Sunday, June 22, 2008

More Dandelions!

And why did it take me sooooo long to put up my last Dandelion post? (I know you're just dying to know) Because there is sooo much out there about the Dandelion! Who knew??

Did you know?....Dandelions are sensitive to the weather. In good weather the head is fully open but if rain threatens it closes up. Also, the dandelion is said to close up against the dew around 5pm and to open up again at 7am. (Wonder if that's why it's called a clock?) Although this behaviour is said to depend on the intensity if the light so the times differ at different lattitudes and seasons.

Long, long ago, the flowers had a huge argument about which of them was the most beautiful, the most special, the most loved by the humans and by the fairies. The argument lasted for weeks, with each flower claiming to be the most beautiful and the most loved. Finally, all of the flowers agreed to let the Flower Fairies decide.

The Flower Fairies sent they're gentlest and kindest of spirit fairy to settle the problem and to give one plant her blessing and the title of the "most perfect" flower. The little Fairy decided to test each flower by asking them one question.

The first flower the Fairy talked to was the Rose.
"Where would you most like to live?" she asked it.
"I would like to climb the castle wall." said the Rose. "And then kings and queens and nobles would pass by everyday and exclaim over my beauty, my scent and my delicate nature."
The Flower Fairy walked sadly away from the Rose.

Next the Fairy came to a tulip, standing tall and proud. "Where would you most like to live?" she asked the Tulip.
"Oh, I want to live in a public garden" said the Tulip. "Where everyday people would come and admire my wonderful colors and see how straight and tall I stand." Once again, the Fairy walked a way feeling sad.

She walked until she came to a forest. There she found some Violets. She asked them "Where would you most like to live, little Violets?" "Oh" said the violets quietly "We like it here hidden in the woods where no one can see us and where the trees keep the sun from dulling our beautiful color." The fairy thanked the Violets and walked on looking for more flowers to talk to.

She talked to the Tiger Lily who was much too wild and fierce.
She talked to the Sunflower who barely answered her because all she wanted to do was be warmed by the sun.
The little Flower Fairy talked to the Orchids who only wanted to be taken out to dances and she tried to talk to the Narcissus but it was too busy looking at it's reflection in the water to speak to her.

The little Fairy, with tears in her eyes, was ready to give up and go home when she came to a field with bright fluffy yellow flowers on long thin stalks. The leaves were long and jagged and very close to the ground. But the flowers....oh how happy and cheerful they looked in the field!

"Little one" said the Flower Fairy "What are you called and where would you like to live?"

"I am a dandelion" said the little flower."I'd like to live where ever there are children. I want to live beside the road, and in the meadows, and push up between the sidewalks in the cities, and make everyone feel happier when they see my bright colors." The Dandelion chattered on happily saying "I want to be the first flower that the children pick in the spring and take to their mothers. And I could tell if a child likes butter by being rubbed under their chins, and if a child makes a wish and blows my seeds, I could carry that wish on the wind."

The Flower Fairy smiled brightly and said "Little Dandelion, you are the most perfect and special flower of all and you shall have your wish! You will blossom everywhere from spring till fall, and be known as the children's flower."

And this is why the dandelion comes so early and pushes her head up everywhere with such strength and determination. And why she is so loved by children throughout her long life.
(retold by LLL,Storyteller)

More Dandelion Trivia:
It is said that after Theseus, the Greek hero, slew the Minotaur, a monster that was half man and half bull and lived in a labyrinth, he ate a Dandelion salad.

The number of inches a child will grow in the coming year is said to be foretold by the tallest dandelion stalk he can find.

Dandelions were declared an endangered wildflower in England.

