COOPERATION
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COOPERATION
from Folktales, Folklore, Fairy Tales, Myths, Legends, Fables,
Nursery Rhymes, Bible, Classics, General Information

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Books about cooperation - All ages - Reference
Toys and Games about cooperation - Classroom Activities - Children
Online links to stories and information about cooperation
SOS - Searching Out Stories and information about cooperation
~~Advice, Discussion, References from Storytellers, Teachers & Librarians

 

 

BOOKS ABOUT COOPERATION - ALL AGES - REFERENCE

To retell these stories, get permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
In performance, always credit your sources.
Book titles are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to learn more about the books and how to buy them.
Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience and to save you research time.


Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline: The 7 Basic Skills for Turning Conflict into Cooperation by Becky A. Bailey. (2001)
Focusing on self-control and confidence-building for both parent and child, Dr. Bailey teaches a series of linked skills to help families move from turmoil to tranquillity: 7 Powers for Self-Control to help parents model the behavior they want their kids to follow. These lead to: 7 Basic Discipline Skills to help children manage sticky situations at home and at school, which will help your children develop:7 Values for Living, such as integrity...

Bundle of Sticks (The) by Josie Stewart and Lynn Salem. (2004)
The farmer teaches his children that by working together they will be strong and successful. A tale by Aesop retold. Seedling books help beginning readers grow through engaging stories and kid-friendly photos and artwork. Best for reading at the earliest stages, these books use clear print, ample spacing, limited vocabulary, and simple story lines to help children practice word building, improve fluency, and garner a love for reading.

Elephant on My Roof by Erin Harris. (2006 - Ages 4-8)
A young boy wakes one morning to find an elephant perched on his roof. He goes to the townspeople, but no one will help. Everyone believes that an elephant in town will only cause trouble. After the townspeople finally agree, the entire village realizes that a single act of kindness can often come back around in unexpected ways.

Kid Cooperation: How to Stop Yelling, Nagging and Pleading and Get Kids to Cooperate by Elizabeth Pantley with William Sears (Introduction). (1996)
Would you like to know how to get your children to willingly cooperate? Would you like to eliminate many of your daily battles and end the yelling, nagging, and pleading? Would you like to handle discipline issues with knowledge and authority? During this process, would you like to learn how to boost your children's self-esteem, feel better about yourself as a person, and even improve your marriage?

Little Story About a Big Turnip (A) by Tatiana Zunshine with Evgeny Antonenkov (illus). (2004 - Ages 4-8)
Drawing from the history of Russian verbal art, this story about a family that must work together is an adaptation of a Russian children's folk tale. When the grandfather has trouble plucking a turnip from his garden, it takes the help of the entire family—grandmother, granddaughter, dog, cat, and mouse—to dislodge it. Rhythm and melody work in combination with a clever refrain.

Midnight the Cow Learns about Cooperation by Karen Putzke with Lara Lombardo (illus). (2008 - Ages 4-8)
Reader: A darling story, with a good character lesson, about a cow and her friends. Midnight the Cow is supposed to stay clean for the county fair. Unfortunately, Sheldon the Goat and Laney the Chicken accidentally cause Midnight to get dirty! Learn how a Wise Pony can teach the barnyard friends about cooperation.

Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflict into Cooperation by Sura Hart and Victoria Kindle Hodson. (2006)
This handbook urges parents to move beyond typical discipline techniques by creating an environment based on mutual respect, emotional safety, and positive, open communication. The seven outlined principles redefine the parent-dominated family by teaching parents how to achieve mutual parent/child respect without being submissive, set firm limits without using demands or coercion, and empower children to cooperate.

Sweet and Sour: Tales from China by Yao-Wen Li and Carol Kendall with Shirley Felts (illus). (2007 - Ages 9-12)
This intriguing collection of 24 folktales, parables and fables spans many eras and literary styles. See Ten Jugs of Wine.

Swimmy by Leo Lionni. (1963 - Ages 4-8)
An exquisite picture book. A little fish, the lone survivor of a school of fish swallowed by a tuna, devises a plan to camouflage himself and his new companions.--School Library Journal, starred review. ALA Notable Book; Caldecott Honor Book. Full-color illustrations.

