Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Week 6: Reading Diary B: Japanese Mythology Unit

Japanese Mythology Unit

The Faery Robe: I liked this story because it was written in a different kind of style. It was in poem verse form and I thought that was very neat. The language in these stories is so elegant. I love it so much. I like how they referenced zephyrs here. I like when mythology comes together across different cultures. I also liked that they references landmarks here like the ocean and Mount Fuji. It really helps the poem come to life.

(Mount Fuji)
The Quest of the Jewel: I like this story because when I think of Asian stories and folklore I think of dragons. This story has a dragon in it and I love dragons. They represent power and grace. There are also other fairy tale elements to this story, but my favorite part was definitely the dragon. I think this story could be easily retold in a different style. 

Urashima: This story is once again full of beautiful descriptive language. "Jade-green waters" is one of my favorite descriptions in this story. I like these myths because they have some similarities to Greek and Roman mythology, but with a little more flare here or there that makes it more understandable to another region.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 6 Reading Diary A: Japanese Mythology Unit

I think it is so interesting to go to different parts of the world each week. Every unit has a different style. It's amazing to see so many different takes on story telling. This week in this unit has very flowery language. It is cool to see how they make everyone of the gods seem so larger than life. They aren't as human as some of the other character's I've read about. I do like that you see jealousy in the gods over the mother loving her earth children more than them. It is interesting to see how gods are portrayed throughout different cultures. I can't wait to read the other half of this story to see how they describe them throughout the whole story. 

(The Serpent and Susa-no-wo)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Extra Reading Diary: Russian Folktales

Russian Folktales

The Dead Mother: This story was very eerie. It was so sad that the mother died and kind of sweet in a way that she came back every night to check on the baby. However, at the end when the baby dies it is just really sad. Most of the stories in this unit are kind of scary and morbid so starting off with this one really set the mood.

Treasure: This story is about a poor, but happy couple. The old woman dies and the man can't pay to have her buried. He stumbles onto a treasure and a greedy pope tries to steal it from him. Bad things happen to the pope for being so greedy. This story is morbid too. But I am glad the old man gets to keep the treasure.

The Bad Wife: This story actually made me laugh. I love how this man's wife is played out to be a She-Devil. I want to remember this story for when we do this unit because I want to write this from this woman's perspective. I want to tell why she acted that way and paint the picture from the other side of the house. I love, love, love that the demons are afraid of her. I also would want to talk about how she basically overtook and was running hell.

The Water Snake: This story is about a mother's love/woman's jealousy. It's straight up about how she was scared and loved her daughter (who had to get married to a snake but was so happy) so much that she murdered her husband so she could stay with her. I think it was because she was a little jealous of how happy she was away from her and I also think it was because she loved her grandchildren and didn't want to never see them again. This one would be a good mother/child story to add to my portfolio.
(Matryoshka doll)

Week 5 Storytelling: The Story of the Third Old Man

(The Sultan, Scheherazade, and Dinarzade listening to stories)
My sister had just finished telling the stories of the first two men who were asking the genie to spare the man who had accidentally killed his son. Upon hearing the first two stories, I could tell the Sultan was eager to hear the third. However, my sister did not know the third story. Fearing for her life, I knew I had to do something!

"But Sire! I know the story of the third old man! Please allow me to tell it since my sister, Scheherazade, has never heard it!"

"Of course, do tell," said the Sultan.

And with that, I began the story of the third old man...


There was once upon a time a man who was a rich Sultan. He was very happy and had a wonderful kingdom and family. However, one day a wretched old beggar found her way to the palace.

"Please help me," she said, "for I am poor and have no shelter for the evening."

The palace guards called for the Sultan at once. Looking down upon the woman, he initially was not going to let her stay. But you see, the Sultana had followed him to the palace door and immediately felt sorry for the poor old woman.

"Please, Sire," she begged, "let her stay. She seems so hungry and cold. We have so much wealth and warmth to spare. What could one night hurt?"

The Sultan could not deny his wife anything. So he decided to let the woman stay. He ordered the guards to have her bathed and adorned in silk. She was also given some gold so that she might start her journey elsewhere the following day. The old woman was very grateful. However, as she lay in her chambers that night she became increasingly bitter towards the Sultan and the Sultana.