Oh yes....and for those of you interested in making Dandelion Wine, I have two sources for recipes The Slow Cook: What to do with Dandelions and The Source of this pic of Dandelion Wine Ingredients


Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them
- A. A. Milne, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh

I love Dandelions!
Love looking at them…love it when they take over a yard (okay usually someone else's) ……love to see fields of dandelions in bloom.
I am the kind of dandelion lover that takes joy in blowing the seeds off the dandelion clocks and making sure they spread far and wide (and I don't have a problem with them landing in folks yards by the hundreds).
Basically this makes me a big kid.
Have you noticed that almost all children love to pick dandelions and present the wilted bouquets to a truly thrilled parent.
They love to blow dandelion clocks (why are they called clocks?).
Children can not and will not see dandelions as unwanted…as weeds.
All they see is bright, shiny yellow suns surrounded by a field of green.
I LOVE Dandelions!!

Alright, now that I have gotten that out of my system….lets talk about all of the wonderful stories, poems, quotes, children's books and even songs dedicated to or at least mentioning the Dandelion. And then, there are all the wonderful uses that folks have found for the dandelion. Not to mention...but I will anyway...the folklore surrounding the dandelion.
So much information, so little time.
Hmmm...before I get started let me say that all of this information, the stories, the quotes, the odd facts, etc. make a heck of a lesson plan or storytelling presentation. There are just so many ways you can use the information.
Alrighty then! Here are various bits of info in no paticular order. Have fun!!

Lion’s Tooth, Blowball, Swine’s Snout, Wild Endive, White Endive, Cankerwort,Piss-a-bed, Priest’s Crown, Blowball, Puffball, Fairy Clock, Yellow Gowan, Irish Daisy, Peasant’s Cloak

According to one legend, in ancient days the earth was populated by fairies, elves and gnomes. When the first humans arrived, they could not see the elves, fairies and gnomes which was a big problem because they kept stepping on them. The gnomes and elves began hiding behind rocks and underground. The fairies were too fond of the sunlight to stay underground long. Due to their love of the sun, they tended to dress in bright yellow gowns, which made it difficult for them to hide in the fields. In desperation, they turned themselves into Dandelions. You'll notice that if you step on a dandelion they spring back. This is because they hold the spirit of the fairies.

Did you know?....When you blow on a Dandelion Clock, it is said that the seeds are really fairy transportation. In return for helping a fairy on it's way, you are given a wish.

Here's a fabulous recipe for Dandelion Lemonade
And this link has a recipe for Dandelion Lemonade and Dandelion Fritters . Nummy!!

The recipe for this dandelion salad can be found at Beansprouts

Oh, hardy flower, disdained as weed,
Despised for head of feathery seed,
Your unsung virtues rate a ballad,
Choice roots for wine, crisp leaves for salad.
- Betty Gay, Dandelion

Dear common flower, that grow'st beside the way,
Fringing the dusty road with harmless gold,
First pledge of blithesome May,
Which children pluck, and, full of pride, uphold,
High-hearted buccaneers, o'erjoyed that they
An Eldorado in the grass have found,
Which not the rich earth's ample round
May match in wealth, thou art more dear to me
Than all the prouder summer-blooms may be.
- James Russell Lowell, To the Dandelion

Some children's books about Dandelions:
Dandelions by Eve Bunting and Greg Shed (Grades 4-8)
Dandelion by Don Freeman (K to 2)
The Dandelion Seed by Joseph Anthony (K to 2)
Dandelion Adventures by L. Patricia Kite

"It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun”
Henry Ward Beecher

"You cannot forget if you would those golden kisses all over the cheeks of the meadow, queerly called dandelions.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Mmmmm..Good!(from the Delicious Dandelion)
All parts of the dandelion are used as food and medicine. Young leaves are a great addition to salads and sandwiches. They also can be steamed and sautéed like spinach.
Dandelion leaves contain 7,000 units of vitamin A per ounce. (By comparison, a carrot has only 175 units per ounce.) One-half cup of raw dandelion leaves contains 398 milligrams potassium, 68 milligrams ascorbic acid, 35 milligrams vitamin C, 900 micrograms niacin, 200 micrograms thiamin, 3 milligrams iron and 2.7 grams protein — quite a power-packed plant!
Dandelion flowers also are edible, adding flavor and color to butter and other spreads. I coat them in a sweet tempura batter, sauté them in sunflower oil and serve them as appetizers.
The roots are gathered in the spring for their medicinal value and in the fall for their food reserve. Traditionally, the roots are dried, roasted, ground and drunk as a coffee substitute. I mix the roasted root with the roasted roots of burdock and chicory for a robust tea that contains no caffeine — only nutrition and flavor.
European herbalists consider the dandelion one of the best herbs for building up the blood when a person has anemia. This plant has been cultivated and used in India as a remedy for liver complaints.
source Delicious Dandelion

