Last week I checked a book out of the library (title with held) that was full of wonderful stories. Some of the stories I would love to add to my list and put into my own shows. Of course, I like to give credit to the author of a new story, also if I tell a traditional tale like someone else’s version, I gave credit to them. Most of the time, I like to find as many versions of the story as I can and then work it over until it’s mine, them I tell it.
However, in this book, (when I went to see if it had a reference section) I found a not to other storytellers. It said in basic, If you use one of these stories, you must tell it just as you heard it, and give me credit before and after the telling . Granted, there were some stories in the book I had not read before, but it was full of traditional tales and even an urban legend. To claim these stories as their own? I was shocked. When I told my wife, she told me that she had looked up a web-site of stories (I don’t know which one) that made a similar claim.
Now, I’m new in the national storytelling scene, but is this common? Am I going to be telling a story at a festival and have some one tell me “That’s my story! You can’t tell it!” Or are these just isolated incidents and I shouldn’t worry about it. I will say right now, if you here me tell a story and you like it, be best complement you could give me is to tell your own version. I will even be happy to give you a bibliography if I have one. (If its one I wrote, just mention where you got it, or rewrite it to make it your own.) Stories only live if they’re told.
Tell me, What do you think?