Revisionist History vs. Storytelling

As you know, I tend to live in my own world, that is often bombarded by input from a gazillion different external sources – all of which must be sifted through, pondered upon and the beloved gems carefully selected to weave into the Story of Me – and, I tend to walk the path introduced to me by the works of Joseph Campbell –

 Disclaimer –

“This is my story – your version may vary – I don’t require you adopt my version, unless you like it better than yours, then, by all means, have at it.  But never think when I observe history, and comment, that I’m trying to actually re-write it – :)” 

“Johnny has gone for a Soldier”

I love this song – and the title of this version was my first introduction to it, courtesy the intro/closing music of a Revolutionary War documentary series.


Further research, revealed many versions of this song, as one winds their way back through time, with various lyric/tune/language changes, different meanings embedded within this word or that, until, in the dark (to us), quiet periods of oral traditions,  the trail to find it’s origins fades into the sands of time – and defies being picked up by any other than the dedicated expert who has dedicated their life to the quest.


I spent a magical evening, at a back-yard BBQ, with live music, singing, etc., not from hired players, but the kind of music I remembered from my youth; anyone welcome to play along, sing along, clap along, shout out a request, or thumb through the music book brought by the one playing the guitar…

Later, while tidying up the kitchen, the hostess, her sister and I worked our way through various numbers from the Sound of Music, some lullabies, gospel music and, when I tentatively started to sing the soldier song, wouldn’t ya know?  They jumped right in, with their beautiful soprano voices, one harmonizing, and quickly left me in the dust of ‘what lyrics are those? Can you repeat, slowly, while I try to keep up and learn?’

(I was rather lame at shoo-be-doing and foreign languages before my stroke; now, neither my brain nor my tongue have the slightest interest in such acrobatics.  Thus I am relegated to humming along or carving out time to learn to whistle. 🙂  )

Wouldn’t ya know – their beloved version was done by Peter, Paul and Mary circa 1960s


…and last, but not least, tonight, I discovered the Celtic Woman video of Siul A Ruin –


What have I gleaned, during reading forays the past two years, listening to various versions, languages, creative modifications of a song I love?

So Glad you asked!

Life Lessons carried on the wings of music:

  • There are those powers that love conquest and exercise their will where they can, to force conquered peoples to do what they may not wish to do
  • There are always fighters who choose to serve
  • There are always those who decide to bow out on principal and/or take the high road to Exile, until such time as the conquerors are defeated from within or without, or, viable forces to win the rebellion seem to be making the odds of staying to fight look better than living in exile or joining up with the conquerors.
  • There are always loved ones left at home, who love their fighters or exiled ones, and will face their own challenges, sometimes dire, indeed, to do what they think best supports their loved ones in returning safely home to them – even when it means their own ruin – and are dedicated to holding on until Beloved returns home.

I’m reminded, time and again, if you read, listen, look, long enough,  you will come across the same themes, over and over again…

Manifestations of stories that have survived Time – to morph and meet the current needs, while retaining the seeds of the past.

My motto?

“Be a fan of storytelling –  in all it’s various and changing artistic forms – always be on the look-out for those golden threads, that run deep and stretch long, weaving throughout time and space – to remind us of that which should never be forgotten…”

5 thoughts on “Revisionist History vs. Storytelling”

  1. P, P, and M covered SO many traditional and folk songs and like Pete Seeger before them, saved the history for those who come after. I think I have every album they released (on CD, that is)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J was getting a kick out watching me try to do the shue la rue (thats what it sounded like to my stroke brain…lol) refrain so I could join along. Lol. Will read memorize lyrics so I can sing along, too, next time I hear it. Lol. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. …and, I was curious if P,P and M released that during the time of the Vietnam war. Havent researched yet, but thought u might know off the top of your head. If no, no worries. Added to my winter readiing research list


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