Hmmmm....after all of this information, I have to conclude that the Dandelion is a much more loved than I had first thought.
So, turn off your computers and go outside and pick a few dandelions...or maybe just lie in the grass and appreciate the beauty and the usefulness of the dandelion.

I'll leave with a song.....Dandelion by the Rolling Stones.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold....A Ballad

Good stories are everywhere.
And as Hank Williams, Sr. once said "A song ain’t nothin’ in the world but a story just wrote with music to it."
Just like folktales, ballads have gone from an oral tradition to print. Therefore, like traditonal folktales, any one ballad can have many forms and appear to come from many countries.
Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold is a ballad that appears to have originated in England. It can be found under other titles such as Groline and Her Young Sailor Bold, The Young Sailor Bold, The Nobleman 's Daughter, Caroline and Her Young Sailor Boy, A Rich Nobleman's Daughter' and Young Caroline and The Sailor.But they are all basically the same ballad.

This information is found online at the Traditional Ballad Index....

Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold (Young Sailor Bold II) [Laws N17]
DESCRIPTION: Wealthy Caroline loves a poor sailor. The sailor tries to discourage her, but she disguises herself and follows him to sea. She "proves true" even in a shipwreck. In time she returns home and gains her father's permission to marry her young man
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(4391)); found in 1840 in a journal from the Walter Scott
KEYWORDS: poverty sailor courting cross-dressing marriage wreck father
FOUND IN: US(SE) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(Scotland) Ireland
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Laws N17, "Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold (Young Sailor Bold II)"
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 196-198, "Caroline the Rich Merchant's Daughter" (1 text, 1 tune)
Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 103-105, "The Nobleman's Daughter" (1 text plus a portion of another, 1 tune)
BrownII 102, "A Rich Nobleman's Daughter" (1 text)
Peacock, pp. 329-330, "Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach-Labrador 29, "Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-NovaScotia 33, "Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold" (1 text, 1 tune)
OLochlainn-More 39, "Caroline and Her Young Sailor Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud #553
Sarah Makem, "Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold" (on LastDays)
Bodleian, Harding B 11(4391), "The Young Sailor Bold. Answer to the Gallant Hussar," J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also Harding B 16(44a), Firth c.12(241), Firth c.12(242), Harding B 11(542), 2806 c.15(182), Harding B 19(42), "Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold[!]"; Harding B 20(204), Harding B 16(268a), Johnson Ballads 2987, "[The] Young Sailor Bold"
Young Sailor Bold
CSU Fresno

I have provided two versions of the ballad and a video.

This particular version sung by Andrea Corr of the Corrs is similar but not exactly like the versions written out below.

Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold

There lived a rich nobleman's daughter,
So comely and handsome and fair,
Her father possessed a great fortune,
Full thirty-five thousand a year.
She being his only daughter,
Caroline is her name we are told,
One day from her drawing-room window
She espied there a young sailor bold.

His cheeks they appeared like the roses,
His hair was as black as the jet,
This is lady she watched his departure,
Walked round and young William she met.
"Oh," she cried, "I'm a nobleman's daughter,
My income's five thousand in gold,
I'll forsake both my friends and my fortune
To wed with a young sailor bold."

Says William, "Fair lady, remember,
Your parents you are bound for to mind,
In sailors there are no dependence,
When their true love is left far behind.
Be advised, stay at home with your parents,
And do by them as you are told,
And never let anyone persuade you
To wed with a young sailor bold."