Tale of Pip and Squeak (The) by Kate Duke. (2007 - Ages 4-8)
Charming mice take the stage in a delightful tale of two bickering brothers. Pip and Squeak share a home, but can’t get along. Everything the brothers do becomes a competition, including their annual midwinter celebration. Until one year, when their efforts to outdo each other turn into a theatrical collaboration . . . with the best results of all—brotherly love!

Team Challenges: 170+ Group Activities to Build Cooperation, Communication, and Creativity by Kris Bordessa. (2005 - Young Adult)
"I’ve seen lots of activity books for kids, but few are so all-encompassing." —LiveFreeLearnFree.com
"A rare gift." —Deepfun.com
"Great for teachers, and also fun for families." —Ashland Daily Tidings
"Helps group leaders effortlessly guide a team through fun activities." —Family Magazine  

Thomas & Friends: Calling All Engines (Pictureback(R)) by Rev. W. Awdry with Richard Courtney (illus). (2005 - Ages 4-8)
Thomas and the Really Useful Engines are working hard getting the new airport ready for the grand opening. Then a terrible storm slows them down, and soon it is clear that all the engines are going to have to work together. The steamies and the diesels have never gotten along very well, but Lady appears in Thomas’ dream and tells him it will be all right. But can they count on help from the biggest diesel of them all–Diesel 10?

Three Monks, No Water by Harvey Chan. (1997 - Ages 4-8)
A young monk lives a simple life, meditating, tending to his vegetable garden and fetching water from a cold stream. Rain or shine, he never misses a day lugging this burden up the mountain to the temple. One day he invites a travelling monk to stay with him. Since they will share the water, they descend the mountain together to fetch it. Due to the difference in their heights, the men find themselves unable to carry the water...

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TOYS AND GAMES ABOUT COOPERATION - CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES - CHILDREN

Product names are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to learn more about the products and how to buy them.
Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience and to save you research time.

Fleece Cooperative Band, 12 ft., for 2-5 People
Explore body movement and balance as a group with this Fleece Cooperative Band also known as a Chinese Jump Rope! This soft and stretchy 12 foot band is made of elastic cord covered with multi-colored fabric and is designed for group movement and cooperation activities. Holds 2-5 participants.

Parachute, 6' with 8 handles
Cooperative play and movement exercises take on a new dimension with our parachutes! Made of multi-colored, rip-stop nylon fabric, they're sewn to last through the toughest play times. Each has its own storage bag.

Running Man (SET)
Watch the man run from one end to the other as players roll up the string as quickly as possible. A fun way to exercise the wrists and forearms while integrating cooperation and teamwork. Players must communicate and work together to make the man run. Instruction and activity guide included. Each set includes 1 of each color: Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Red and Yellow.

Shadows Over Camelot (Ages 10+)
As the incarnation of the Knights of the Round Table, you join forces against the game itself in an attempt to protect Camelot. But beware...all is not as it seems among these noble Knights. Featuring a richly illustrated gameboard of Camelot and its surroundings, finely carved miniatures of the Knights and their foes, and seven Quests to embark upon - Shadows over Camelot is your gateway to many a memorable game night among friends.


TeamWork Trekker for 4 (59" Long) (PR)
WALK THIS WAY! TeamWork Trekkers are designed for your students to develop balance, coordination, agility and cooperation. Students must learn to communicate and work together in order to walk together. Each unit has a soft foam bottom that will not harm gym floors. Use indoors or outdoors. Recommended for ages 4 and up.

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ONLINE LINKS ABOUT COOPERATION - ALL AGES

Online links are in light blue and underlined. Click on them to go to the Internet for more stories/information.
Story titles are in bold type.
Alphabetized with short descriptions for your convenience and to save you research time.

• Cooperation stories from Environmental Storytelling.com
http://writingresults.net/EnvironmentalStorytelling/cooperationstori.html

Destruction (The) of the Bison - an Atsinas folktale
http://tinyurl.com/cjgdpx

Great Big Enormous Turnip (The) - by Alexei Tolstoy
http://www.infopeople.org/training/past/2009/jumpjive/JJ_turnip_script.pdf

Hare (The) and the Water, a Tanzanian Folktale from Water in Africa - lesson plan
http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws/educators/enrichment/africa/lessons/ESlang02/index.html

Farmer (The), the Snake and the Heron, an African folktale (overcoming bias)
http://www.overcomingbias.com/2009/02/an-african-folktale.html

