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...Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
...Teachers and Librarians

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Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians

(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

1) Why Turtle's Shell is Cracked in Ready-To-Tell Tales by Holt and Mooney has turtle crack his beautiful shell on a BIG ROCK in the middle of the river.

2) In The Little Old Lady Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle in Margaret Read MacDonald's The Storyteller's Start-up Book, I would have the fairy give the little old lady a magic pebble to put under her pillow when she goes to bed. In the morning, the pebble has gone back to the fairy's hand (pocket, wherever) and the little old lady is in her new house.

3) Pebbles are used in Hansel and Gretel.

4) In The Fox and the Hen, the fox gets into the hen's house. She flies up to the ledge above the door. He tries to coax her down. Doesn't work. He goes around in circles. She gets dizzy and falls down. He puts her in a sack and takes off for home. He is tired. Lies down to rest. Little red hen takes her sewing scissors out of her pocket, cuts her way out, fills sack with a big rock and sews it back up.

5) Sleeping Ugly
by Jane Yolen has the ugly inside princess get her foot turned into a rock.

6) Rapunzel lives in a castle made of rocks.

7) Rumplestiltskin
gets very angry, has a temper tantrum and gets his foot stuck in a crack in the rock that he made!

Rocks are used for tools. Ex. to grind cornmeal. One version of The Boy Who Went to the Northwind is a
bout a boy who went to get his cornmeal back because the Northwind blew it away.

9) A whetstone is used to sharpen knives.

10) There is a story about hidden treasure. Two brothers live together in the same house, farm the same land and fish in the same boat. Then they haul up a treasure in the net. One brother pushes the other one out of the boat and takes off with the treasure. He carries it inland and hides it. But he is always afraid that his brother or someone else will steal it. So he climbs a mountain and chips a tunnel into the rock to hide his treasure. Then he fills the tunnel with rock. He gets guns and builds a fort and spends his whole life guarding the treasure. His brother still lives in the house, farms the land, and fishes. Sometimes he sits on his front porch and rocks his grandchildren and tells them stories and wonders what happened to his long-lost brother. Is he happy? "Like we are, Grandpa?" says the littlest grandchild.

11) The Talking Stone, An Anthology of Native American Tales and Legends
, edited by Dorothy deWit.

Everybody Needs a Rock is a picture book by Byrd Baylor. It is out of print, but your library might be able to borrow it--or might even have it. (copyright 1974)

13) For Love of Rock by Kelly Voyer is a tiny book that was published in 1994 about an ant who had a special friend named Rock. When they went swimming, rock sank. They pretended together, exercised together, etc. Ant painted flowers on rock. They washed off in the rain. Played games together--hide and seek, etc. They told stories together. Camped together, had snowball fights. Ant got sad, wanted to see world. Left. Rock patiently waited. Waited a whole year. Never gave up. Summer came. Ant returned with his new family. Now they paint, go on picnics, tell stories, swim. Sometimes they just watch the clouds in the sky. I would end by bringing the story full circle and say, "Sometimes they would tell each other stories. There was one story that was their favorite: Once upon a time there was an ant and a rock and they were best friends. They. . .."

14) Hans in Luck in Fifty Famous Fairy Tales, Whitman Publishing Co., 1946 is about Hans who works for 7 years and gets a lump of gold. He trades the gold for horse, the horse for a cow, the cow for a pig, the pig for a goose and the goose for an ordinary stone to use as a grindstone. When the stone falls in the water, Hans
thinks he is luck to be relieved of a heavy burden.

15) From Best-Loved Folktales of the World by Joanna Cole comes: The Wolf and the Seven Kids
from Germany. The wolf tricks and eats 6 of the seven kids. When the mother comes home she finds only one kid left. She calls and calls. The six answer from inside the wolf who is sleeping. She sends the seventh kids after her sewing bag, cuts a hole in the wolf and out comes the kids. In go 6 rocks and she sews the wolf up. Being so heavy, he drowns in the spring.

The Firebird, the Horse of Power and the Princess Vasillissa from Russia. Her wedding dress is hidden under a rock out in the ocean. Getting it is one of the tasks that the prince must accomplish.

17) Don't Throw Stones from No-Yours to Yours from Israel. A rich man has his servants throw the stones from his garden over the wall and into the street. Years later when his fortunes have changed, the stones bruising his poor bare feet are the very same ones he caused to be thrown into the street.

Fin MacCoul from Ireland tricked a giant into thinking he could squeeze water from a rock by squeezing a lump of whey. (Same trick is used in old tale about tailor outwitting a giant.)

