steal a woman; made to obey them

  • Woman comes up with a plan to escape

  • Woman combs/gathers their hair in a pile; also gathered hair oil, sharpening stone, red Earth pigment

  • Bear/Woman gather wood, Bear walking slow because he has a lot on his back, Woman has small bundle in her arms

  • Woman runs back to the house ahead of Bear, grabs hair/oil/stone/pigment and runs away

  • Bears notice she’s gone and chase her; when bears get close, woman pours out some hair oil, and it turns into a lake

  • Runs some more, breaks off some sharpening stone, it turns into a mountain

  • Snowbirds surround her, pours red Earth pigment; snowbirds flock to it to paint their faces

  • Throws hair on ground, turns into a mass of fallen trees to impede the Bears

  • Bears get closer; woman shoves the comb into the ground, turns into a bunch of mountains

  • Bears cannot get over them, so they have to go around

  • Snowbirds surround her; does the same pigment trick

  • Makes another mountain with whetstone

  • Birds surround her again; combines hair/oil to create a lake with fallen trees in it

  • Woman gets to the seashore, asks a man in a canoe to let her go with him

  • She gets in; Bears catch up, jump in water and swim after her

  • Man puts a carved club in the water, killing all the Bears

Coyote and Fox

  • Coyote comes across an underground house

  • Rock Rabbit People live there- very small and short

  • Coyote wants to eat them; kills them, ties them up, and carries them off

  • Coyote finds a tree, makes a fire pit of rocks, puts in rabbits, covers it with leaves and dirt; takes a nap while they cook

  • Fox sees Coyote/fire pit, digs up the rabbits and eats half

  • Coyote awakens, tells Fox to leave him some

  • Coyote too sleepy/lazy to stop him, Fox eats all of them

  • Coyote wakes up and is mad at Fox, follows him to see Fox sleeping under a tree

  • Coyote uses magic to make tree fall on Fox, tree misses Fox though

  • Fox leaves and falls asleep in thick/tall rye grass

  • Coyote sets grass on fire, Fox wakes up and leaves before fire gets him

  • Fox goes to where a lot of rabbits are; Coyote sets another fire- rabbits run out everywhere

  • Fox leaves, Coyote goes for the rabbits

  • Coyote travels to a magpie area, catches many magpies, makes a robe of their skins

  • Coyote sees Fox wearing a beautiful robe of silver-fox skins and golden eagle feathers

  • Coyote offers to trade robes, Fox refuses; Coyote steals robe and runs away

  • Fox makes magic wind blow; Robe blows off of Coyote’s body and comes back to Fox

  • Coyote goes to find his old magpie robe, which is gross and broken

  • Fox wore his silver robe until he became an ordinary fox, robe turns into his beautiful silver fur

Silver Fox, via the Untextbook

Story Source: Myths and Legends of British North America by Katharine Berry Judson (1917)

Extra Credit Reading Notes, Week 10: British North America Part A

Creation of the World

  • Wyandots- people who lived beyond the sky

  • Shaman tells Indians to dig around a tree by chief’s lodge; break through the Sky Land floor

  • Tree and chief’s daughter fall through into a sheet of water

  • Swans see her falling, catch her on their back, go to Big Turtle to ask what to do with her

  • Animal Council gathers, suggest divers go down to get some Earth from its roots to create an island for the girl

  • They all go to where the tree fell, have to dive down into water to collect the Earth

  • Otter dives down, drowns. Muskrat tries, drowns. Beaver tries, drowns.

  • Old Toad offers to try, the animals laugh at her. Big Turtle tells her to go for it

  • Old Toad comes up with a few grains of Earth, spits them out and dies as well

  • Small Turtle rubs the grains on the edges of Big Turtle’s shell

  • Shell begins to grow into an island; becomes large enough for woman to live on

  • Island grows larger and larger until it becomes the Earth we know today

  • Earthquakes occur when Big Turtle moves his foot

Creation of Light

  • The whole world was dark, except inside the tepee of an old chief

  • Chief owns all light, fire, and water- didn’t share light

  • Animals go and try to steal the light

  • Everyone puts on masks and dancing aprons- goes to chief’s lodge for a dance

  • Each animal sang their own song, they all sang for Light in their own way

  • Chief constantly refused to give them light

  • Animals sang for light loudly and steadily; light begins to steal up into the sky

  • Chief notices, starts shouting “let there not be” to stop it (but he didn’t say “light” at the end so it didn’t work)

  • Animals keep dancing/singing, Chief shouts “Let there be light!” in a panic

  • Light shone throughout the sky; Men have had light ever since

Origin of Light and Fire

  • Raven/Seagull were friends who lived near one another

  • World was constantly dark; Seagull owned the daylight that stayed in a box

  • Seagull only let the light out for his own personal use

  • Raven thought that was selfish; planned to steal it/let it out

  • Puts thorn branches outside Seagull’s house; tells Seagull his canoe has been set adrift

  • Seagull runs out of his house barefoot; gets thorns in his feet

  • Raven offers to pull thorns out; says Seagull needs to let some daylight out of box so he can see

  • Raven pushes Seagull’s arm, breaking the box and letting the light out

  • Raven cleans himself, paints face black

  • After four days, Raven sees smoke on the south shore of the sea

  • Raven’s servants try to paddle in canoe to the smoke, but it was swamped

  • Borrows Seagull’s canoe; goes to house of the Fire People

  • Steals the baby in the home and runs away

  • Sturgeon, Whale, Seal and others go search for Raven and his boat

  • Raven returns to his home with the baby

  • Fire People try to give Raven presents in exchange for the baby

  • Raven refuses all gifts, but agrees to return the baby for some fire

  • Fire People give Raven fire, and teach him how to make fire

Story Source: Myths and Legends of British North America by Katharine Berry Judson (1917)

Picture of Old Toad, via the Untextbook

Week 11 Story: A Rocky Rescue

Brother and sister Mat and Sharn walked through the forest. They were going to their secret hideaway, a beautiful spring deep in the trees. ...