• Folktales and Ecology: Animals and Humans in Cooperation and Conflict from EDsitement
http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=380

• Folktales of Cooperation for your K-3 Class from Education World
http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson172.shtml

• Jefferson School District Libraries, Daly City, CA
http://tinyurl.com/cg82sj

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SOS - SEARCHING OUT STORIES AND INFORMATION ABOUT COOPERATION
Advice, Discussion and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell plus original research)

Online links are in light blue and underlined. Click on them to go to the Internet for more stories/information.
Book titles are in dark blue and underlined. Click on them to learn more about the books and how to buy them.
Story titles in in bold type.
Attributions and entry dates are not included prior to 2005.
All posts are listed when they are received by Story Lovers World.

1) I checked the web for stories on cooperation and found a website I've never seen before that you may find useful. Maybe it was mentioned before, and if so, sorry for the repetition. What I like about it is that it has stories categorized by a lot of the more abstract themes that people on the list ask for time and time again. Here's the list of themes and the URL: Cooperation, courage, creative thinking, friendship, generosity, honesty, justice, kindness, learning, love, perseverance, regret and recovery, respect for Nature, restraint, self-awareness, selflessness.
http://www.storiestogrowby.com/


2) New Query 4/14/09 I'm nearly finished with my April Character Ed page of the month on "Cooperation." I will attribute your offering with a link to your website. Here is what I have so far...

• Anansi and His Six Sons is my lead story.
http://students.ou.edu/H/Shana.R.Hurst-1/story2.html

• Coyote Brings Fire
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~oban/coyofire.htm
Scroll down on this page to find this California Indian story about Coyote who enlists the help of his friends to bring fire back to the people. There are many, many versions of this story. Here is another from Canada called The Long Winter.

• The Piasa Bird
http://www.greatriverroad.com/Cities/Alton/PiasaBird.htm
A local Illinois legend where the Illiniwek must come together to destroy the mighty Piasa.

• The Enormous Turnip
http://tinyurl.com/d54ozl
The bones of the story of the enormous turnip. Everyone tries to pull the turnip but it is the smallest who succeeds. Also written as a Readers' Theatre.

• Stone Soup
http://www.extremelinux.info/stonesoup/stonesoup.html
The folktale about making soup out of a stone...with the cooperation of the village people. The fun thing about this story is it can be told in a variety of different ways.

• The Ram and the Pig Who Set Up House
http://www.whootieowl.com/learn_english/Spanish/RP-story-shell.htm
This Norwegian tale reminds me of "The Bremen Town Musicians" towards the end. Animals come together to build a house eusing their special talents. And they protect the house again by using their special talents.
Marilyn K. 4/14/09
http://www.marilynkinsella.org


Response: There are some good ones in the Pentamerone - one is The Flea, and the other one is The Booby. Kids love them both, and I usually play a game with them while telling, letting them impersonate the characters with magical abilities or find objects to throw behind their backs to stop the giant, and so on. Another one is The Argonauts, it's long and better for older kids, but everyone there contributes to the adventure according to their own special skills. Same goes for Journey to the West.
• The Flea - http://www.zftrans.com/bbs/read.php?tid=12028&fpage=2
• The Booby - http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/pentam17.htm
• The Argonauts - http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php3?author=kingsley&book=heroes&story=_contents
Macsek 4/14/09
http://www.zalkacsenge.hu/


Response:
• Butterfly Friends -- 3 butterflies caught in rain, won't take refuge under the flowers unless all are welcome to come (and some are not because of their color)

• Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock -- in the end the animals cooperate with Little Spotted Deer to retrieve their food before Anansi wakes up

• Three Little Pigs -- cooperate in the last house -- one lets the others in, one builds fire, one fetches water, they all wait together

• Little Red Hen -- what happens when you don't cooperate
Bundle of Sticks (The)

• What Made Tiddalick Laugh -- in my version the animals work together to think of ways to make Frog laugh -- birds sing, kooaburra tells jokes, kangaroos hop, rhinos do the splits, and in the end they all do the chicken dance and Frog laughs (nobody laughs at someone who is funny looking in my stories)
Sue B. 4/14/09
http://www.sue-black.com/


Response:
I thought all but one of the pigs was eaten!!!!!!!
Simon B. 4/19/09


Response:
Yeah, that was the version I read as a kid. And the whole point of the story was that if you don't plan ahead and make wise investments, well trouble lurks around the corner.