"There is no one shall ever persuade me
One moment to alter my mind,
In the ships I'll proceed with my sailor
And he never shall leave me behind."
So she dressed like a jolly young sailor,
Forsook both her friends and her gold,
Three years and a half on the ocean
She plied with her young sailor bold.

Three times with her love she was shipwrecked,
Though she always moved constant and true,
Her duty she done like a sailor,
Went aloft in her jacket so blue.
Her duty she done like a sailor,
Could hand reef and steer we are told.
At last they arrived in New England,
Caroline and her young sailor bold.

Then straightway she went to her father
In her trousers and jacket so blue,
He sees her and instantly fainted
When first she appeared to his view.
But she cried, "Dearest father, forgive me,
Deprive me for ever of gold,
Grant me one request if contented
To wed with a young sailor bold."

Her father embraces young William
In honour and sweet unity,
"If life shall be spared until morning
It is married this couple shall be.
"They were married and Caroline's fortune
Is thirty-five thousand in gold.
And now they live happy together
Caroline and her young sailor bold.

DT #448
Laws N17
From Creighton, Songs and Ballads of Nova Scotia, no.33
Collected from Mrs. Thomas Osborne of Eastern Passage, NS

The Nobleman's Daughter

'Tis of a Nobleman's daughter,
Most beautiful, comely, and fair;
Her father possessed of great fortune,
Of thirty-five thousand a year.
He had but one only daughter,
Caroline was her name, I've been told,
One day, from her drawing-room window,
She admired a young sailor bold.

2. His cheeks were like two roses,
His hair was black as jet.
Young Caroline watched his departure,
Walked round, and young William she met.
She says: I'm a Nobleman's daughter,
Possessed often thousands in gold;
I'll forsake both my father and mother,
And wed with you, young sailor bold.

3. Says William: Young lady, remember,
Your parents you're bound for to mind;
For in sailors there is no dependence,
When their true love is left far behind.
Be advised, and stay home with your parents,
And do by them as you are told,
And never let no one persuade you
To wed with a young sailor bold.

4. She says: There's no one shall persuade me
One moment to alter my mind;
I'll ship, and proceed with my true love--
He never shall leave me behind.
She dressed like a gallant young sailor,
Forsook both her parents and gold;
Two years and a half on the ocean,
She ploughed with her young sailor bold.

5. Three times with her love she was shipwrecked,
And always proved constant and true.
Her duty she did like a sailor,
Went aloft in her jacket so blue.
Her father long weeped and lamented,
From his eyes tears in torrents long rolled,
Till at length they arrived safe in England,
Caroline and her young sailor bold.

6. Caroline went straightway to her father,
In her trowsers and jacket so blue.
Her father he instantly fainted,
When first she appeared to his view
She cries: Dearest father, forgive me,
And forever deprive me of gold;
Grant me one request, I'm contented
To wed with my young sailor bold.

7. Her father admired young William,
And vowed that in sweet unity,
If life did them spare till the morning,
Together they married should be.
They were married; and Caroline's portion
Was ten hundred thousand in gold.
So now they live happy and cheerful,
Caroline and her young sailor bold.

Traditional and Folk Songs website was used as a source of information.
The picture of the Broadside ballad at the beginning of the post can be found online at the Bodleian Library

Thursday, June 5, 2008


So yesterday, June 4th, was the official Blog for Peace day and me being somewhat date challenged forgot.
But I figure better a day late than not at all.
The first place I saw this idea was at Mimi's Blogblast for Peace website.
If you want to know more about this movement please visit that site.

I love telling stories that advocate peace.
Stories that make people think.
There are two wonderful storytelling resources that advocate peace.
Both of them are on my book shelf.
The first is Peace Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald and the second is Spinning Tales Weaving Hope with many editors (for more info on these books please check the bookshelf to your right).
Here are a few of my favorite peace tales.
(For thoughts on Peace, check out my Mother Theresa Blog .)

