I’ve been meaning to post on this topic for a while.
I thought folks would like to know where I
find the stories I post about or use for storytelling.
The truth is that it often does take some
searching around, but an experienced tale hunter has his resources.
So, let’s get to it.
Book stores- I
wanted to start with book stores because they’re where I first bought some of
my earliest folk tale books. There is
one problem, though. The brick and
mortar book stores near me are almost a depleted resource. When I first started buying books of folk
tales, I could find all sorts of great books from different regions of the
world. It was especially easy to find
books from the Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library. However, over time and with the closing of
Borders, the choices have dwindled. Now
you’re most likely to just find the usual collected works of the Grimms or
Andersen. Sometimes you might be able to
find some newer releases like the most recent translation of The Tale of Tales or The Turnip Princess. It might be different in your neck of the
Public Library- I
will never say a bad word about the public library. It is one of the best resources to have
around. And every tale hunter knows that
the place you have to look is nonfiction call number 398.2. With a lot of larger public libraries looking
to develop balanced collections that serve their unique community, you can
often find some interesting stuff. There
is one thing that must be remembered about getting your tales from books in the
public library: you have a deadline. No
matter how many times you renew that book, it will eventually have to go
back. If you’re going to do something
like develop a storytelling performance around a story or write a blog post
about it, you’ll probably want to act fast.
Either that or make photocopies of it (the photocopier also conveniently
located in the library). If you’re the
type who lets stories percolate at the back of their mind until inspiration
strikes, you might want to use your first trip to the library as a starting
point. You can jot down the title and
editor (folk tale books usually have editors or collectors rather than authors)
and keep it in mind to get out of the library again or search for your own copy
to own. Where would you find your own
copy? Well, that brings us to . . .
the World Wide Web has connected us all and made it a lot easier to connect to
folk tales all over the world.
buying books, there’s always Amazon
and Barnes & Noble
But there are also sites for used books like
But then, there are also
Some of the
notable ones I’ve used are Sur La Lune Fairy Tales
, D.L. Ashliman’s Folktexts
Some can also be
found in the Sacred-Texts Archive
are all great resources but keep in mind that you may want to have a printer
That way you can take your story
with you if you don’t have a portable device handy and write notes in the
margins if you really want to.
Kindle Store- Speaking
of the internet . . . I don’t know how many people out there reading this have
e-book readers (which is a flawed name.
The device isn’t so much a book as a portable library). But searching the kindle store has regularly
turned up some good books of tales from new places. One nice bonus, is that some books can be
found in the kindle store for free because they’re public domain and they’ve
been digitized onto the internet already.
Keep in mind that the quality and usability of these older books may
vary. Also, some of them are very much a
product of their time. I specifically
recall reading a book of tales from Spain and Portugal that I had downloaded
and being rather surprised how many racial slurs were in it. Still, it’s a good way of finding folk tale
books that may be long out of print.
Other Storytellers- Yes,
there’s the obvious folk concept of hearing a story told by one teller and
liking it so much that you just have to tell it (with permission, of
course). But that’s not necessarily what
I’m talking about. You see, there has
been more than one occasion in which I’ve walked into a Story Circle meeting to
see books just laid out on a nearby table.
What this means is that either another storyteller in the group is
cleaning out their collection or they’re helping clean out the collection of a
friend. Either way, they just can’t bear
to throw them out or donate them without seeing if someone else wants them
first. I’ve gotten some good books on
these occasions. It’s thanks to other
storytellers that I have The Fairy
Stories of Oscar Wilde, Fairy Tales
of Frank Stockton and The Peacock
Maiden (I’m especially glad to have that last one because folk tales from
China are not easy to come by). Now, it
doesn’t necessarily have to be a storytelling meeting, though. If you run in similar circles, there might be
similar chances to pick up some new folk and fairy tale books.
admit, I’m probably under using this resource, but one of my favorite
little-known places to pick up folk tale books is the local Polish Fest
happens one weekend a year in my hometown.
While the Polish Fest is a good place to access a number of things,
including polka dancing and plates of kielbasa and pierogies, my favorite part
is the vendors.
The vendors sell all
sorts of things related to the Polish and Polish-American experience ranging
from clothes to artwork.
found one vendor that sells books of folk tales from across Eastern
It was from the Polish Fest that
I’ve bought Roumanian Fairy Tales and
, Polish Fairy Tales
, The Key of Gold
(a book of Czech folk
tales) and Fairy Tales of the Russians
and Other Slavs
They also regularly
have a copy of Pantheon Press’s Russian
there but I’ve never had the need to buy it.
I’m not sure if I’d have the same luck at
other cultural festivals, but someday I plan to find out.
So, that’s my guide to finding folk and fairy tale
If you know of any other places
to find some I’d love to read it in the comments below.
My next post might be a little different from
It seems I’ve been nominated
for some sort of blogging award
see you next time.