19) Aesop's Fable of The Crow and the Pitcher. The crow gets a drink from an almost empty pitcher by putting pebbles in it to bring the water level up.

20) The song Big Rock Candy Mountain is in From Sea to Shining Sea.

21) Pockets Full of Rocks by Larry A. Hiller can be found in The New Era Magazine March 1985, reprinted Jan. 1996. Malcolm Tent starts collecting an old gray rock every time someone does something that makes him mad. His collection soon weighs him down--pants pockets, jacket pockets, briefcase, etc. His house is full of rocks. A professor brings his class to see the collection. Malcolm can tell them why he collected every rock. The professor wants to see his "other" collection. There is no other collection. "But surely," the
professor says, "if someone does something nice. . . " Malcolm thinks it over and decides to change things. He tries to hire a housecleaner to remove the rocks. No luck. He tries to give them away. No luck. He finally hauls them away. He has to do it himself. People notice how much nicer Malcolm's clothes fit--how neat his yard looks. In fact, they remark on all his flowers. They don't have any explanation for the change. But one day Mrs. Katz noticed that after she took him some brownies, he went out in the yard and planted a flower...

22) Who traveled the road the best.
King offers a prize for whoever travels the King's highway the best. People wear fine clothes, ride in beautiful carriages, sing, dance, etc. (Have audience make suggestions as to how to travel the road.) One old man walks slowly down the road. Comes to a pile of rocks. Everyone has complained about having to go around them. Stops and moves them. Finds a bag of gold. Takes it to King. King gives it back because he has traveled the road best. He who travels the road best makes it easier for others.

23) Rock concert: Have each person decide what kind of a rock they would like to be. What kind of a sound would the rock make if it were to move or be dropped. At a signal, all the rocks make their sound: Rumble, splash, clink, etc. Make sure signal has an ending: i.e., when I move my hands, the rock concert will begin. When I lower my hands it will immediately stop!

24) The Storytelling Stone - number of sources for this one: a book edited by Susan Feldman called The Storytelling Stone - traditional Native American myths and legends - includes the Seneca tale. Also a version in Joseph Bruchac's books, Iroquois Tales.

25) Coyote the Judge - snake down in a hole with a rock on its back.

Another Native American tale is Raccoon and the Standing Stone in Bruchac's Return of the Sun. Raccoon starts a large stone rolling down a hill, races round and round it, trips in front of it and gets flattened. Talks ants into helping him get unflattened, then spurns them in favor of more important people.

27) Coyote has a run-in with a rolling stone in Coyote and the Rock. (Richard and Judy Dockrey Young, Race with Buffalo, and I've seen several other versions, including a picture book) - Coyote gives his blanket to a rock, then takes it back, rock rolls after him, squashes him, takes back the blanket and rolls on. Later, Coyote, somewhat the worse for wear, finds his blanket underneath the rock and snorts, "I never liked that blanket, anyway."

28) Jay O'Callahan's Michael and the Grasshopper includes "the red stone of change," which Michael attempts to gain, in order to be changed into a butterfly.... You can get the recording from Jay's site:

29) What about Coyote Steals the Blanket or variants of this? I know it is in a picture book by Janet Stevens.

30) Finding the Green Stone by Alice Walker.

Worry Stone by Marianna Dengler
ISBN 0873586425

32) Lifting Stone by Marcia Sewell [OOP]

33) Stone in the Middle of the Road.

34) The book by Byrd Baylor..Everybody Needs a Rock.

Dick Gackenbach's McGoogan Moves the Mighty Rock.

36) Stone Soup

37) The story about the mouse who keeps wanting a better husband for her daughter. Eventually the mouse girls marries another mouse because the mouse can knaw a hole in the wall, the wind can't move the wall, etc. I think it is a stonecutter variant.

38) Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

39) Some time ago people could buy pet rocks in the stores. They had directions for how to care for them, etc. A little lonely rock sitting at the side of a pool or in the forest might see all kinds of things happen near by. So who knows what stories you could tell?

40) Gem stories could maybe be used because gems are a kind of rock. That means you could tell The Little Rooster and the Turkish Sultan.

41) There is a story about a hen and the fox. She flies up high on the door frame in her house and he can't get her. The fox runs around in circles, the hen gets dizzy and falls. Fox puts her in a bag and starts home. He gets tired and takes a nap. Hen cuts her way out, puts a stone in the sack and sews it back up.

Seems like there is a story about goats, kids and a wolf in which the kids get eaten, someone cuts the wolf open, lets them out and fills the wolf's stomach with rocks. (He is asleep, of course.) Then he falls in the river or pond and sinks.

43) Don't forget that if you cast a pebble in the water, the ripples go out and out. Kindness works the same way. Now you can tell a story about kindness!