And then Disney came along with happier endings. For ALL!

All three pigs survived. And they were doing pretty well on selling sub-prime mortgages across the USA until fall of '08.... when they moved to the Cayman Islands. Where they prosper and are fatter and happier than ever.

And the wolf did six months of community service and anger management therapy and is now a vegan who demonstrates his recipes and culinary skills at Whole Foods. You can "catch him" on YouTube.

All stories CAN end with redemption.
Bill S. 4/19/09


Response:
Depends on the version you use. In some versions the unlucky pigs run to the brick house for safety. I've even seen one version in which the brick house is the undesirable one, taking so long to build that the pig doesn't have shelter in time, and the quicker options are (as for the pioneers?) more practical.

I did learn one year that the ending MUST include the wolf getting eaten, at least if there are younger kids in the audience. They don't want that wolf coming back and making trouble.
Mary G. 4/19/09


Response:
I know I was just busting!!!! Although I have not heard of the brick house "getting it!"

I usually end the 'happy version' with the wolf running holding his flaming rear to HIS mummy crying over what the pigs did to him. 'And then the mother wolf said: "I told you not to bother those pigs, they got your father that way." And the wolf never did bother the pigs again, but I did hear that he got into trouble with a girl who insisted on dressing up in a red outfit. But that's another story for another day.'

Snip snap, that's the end of that.
Simon B. 4/19/09

Response:
In a veddy serious vein... Somebody did a scholarly workshop at an NSN conference way long ago, about the earlier versions of tales we mostly know. I was amazed to hear that the 3 Pigs story dates only to the late 1600's, ie the period of European colonization of a world where nature (and ungrateful native people) really could blow your house in and wipe you out if you weren't very well prepared.

Anybody else remember this workshop?
Fran S. 4/19/09


Response:
I remember this. Corrine Stavish was the workshop presenter. She even gave us a link to her source, but I'm pretty sure I no longer have it. (It was before I was using the Internet, so I doubt I saved the information.)
It was indeed a fascinating session. Well prepared, as she always is!
Mary H. 4/20/09


Response:
Good gosh, if the origins of this story about 1 wolf and 3 pigs is about Christopher Columbus and native Americans, then I'll never tell that tale again. Don't care how it ends.

But it's also true that a lot of tales originate in something historical and tragic. Like Humpty Dumpty.
Bill S. 4/19/09


Response: Fool of the World and the Flying Ship. Odd companions make vital contributions to the hero's success. Mary Hamilton wove a humdinger version of this winto her NSN keynote one year.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fool_of_the_World_and_the_Flying_Ship

In a serious mode:
• The Blind Men and the Elephant.

I understand it originated as a parable showing that each of us grasps just part of an issue (the nature of god in the original version), no one is wholly right, we need to listen to the conjectures of all. Variants which end with a sighted person revealing the identity of the elephant, seem to miss the point. Rather, I like David Roth's song version which ends with "What you believe depends on where you stand--and what you feel."
Fran S. 4/14/09
http://www.FranStallings.com


Response:
• The Brave Little Parrot
http://www.healingstory.org/treasure/little_parrot/brave_little_parrot.html
http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/story/parrot.html
Karen C. 4/14/09
http://www.storybug.net/


Response: Which reminded me of The Monty Python Box Set (Monty Python & The Holy Grail/ And Now For Something Completly Different/ The Adventures of Baron Munchausen) with his band of oddly talented men: one blew the enemy down, one could run super-fast, another with super strength, another with far-sight ... online or the Terry Gilliam DVD I rapturised about recently.
Richard M., Dublin 4/14/09
http://www.legendarytours.com/storyteller.html


Response: How about Bunches of Sticks? It's a picture book—sorry, don't know the autho—about three brothers who are rug weavers. A prize is offered by the Caliph for the best wedding gift for his daughter. They start work on a rug, but start arguing about whose contribution to it is most important. All work stops. The father decides to intervene. gives each son a stick which he easily breaks. Takes the six sticks, ties them with cord. None of the sons can break the bundle. Alone they are weak, together they are strong. They learn to cooperate. We use this on in our Character Ed programs.
Carol C. 4/15/09
http://www.talesntunes.net


Response: This also sounds like and Anansi stories about the gifts his seven sons his sons possess. They each use their gifts to rescue their father.