Not Our Problem
The King sat with his Adviser eating honey on puffed rice.
As they ate they leaned from the palace window and watched the street below.
They talked of this and that.
The King, not paying attention to what he was doing, Let a drop of honey fall onto the windowsill.
"Oh sire, let me wipe that up," offered the Adviser.
"Never mind," said the King.
"It is not our problem.
The servants will clean it later."

As the two continued to dine on their honey and puffed rice,
The drop of honey slowly began to drip down the windowsill.
At last it fell with a plop onto the street below.
Soon a fly had landed on the drop of honey and begun
His own meal.
Immediately a gecko sprang from under the palace and with a flip
Of its long tongue swallowed the fly.
But a cat had seen the gecko and pounced.
Then a dog sprang forward and attacked the cat!

"Sire, there seems to be a cat and dog fight in the street.
Should we call someone to stop it?"
"Never mind," said the King.
"It's not our problem."
So the two continued to munch their honey and puffed rice.

Meanwhile the cat's owner had arrived and was beating the dog.
The dog's owner ran up and began to beat the cat.
Soon the two were beating each other.

"Sire, there are two persons fighting in the street now.
Shouldn't we send someone to break this up?"
The King lazily looked from the window.
"Never mind.
It's not our problem."

The friends of the cat's owner gathered and began to cheer him on.
The friends of the dog's owner began to cheer her on as well.
Soon both groups entered the fight and attacked each other.

"Sire, a number of people are fighting in the street now.
Perhaps we should call someone to break this up."
The King was too lazy even to look.
You can guess what he said.
"Never mind.
It's not our problem."

Now soldiers arrived on the scene.
At first they tried to break up the fighting.
But when they heard the cause of the fight
Some sided with the cat's owner.
Others sided with the dog's owner.
Soon the soldiers too had joined the fight.

With the soldiers involved, the fight erupted into civil war.
Houses were burned down.
People were harmed.
And the palace itself was set afire and burned to the ground.
The King and his Adviser stood surveying the ruins.
"Perhaps," said the King,
"I was wrong?
Perhaps the drop of honey WAS our problem."

A tale from Burma and Thailand retold by Margaret Read MacDonald in Peace Tales

How many situations have we said are not our problem??
Eventually anything can be your problem if it is allowed to get out of hand.

Advice from a Three Year Old
There was once a famous artist who decided that he wanted to study the works of Buddha and attain enlightenment. He thought that the best way to do this was to seek the most famous and wisest teacher and ask him, "What was the most important thing that Buddha taught?"

The artist traveled to the other side of the world to find the teacher he sought. When at last he found the teacher, he asked him, "What was the most important thing that Buddha taught?"

"Do not harm anyone and only do good," was the teacher's immediate response.

"What?" shouted the indignant artist. "You are the most famous of teachers! You are supposed to be wise beyond your years! And this is all you can tell me? A three year old could have told me the same thing!"

The teacher, who had sat quietly through the entire speech, looked at the artist and said, "A three year old could have said the same thing but it is a very difficult thing to practice, even for one as old as myself."
(A Zen tale retold by LLL, Storyteller)

The Animals Reform Meetin'

Long time gone, there was a big gatherin' of animals and fowls and birds that got together to talk about everybody behaving better.
Instead of talkin' about how to improve things, everyone started talkin' about how other folks were doin' bad things.

Brer Hyena complained that Brer Buzzard was always gettin' to eat first.
Then Brer Wildcat complained that the mice and rats were right troublesome.
Though everyone knew how much he liked to eat mice and rats.
Then Brer Tiger up and started moanin' about how troublesome rabbits were.

Now right then, Old Brer 'Coon just couldn't stand all the fussin' and he called the meetin' to order.
"Friends" he said, " we all have got to do a lot better or we're goin' to end up bein' in a really bad way. What do y'all think about us tryin' to reform ourselves?"

Brer Tiger jumped right up and hollered "I'm all for reform."
"I seen Brer 'Coon stealin' corn almost every night and it has to stop!"