44) Just wanted to alert you to a website to include on your page...
And a Yahoo! Group...

45) The Story of the Donkey and the Rock, posted by Sacred Texts.

46) There's a fun noodlehead story about a boy who goes to town to sell the butter. His mother tells him town is really big so when he finds a big rock he thinks it's town. He gives 'town' a sample of the butter; it melts which he interprets as a sign that town likes the butter. He gives all of the butter to town, but town doesn't pay up. The boy gets so mad he kicks the rock, revealing a chest of gold. It's in the collection of noodlehead stories by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss.

Renee E. 8/23/11


Fun story Renee, It is called The Boy Who Sold the Butter.

Karen C. 8/23/11

47) Old Man Coyote and the Rock can be found in Keepers of the Earth by Joseph Bruchac and Michael J. Caduto. There it is a flint knife. I don't do a song with that, but I have the kids make the sound that the rock makes when it's rolling, GA-DA-RUM, GA-DA-RUM. One day one of the first graders said, "It sounds like Gotta-Run," which is exactly what coyote has to do when the rock starts after him. Bet you could make a chorus out of that!

Judy S. 8/23/11

48) There is another story about coyote and little dove. He keeps coming back because he drops the song she taught him (good for joining in) and little dove finally decides to trick coyote by substituting a rock for herself. He bites it, loses his teeth, and starts howling. Can be found in one of Margaret Read MacDonald's books, but not at home so I can't check which one.

Batsy B. 8/23/11


This story is also told about Coyote and a locust. Joe Hayes, among others, tells it.

Bob K. 8/23/11

49) Check in Joseph Bruchac's Iroquois Stories, Heroes and Heroines, Monsters and Magic ---the first story is about the source of all stories, "The Coming of the Legends"

It's a very simple story... here's the summary from Jackie's site:

This is an Iroquois or Haudensaunee legend of a young boy who sought shelter by a great rock. As he was chipping flint from the rock, a deep voice said, "I will tell a story." The rock asked the boy to give up one of the birds he'd killed hunting that day. Then the rock told tales of how things were in the former world. The boy returned many times bringing other birds and other listeners. The standing rock told legends until the boy was a man who had the responsibility to carry these stories to the people.

Ina V.D. 8/23/11

50) How about "Coyote and Rock"? Haven't tried a sung refrain, but if you have a friend with a drum....Linda, my former duo partner, plays bodhran, and I was amazed by the variety of sounds she got out of it for that tale!

The version I know of "Coyote and Rock," it's not a blanket but a knife that Coyote leaves and later takes back--and a FLINT knife at that, which says something about the possible age of this tale.

Barra the Bard 8/23/11

51) I heard Robert Greygrass telling the Coyote story when he was in the UK this summer!

There's lots of variations of Grimm's 'Lucky Hans': the boy who trades a cow for a donkey, a donkey for a pig, a pig for a chicken, all the way down to a stone. He lets go of the stone and realises how lucky he is with nothing to carry. A fable for consumerist times.

Marion L. U.K. 8/23/11

52) You have some great suggestions already. Here are a few more.

Of course there is always Stone Soup.

Old Grandpa Money Rock

Senor Coyote, the Judge

This tale is in a picture book so I am not sure you could use it due to copyright but thought I would send it along.
Grandfather's Rock

Karen C. 8/23/11

53) There is a Seneca story about Grandmother Rock and First Boy. Grandmother Rock told all the stories in the world to First Boy, and that is how storytelling began.

Gatherer Institute 8/23/11

54) I can't give you the exact reference... not home now, but there's a story about Coyote giving a blanket to a rock... then taking it back, with disastrous consequences. I think it might fit your bill. I bet someone on this list knows it.

Bob K. 8/23/11


Ah, yes, Bob. I have it right here in Twice Upon a Time by Judy Sierra and Robert Kaminski. Great story — and the rock is "moss-covered."!

Carol C. 8/23/11

55) Someone might have already mentioned the NA tale about the snake being caught under a rock, then someone (rabbit?) helping it to get out, only to be threatened with being eaten. The judge (owl?) has snake show him exactly where he was when he got caught in the predicament...only to be caught again for being untrue to his promise not to bite whoever released him....

Mel D. 8/23/11

Found in Story Lovers World archives:

23) Isn't there a (Brer Rabbit?) story about Possum encountering a snake trapped under a rock who asks Possum to carry him and warm him up? He assures Possum he won't bite, but of course in the end he does. "You knew I was a snake when you picked me up." something like that.

Jackie B. 8/23/11

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Created 2004; last update 8/23/11.

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