This just made me think of another tale, The Magic Pomegranate: A Jewish Folktale (On My Own Folklore). I never thought of it as a cooperation story before. Each brother uses the items he has found to help the princess who is dying.
Karen C. 4/15/09
http://www.storybug.net/


Response: If you've got room for one more: The Riddle of the Drum: A Tale from Tizap¦An, Mexico- a Mexican variation of the Fool of the World/flying ship - Prince Tuzan sets off to solve the riddle of the drumhead and win the hand of the princess Fruela - if he guesses wrong he will be put to death by her father, the King. Along the way he encounters men with fantastical skills and invites them to come with him : Corin, Coran, the Runner; Tiran, Tiran the Archer; Oyin Oyan, the Listener; Soplin Soplan, the Blower; and Comin Coman, the Eater. These companions help him solve the riddle and pass two additional tests devised by the crafty King and, in the end, they all live with the prince and the princess at the palace. Part of the fun of telling this story is the repetition of the names of the helpers and the recognition by Spanish speaking students that the names all have meanings in Spanish. This story was published as a picture book by Vera Aardema in 1979.
http://lib.usm.edu/~degrum/html/research/findaids/aardema.htm

Another possibility is Slops - from Margaret Read MacDonald's Peace Tales - also published as a picture book, I believe.
Judy S. 4/15/09
http://classes.kvcc.edu/webdesign150/winter2005/Margaret/Page465.htm


Response: The Three Little Pigs
come to mind as does . . . The idea of "negative cooperation" - more or less cooperating towards something that hurts or harms others. For example, many bullying stories could be thought of as cooperation stories also.
Mary K.C. 4/15/09


Response: The Little Master Thief [in The Storytelling Star: Tales of the Sun, Moon and Stars by James Riordan, Pavilion Bks, London 1999]. Six brothers learn to excel at different skills and combine them to rescue the daughter of the King of Norway from a wicked magician. When she falls in love with them all and cannot choose just one, the gods intervene and make them the Pleiades.
Added on 4/16/09: There are several published versions of the 5 Chinese siblings story. What we like about The Little Master Thief is that the abilities are skills developed in apprenticeships, rather than magical or superhero powers. About 25 years ago our kids had a book called something like The King and his 6 Friends. That now reminds me of Drakestail. Also there are many stories where the hero helps 3 or more objects, animals, etc. and they return the favor by helping the hero escape their wicked owner.
Tom & Sandy F. 4/15/09
http://www.spont.com/


Response: All these contributions about the cooperation of the unique talents of others to help achieve a goal, got me to thinking. Is there a list of these types of stories. I think we've listed at least 5 in two days?

"Anansi and his Six (or seven) Sons" -
"The Fool and the Flying Ship" - The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: A Russian Tale
"Baron Munchausen" (is it only in the film where he is helped by others?) - The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen
"The Riddle of the Drum" - The Riddle of the Drum: A Tale from Tizap±An, Mexico
"The Little Master Thief" - The Green Fairy Book (Penny Books) by Andrew Lang.
"The Magic Pomegranate" - The Magic Pomegranate: A Jewish Folktale (On My Own Folklore) by Penninah Schram

I found a few more on Wikipedia. Interesting.

Then there are the stories where animals use their abilities to achieve a goal - Coyote Brings Fire and The Long Winter.

Thanks for everyone's "cooperation!". I received so many that I'm going to open a special page linked to my cooperation page with all your wonderful contributions and comments.
Marilyn K. 4/15/09
http://www.marilynkinsella.org

Response:
There are several published versions of the 5 Chinese siblings story. What we like about "The Little Master Thief" is that the abilities are skills developed in apprenticeships, rather than magical or superhero powers. About 25 years ago our kids had a book called something like The King and his 6 Friends. That now reminds me of "Drakestail." Also there are many stories where the hero helps 3 or more objects, animals, etc. and they return the favor by helping the hero escape their wicked owner.
Tom F. 4/16/09

Response: For cooperation stories I use a tale from the Slavey Nation called The Long Winter. A team of animals works together to find and rescue heat. Together they do what no one animal could have done. You can find a version on-line at
http://www.storiestogrowby.com/stories/long_winter_canada.html

I also use a story from the Dan tribe of Liberia. Head has a good life, but as he meets and teams up with arms, body and then legs he discovers how much more they can do when they work together. There's a picture book version, Head, Body, Legs: A Story from Liberia by Won-Ldy Paye. When I tell it I use body cut outs on the overhead projector as the visuals make the story much funnier.