They have so much here and I have so little. They gave me the bare minimum to get by on when they could have given me much more. Why, they think I am just a lowly beggar not worth anything. I'll show them. I'll take everything from them and more. 

And with that thought, the woman started to plan.

The next morning after breakfast, the woman thanked the Sultan and Sultana for their kindness and headed out. She set out for the four caves that were home to many genies. After a long day's journey, she found herself at the foot of the first hill. She called to the genie who was said to make his home there.

"Oh genie! Hear my call!!! If you are there, help me for I have been treated so poorly by the Sultan and his wife. I seek your guidance to exact my revenge!"

The genie upon hearing this appeared. Now you see, genies can be nasty little creatures and the thought of seeking revenge on someone always sparks their interest.

"Poor beggar woman, I hear you. Please... I implore you to tell me more about why I should help you seek revenge on the Sultan and his wife."

The woman spun a very believable tale about how the Sultan and Sultana ridiculed her and refused to feed her or give her shelter. She told him about how they had locked her up and only allowed her to be bathed and put in silk right before she left because they wanted to keep up appearances for their subjects. She told him about the night of torture they put her through.

"Your story is very touching to me. I hear your plea for revenge and I would help you take it...However, the story you told me is not true. You were treated well and you were even given some gold to help you find a place to stay for the next few days. I do not take kindly to liars."

So you see, genie, once upon a time I was an old beggar woman who was given a second chance by a very kind Sultan and Sultana. I became greedy and tried to pull one over on a powerful genie. And with that the genie turned me into an old, decrepit, little man and cursed me to forever wander the Earth in search of a place to call home. I am never allowed to stay at a place for more than one night. Would you agree that this story is a marvelous tale and that I should also be granted the third part of this man's punishment? 

"Yes..." the genie agreed. And with that, the genie allowed the man who killed his son to live. 

"That is the end of the story of the Third Old Man. Sire, did you like it?"

"Yes I did!" exclaimed the Sultan.

"Wonderful! But you see, my sister, Scheherazade, has one that will top it! Do you care to hear it?"

"Of course!" said the Sultan.

And with that, Scheherazade began...


Author's note: This is the story of the Third Old Man from the tale Arabian Nights. In Arabian Nights, a Sultan is wronged by his wife and then he has her killed and decides to take one woman from his kingdom as his wife every night and have her killed the following morning. The grand vizir's daughter, Scheherazade, is clever and cunning and begs her father to allow her to be the Sultan's next wife. She comes up with a plan to keep herself alive and asks that her little sister, Dinarzade, be allowed to sleep in their chambers since Scheherazade is set to die the next morning. Just before dawn, the sister wakes her up and asks to be told a story. However, the story is never finished and the Sultan is so intrigued he allows Scheherazade to live another night to finish it. This is one of Scheherazade's stories. She tells of a man who crosses a genie by accidentally killing the genie's son. He is set to be killed in one year's time, but three old men come to his aid with crazy stories. Scheherazade tells the Sultan that she does not know the story about the third old man, but that she knows another crazier story. I chose to tell this story by having Dinarzade chime in and tell it to her sister and the Sultan since her sister did not know it. 

Bibliography: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments by Andrew Lang, illustrated by H. J. Ford (1898).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Reading Diary B: Arabian Nights

Arabian Nights

The second part of Scheherazade's story is her telling the story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp. I think this is an interesting story because it is very different from the Disney version. I like how Scheherazade makes it more interesting and foreign to her and everyone listening in the story by making Aladdin Chinese and a hero from the "far east". I think this really is a testimony to her great storytelling skills and her ability to keep people in awe and interested. I would like to hear more stories from her. These tales make her seem to be a very skilled and clever woman.