Well then, Sis Cow chimed in with, " I'm for reform too. I want y'all to know that Brer Tiger has got the blood of my young'uns in his mouth, and it's got to stop!"
Brer Elephant stepped in to say his bit, "Look who's talkin'! Sis Cow is eatin' up all the grass and leavin' none for us Elephants."
Brer Wolf shouted, "Men are goin' around usin' knives and guns! It just ain't safe no more to go after'em."

Now at that point, Old Brer 'Coon tried to call the meetin' to order again."Look y'all, we gotta start gettin' less complaints and get more reform! Now who's got somethin' positive to suggest?"

Well, Brer Deer jumped on up and said that all the animals had to stop eatin' meat.
Brer Wolf said "No that don't make no sense, what we need is for all the animals to stop eatin' grass."
Sis Chicken started cacklin' and said" No, no, no! Y'all have all missed the point. What we need is to kill all the snakes."
To which Brer Fox shouted, "Hey, I rent my cave to the snakes! What we have to do is kill all the worms."
Now y'all know the birds didn't like that! They figured they would starve if all the worms were killed.

And so the arguin' continued.
Every animal tryin' to keep what was good for him and get rid of what his neighbor wanted.

At long last, Old Brer 'Coon stood up and said "That's enough! What we need to know is if any of you folks are willin' to agree to give up somethin' you like for yourself. If ya are then say so, now."

He waited. But nobody said a word. They just sat there so quiet that ya could have heard a tater growin'.
"This is sure 'nough a sad and sinful world we are livin' in," said Brer 'Coon. "Everybody is just findin' fault with everybody else. I say, it's time to quit this meetin' and go back to your own homes."
Old Brer 'Coon shook his head and said, "You can begin charity next door. But if you want to reform, it's got to begin at home."

And that's all I have to say about that!!

An AfricanAmerican/Southern Tale retold by LLL,Storyteller

Holding Up the Sky
One day an elephant saw a hummingbird lying flat on its back on the ground.
The bird's tiny feet were raised up into the air.

"What on earth are you doing, Hummingbird?" asked the elephant.

The hummingbird replied, "I have heard that the sky might fall today. If that should happen,
I am ready to do my bit in holding it up."

The elephant laughed and mocked the tiny bird.

"Do you think those little feet could hold up the sky?"

"Not alone," admitted the hummingbird.
"But each must do what he can. And this is what I can do."

From Three Minute Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald pg 145

Love, Laughter, Peace and Blessings to you!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

For the Writers....or not

This is a poem. It is a wonderful poem.
I discovered or rather rediscovered it a few days ago.
I knew when I saw it that I needed to use it in a storytelling program.
The problem is that I haven't figured out just how to use it or in what program.
In case you were wondering, and I know you were(admit it!), yes...this is how I come up with my scathingly brilliant (says who? says me!) storytelling programs.
I stumble upon one item that is just begging to be used/told and work a program around it.
Which leads back to my problem...I have yet to figure out just what to do with this poem. I am thinking it would work well with 5th graders through Middle schoolers.
But what exactly to do with it? Since I don't teach writing, as if I could (well there is a program I have done where we add on to a poem or write our own version of a folk/fairy tale). I am thinking I need to create a program of stories involving writing but I don't know any. YET!!
If anyone has any ideas or suggestions feel free to let me know.

So, about this poem. It was written by Shel Silverstein. To see more about him, check out this link to a previous blog featuring one of his poems, Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too .
I love this particular poem because it definitely expresses how I feel sometimes when I face the computer.

Writer Waiting

Oh this shiny new computer-
There just isn't nothin' cuter.
It knows everything the world ever knew.
And with this great computer
I don't need no writin' tutor,
'Cause there ain't a single thing that it can't do.
It can sort and it can spell,
It can punctuate as well.
It can find and file and underline and type.
It can edit and select,
It can copy and correct,
So I'll have a whole book written by tonight
(Just as soon as it can think of what to write).