Another story that would work is the one about the quails who learn that they can escape the hunter's net if they all flap together. When they begin arguing the hunter triumphs. There's a version here
http://www.scribd.com/doc/7098371/Folktales-of-Giving-Lesson-Plan
Renée E., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 4/16/09
http://www.ReneeEnglot.com



3) The Musicians of Bremen is a good type of humorous tale. It shows all the elements of true humor. Its philosophy is healthy, it views life as a whole and escapes tragedy by seeing the comic situation in the midst of trouble. It is full of the social good-comradeship which is a condition of humor. It possesses a suspense that is unusual, and is a series of surprises with one grand surprise to the robbers at their feast as its climax..."

"In a simple tale like The Bremen Town Musicians it is surprising how much of interest can develop: the adventure in the wood; the motif of some one going to a tree-top and seeing from there a light afar off, which appears in Hop-o'-my-Thumb and in many other tales; the example of cooperation, where all had a unity of purpose; an example of a good complete short-story form which illustrates introduction, setting, characters and dialogue--all these proclaim this one of the fine old stories..."
Continued at:
http://sacred-texts.com/etc/sft/sft08.htm


4)
Something has been gnawing at me about this cooperation theme, and maybe this message has hit on it for me. I believe this type of story motif is generally called "Magical Friends," and, though the friends are contributors, I'm not sure there is much evidence that they are cooperators. They simply sequentially give what talents they have to the hero of the story at whatever point he needs them. They don't interact with each other, and they are not motivated to bring about the good of all, but rather to bring about the hero's personal goals such as to marry the princess. They are more like outstanding employees than cooperators.

I tell several magical friends tales (One fun story not yet mentioned is Kanu Above and Kanu Below from one of Margaret Read MacDonald's Twenty Tellable titles — Twenty Tellable Tales: Audience Participation Folktales for the Beginning Storyteller and Celebrate the World: Twenty Tellable Folktales for Multicultural Festivals), and I think they are super neat, but maybe more pertinent to the theme of diversity than cooperation in the purest sense of the word. I think that the bundle of sticks motif and the birds lifting the net motif are stronger story types for supporting the value of cooperation
in the purest sense. (Like purity is a big deal with storytellers--right!!?)

On the other hand, so much is in the angle you put on a story that I can certainly see myself using one such story in a program on cooperation. Just puzzling here...
Mary Grace K. 4/16/09


Response: Thanks, Mary Grace, for helping us clarify our focus on these stories. I second both points: that Magical Friends tales might fit better for diversity than for cooperation, and that much can depend on the angle from which they are told.

This is the kind of deeper-than-paint thinking for which I appreciate Storytell!
Fran S. 4/16/09

5) Thinking about magical friends/animal friends stories and whether or not they support the value of cooperation helped me think through the story I mentioned from Margaret Read MacDonald, and perhaps made me realize that what I like about it is that the friends ARE cooperative among each other in saving each others' lives while achieving a goal that shows compassion toward a friend as opposed to winning the princess for some clueloss dork. (Note: I also tell The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, so I really love clueless dorks!) I thought I'd come back and tell you the story and give a proper reference since it is easy enough to find and possibly very useful to some.

"Kanu Above and Kanu Below"
A Limba Tale from MRM's Storyteller's Start-Up Book.

Kanu Above is a God who lives in the sky and Kanu Below is a King who lives in a village. Kanu Above reaches out of the sky and takes the daughter of Kanu Below. KB grieves and grieves for her.

One day people come to him and say there is a stranger in the villae named Spider, he leaves webs across people's doorways, we do not like him, and we want you to tell him to leave. Kanu Below tells them "This man, Spider, he does some things that we do not like, but there is much good in him. He will stay in our village."

Same thing happens with Rat (takes rice, meat, kola nuts from people's houses), Anteater (digs holes in people's yards and they step in them and trip), and Fly (buzzes around people's heads and bites them on the behind).

Kanu Below can't get past his grief, and one day he says he wishes someone could go and talk to Kanu Above and ask for his daughter back. The four animal friends volunteer.