The following shows a picture of Aladdin in Chinese clothes:

(Aladdin in Chinese clothing facing a genie)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Reading Diary A: Arabian Nights

I chose to read the Arabian Nights unit. The most interesting aspect of these stories to me is how all of the different layers form to create more complex stories. You have the main story about the grand vizir's daughter and the sultan, but then you have all the super complex stories that she tells him. Each story spins into another story within a story within another story and it is all just so cleverly written that it is amazing when it comes back a layer and you remember that the story you were just reading was not the main story that the Arabian Nights was about. I also find it interesting that this story paints a woman to be clever and cunning. I feel like the time back when this is talking about that women were not really viewed as much more than property so for this story to paint the grand vizir's daughter to be more cunning than the men in the tale is really kind of a big deal. I can't wait to read more of her stories!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Extra Reading Diary Week 4: Chinese Fairy Tale Unit

The Favorite of Fortune and the Child of Ill Luck: This story is kind of depressing. The woman gives up everything to try and get some good luck and then her husband leaves her for 18 years to try and get some good luck and she is starving and living on the streets. When he comes back as emperor and she finally gets rewarded for her good faith, she lives only 18 days and then dies. Which is super sad, but I like that this story doesn't necessarily have a happy ending like most American Fairytales do. 

Why Dog and Cat are Enemies: This story finally answers the question I have had ever since I was little! Why do dogs and cats hate each other?! This has perplexed me forever. I am glad that I now know it is because the cat betrayed the dog. This story really captures the personality of cats though. They don't care what happens to those around them as long as they are fed and happy.

The Lady of the Moon: This story explains where some of the songs of the Chinese people come from. It has references to the man in the moon. The lady in the moon is apparently a wife of a prince named Hou I who ate some of the immortality her husband brought home from one of his adventures. This story was interesting to me because I really am fascinated with the moon so I wanted to read about it, but it was kind of all over the place to be honest. 

The God of War: This story is very fascinating. The Chinese worship Guan Yu as the God of War, yet he is also considered the God of Peace. I find this intriguing because having war and peace in the same entity is very crazy to me. These two opposites together in one entity can symbolize the Yin and Yang that is often present in Chinese stories. I like how Guan Yu's god like form was demanding his head back and the monk presents him with the logical argument of "why should you get your head back when your enemies have lost theirs?" and Guan Yu accepted his explanation without falter and faded away. 
(Guan Yu statue)

Storytelling Week 4: The Mighty King and the Turtle

(Group of Men Discussing Turtle)


The cries of my sons could be heard up and down the long, winding corridors of my palace.

“What is it ,my children?!” I called back to them.

“There is a demon on the bank of the lake!” they yelled back simultaneously.

Now I should have known then that the boys were just being overly dramatic as usual, but being the overly protective father I am…I assembled the guards.

“GUARDS!” I yelled. “Come at once! We must come up with a plan to rid the lake of a wretched demon that is terrorizing my sons! This is absolutely unacceptable!”

All of my mightiest men assembled in the banquet hall. We began brainstorming ideas left and right. Some of the ideas were not so much.

“We can vanquish it with our swords!” one man yelled.

“We can ambush it with cannons!” interjected another.

"We can just let the devil have the lake and build a new one!" exclaimed one.

“How about we send the priests in with sage?!” offered another.

Hmmmm. They were all mostly valid ideas. How was I, king of this kingdom, supposed to decide what to do next!? I knew! We must get a closer look at the wretched thing!

“SILENCE!” I declared. ”I know what we will do! Ready your armor, men. We are going to get a closer look at the demon.”

So I readied my men and we drew our blades and took off on a journey down to the courtyard. We went through all of the different golden rooms until we reached the large wooden door to the courtyard. There, we took a brief pause to muster our courage.

“Alright, men, beyond these doors is the monster…Once we go in, there is no going back. Whatever happens, I am glad that I have you all, the most courageous men in all my kingdom, by my side.”

And with that we thrust open the doors. Down to the lake we crept with cat-like stealth. Looking right, looking left, looking behind us, then eyes back to the front. As we approached the lake I saw what my sons had been talking about. I was staring the demon right in its cold, unforgiving eyes.

“AHAHAHAHA!” I let out a huge laugh which confused my guards tremendously. “It’s a turtle. The demon of which my sons speak is a turtle!!!”

And with that, I scooped the little devil up in my hands and tossed it into the part of the lake that had a current so it was flushed out into the river. When I returned to my throne room, I found my sons still shaking and hiding behind it.