Spider builds a web ladder to the sky, and they all climb up and go to Kanu Above's palace to ask for KB's daughter. KA says they will talk about it after dinner, then whispers something to a woman. Fly tells the four friends this looks suspicious, and he will go find out. He sees the woman putting poison in the meat and comes back to tell them not to eat it. At dinner, they say "In our country, we do not eat meat," and they eat only the rice and kola nuts.

KA tells them they will talk about it in the morning, and puts them in a hut and locks the door. For days they cannot get out and no one brings them any food. Rat nibbles a hole and goes out and steals some food, so when the servants come back after several days expecting to find them dead, they are alive. The servants set fire to the hut; anteater digs a hole and they all escape.

At last they are allowed to talk with KA, and he says that if they can pick out KB's daughter, they can take her home.

Of course, they have never seen KB's daughter as she was taken before they arrived in the village. Fly goes to the room where all the girls are getting dressed and notices that the women help them with their beads and hair, except for one girl, who dresses herself all alone. "She must not be from here," he says, and returns to tell his friends "The one who jumps, that is the one."

When the girls parade in front of the four friends, Fly buzzes around until he finds the girl who dressed herself. He bites her on the behind, and she jumps, and the friends pick her out and take her back to Kanu Below.

Kanu Below rejoices in the return of his daughter and calls the village together to tell everyone how valuable these four are to him.

Neat story, huh?
Mary Grace K.
4/17/09


Response:
If you look in indexes that use Tale Types (Aarne-Thompson classification system) to index the stories, you will find lists of them Type 513 "The extraordinary Companions" Type 513 A "Six go through the world" and 513 B "The land and water ship" (hmm, I'm seeing in the index I'm looking at - A Guide to Folktales in the English Language: Based on the Aarne-Thompson Classification System (Bibliographies and Indexes in World Literature) by D. L. Ashliman that he also includes type 513 C "The hunter's son" although I'm not really familiar with any of the tales I see listed there.

So, yes, there are lists of these stories, even beyond what Storytell members managed to list here. Hope this info proves helpful.

By the way, I also see the connections between these stories and Drakestail, but the indexes put Drakestail with Tale Type 715 Half-chick (which from the description bears little resemblance to the Half chick story I'm familiarwith) but does resemble Drakestail in that the Half chick, to right a wrong, travels with companions who create such trouble for the miller who has wronged him that the miller gives back money he has taken.

So, for whatever the reason Drakestail is assigned differently from these tales of amazing companions.

I actually think of many of these tales as having a common pattern. I think of it as having these steps: Send the hero out on a journey Hero gathers companions along the way When trouble comes the companions help the hero succeed.

To me, that pattern applies to Drakestail, to Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, and Jack and the Robbers (which ends up in Tale Type 130 "Outcast animals find a new home"

So, I think any of us could come up with different ways of classifying various stories. Nevertheless, the Tale Type lists can prove helpful when looking for similar tales.
Just adding more info!
Mary H. 4/17/09


Response:
Greetings......didn't read the original post so I don't know if this fits with the query but here's my Bill Goats McGruff rap.....cooperative play on a modern theme.....

"The Three Bill Goats McGruff"

Once upon a time in a Scottish glen
Just over the bridge and 'round the bend
Three Bill Goats McGruff formed a company
That made the world famous "Mightysoft Goat Cheese."

Big Bill Goat McGruff was ready and rough
Young Bill had a head for the business stuff
With wee Billy the kid, they were partners all three
In the "Mightysoft Goat Cheese Company."

On the other side of that Scottish glen
Just before the bridge and before the bend
Lived Greedy McTroll, a rather nasty guy
Who made money baking McIntosh apple pies.

McTroll was rich, yeah he was rolling in dough
But disgruntled, 'cause he wanted -- total control
Of the glen for himself, as he did aspire
To expand his McIntosh Apple Pie empire.

The Goats wouldn't sell McGruff's Mightysoft
So McTroll he schemed, - then he said with a scoff:
"I'll finish that goat cheese Company
I'll make haggis from the hides of those Bill Goats three!"

He hid under the bridge - 'til wee Billy the kid
Crossed overhead -- with a tippa, tappa, tip!
"Say, wee McGruff, - prepare to be
An ingredient for goat haggis delicacy!"

"Oh, McTroll, I'm small and hardly worthwhile.
Big brother Young Bill would be more your style!"
So McTroll let him go and waited for another
Of the goats, Young Bill who was Billy's bigger brother.

"Say Young McGruff, -- prepare to be
An ingredient for goat haggis delicacy!"
"I'm just skin and bones! You should wait, McTroll
For my brother Big Bill who's the biggest Bill Goat."

Back under the bridge McTroll waited still
For the oldest and the biggest goat brother Big Bill.
"I'll get that goat, on his carcass I'll munch.
I'll have Big Bill Goat McGruff haggis for lunch!"

As Big Bill Goat passed over the brook
McTroll stepped out of his hiding nook.
"Big Bill McGruff, - prepare to be
The ingredient for goat haggis delicacy!"

"Is that so, McTroll," Big Bill rebuked,
"Do I look like a sheepish pushover to you?
Haggis indeed, McTroll, where is your brain?
I'm the toughest McGruff that ever lived in the glen!

If you're foolish McTroll, I'll fight with you.
I'm ready to go - so put up your dukes!
But I've two horns aplenty that could be the demise
Of your McIntosh Apple Pie enterprise!"

Just then wee Billy and his brother came to
End the Mr. McTroll and McGruff clan feud.
Wee Billy said, "Fellas, since we share this glen,
Can't we find a way for us all to be friends?"

Young Bill, -- corporate brains of the family
Said, "Wait! I remember Grandma once told me
That 'apple pie -- without the cheese
Was like a kiss without a squeeze.'

'Apple pie and cheese' combo should have mass appeal!
Let's partner up and sell it as a package deal!"
So Baker McTroll -- and the Bill Goats three
Formed the Mightysoft, McIntosh Bites Company!

The End
Sheila S. 4/19/09


6) Thanks to so many who responded to my call for cooperation stories and the truly insightful discussions that followed.

Here is what I have so far
http://tinyurl.com/mrmtgx

I also put that call out to the Northland's Google Group (a new perk when you are a Northland's member) Lynne Clayton recommended the following story. Has anyone told it? To me it seems to epitomize true cooperation. However, I've not read it except for Lynne's bones below. I had never heard of it. Do you have any comments?

One of the seven principles of Kwanzaa is Community - working together. A great story demonstrating this is in Linda and Clay Goss' book - "It's Kwanzaa Time" - the story is about a family with many children. The children keep fighting and creating a lot of chaos and unrest at home, so the parents lure them into the woods and leave them there over night. Before the parents leave, they give each of the children a gift. After the parents leave, the children open the gifts separately and selfishly, but they soon discover that if they are going to get through the night and find their way home in the morning they will have to work together and share each other's gift. It is through cooperation that they find their way home and a new love and respect for their siblings.

Oh, and I'm getting ready for a spendiforous weekend basking in the glory of the Northlands. Hope to see some of you at Green Lake Wisconsin.
Marilyn K. 4/21/09


7) Y'all, I've just come from SOS and I can't find the story several of us suggested to Marilyn a few weeks ago for cooperation--about the birds lifting the nest by flying up together.

I can make it up, of course, but I'd like a more "398.2" version of the story and a credit to a culture which tells it. Thanks!
Mary Grace K. 5/29/09


Response:
Scroll down this link to the story of The Wise Quail.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/7098371/Folktales-of-Giving-Lesson-Plan
Karen C. 5/29/09


Response:
Here are two other references for the story, which appears to have originated in the Panchatantra: The Complete Version, including a more expanded version by Rafe Martin. Interestingly enough, one of these sites is sponsored by the Fetzer Institute and looks like it has a lot of character education material on it. And why do I not remember ever hearing about the Fetzer Institute before even though it started right here in Michigan - in Kalamazoo? Pretty interesting organization.

http://learningtogive.org/materials/folktales/trait.asp?trait=caring
http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson172.shtml
Judy S
. 5/29/09


Response:
Yes, this is a great site. I highlighted in my July/August 2006 Story e Telling column. Lots of fabulous stories and lesson plans for sure!

Learning to Give
Be sure to bookmark this fabulous site! Lesson plans, complementary folktales, and parent resources to involve students in philanthropy and serving their communities.
http://www.learningtogive.org/

BTW folks, I have placed all of my columns from 2002-2006 on my Publications Page. If you didn't receive the magazine during that span of time, you may find the sites here:
http://www.storybug.net/publications.html
Karen C. 5/29/09

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