“My sons, your father has vanquished the demon by the lake so you have nothing to fear there any longer.”

“Oh thank you, father! Thank you! We hope to be as brave as you one day!”

“You will be. Now off with you, go play some more before dinner.”

And with that, they were off. I slumped down in my throne to get a little rest before they came back with another “demon” for their father to vanquish.

Author's Note: The story I wrote about is from Jataka Tales and is called The Turtle Who Saved his Own Life. The original story is about two princes who are playing by a lake and see a turtle (which they've never seen before). The boys panic and go to their dad, the king, and tell him that they've seen a demon. The king then demands his guards bring it to him and they go over ways to kill it. An old man who is afraid of water says to throw the turtle in the current because that is the worst fate. The turtle hears this and chooses to speak and begs them not to do this because it is a very cruel fate. When they toss him down there he smirks and makes a comment about how he will live a happy life now that they let him free. I chose to write this story from the perspective of the king. I did this because after reading it from a third person point of view left me thinking about what the king really had to be thinking about when he found out his sons were freaking out about this turtle. 

Bibliography: Jataka Tales by Ellen C. Babbitt, illustrated by Ellsworth Young (1912).

Reading Diary B: Jataka Tales

The Cunning Wolf: This story is interesting because it plays the wolves as victims and they usually are not portrayed that way. In most other stories I have read that involved wolves, they play the aggressor. I find it interesting that humans are seen as the aggressor in this story. People always talk about how human's are the apex predators so it is interesting to finally see a story play out that we are not always the victims.

The Otters and the Wolf: This story shows the wolf in a different light. It shows the wolf as the cunning one one. The wolf stole the fish from the otters and claimed it was payment for settling an argument. I think that is pretty shady. But the otters learn that they should not bicker over stupid stuff and I like that moral of the story.

The Hawks and Their Friends: This story is about friendship. I like how the animals work together to save each other I think that is sweet. These hunters were oddly persistent in eating those hawks. The animals are a lot nicer in the Indian stories than in the Aesop fables.

The Fool Hardy Wolf: This story's message is, "don't get too big for your britches". This story is very to the point and would be easy to elaborate on. I like that the wolf and the lion live together in peace until the wolf does something stupid.
(Elephant stomping wolf)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Storytelling Styles

(Photo source: Flickr, Who ya gonna call?)

Topic: My topic is Native American ghost stories. I think I would like to have four different stories from four different tribes. One story I read that I definitely want to include is the third story, A Ghost Story by the Ponca tribe, out of a section titled Three Ghost Stories in the Great Plains Indian section of the Untextbook. Another story I want to include is from the Blackfoot tribe and is called The Camp of the Ghosts. 

1            Three Ghost Stories, from Myth’s and Legends of the Great Plains, by Katherine Berry Judson (1913). –I will use the Myth’s and Legends of the Great Plains for more stories.
2            The Camp of the Ghosts, from Blackfeet Indian Stories, by George Bird Grinnell (1915).

Possible Styles:

Dream Sequences: I could tell the story as part of a dream that someone is having. I have this idea in my head were like someone is studying and falls asleep and dreams they are in the story in a way. Or they’re watching TV while reading about ghosts. The possibilities with this are endless.

From a Ghost’s point of view: I think it would be neat to tell how ghosts view the living. What are the ghost’s thinking about the people that cannot see them? I really like the idea of the ghost’s doing little things around the house as pranks or something that the person does not know they did, but it is just enough to throw them off.

Third person: This is very useful for creating omniscient scary ghost scenes. This would be very useful if I wanted my story to be scary! However, I’m not necessarily sure if that’s what I want.  The thing about third person is that it is not really that creative and I am not sure if I would like it. I really like the out of the box way of thinking.

Story as Reality TV: Can you imagine a reality TV series for ghosts? I think this would be a fun idea to try. It would really put a neat twist on the old stories. I can just see a Keeping Up with the Kardashian ghost family or something of the sort in one of my stories. I could probably combine this one with the dream sequence if I really wanted to. There’s a lot of different ways I could go with this.