Monday, March 30, 2020

Volunteer Proofreading for SurLaLune Tales Database: Activities During Corona

So I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was thinking of ways to provide volunteer opportunities during this time of Corona Isolation.

For many of us, the most important thing we can do right now is stay home and practice social distancing. For those of you looking for a way to do volunteer work, this is one opportunity.

The new version of SurLaLune Fairy Tales site--which is still in beta and hasn't officially launched yet--has a new tales database under construction. The database is a repository of tales from all around the world, classified by ATU number or Migratory Legend number when possible. Currently, the database has over 135 books in it, a few still under construction, and roughly 5,000 tales already input. You can see the database under construction at

Yes, that's a lot, but it doesn't come near to what is available to make SurLaLune an even more robust resource, free to readers around the world. But it takes time to proofread the many books and tales before they can be entered. Books published 1924 or earlier are now in the public domain in the U.S. and qualify for entry. Many have been scanned as images and can be found in online repositories like Google Books and the Internet Archive.

This week--or longer if necessary--I am asking for volunteers to help proofread copy for Fairy Tales from South Africa by Mrs. E. J. Bourhill and Mrs. J. B. Drake, first published in 1908. Digitized copies of the books are available at:


There you will also find computer OCR text of the tales but they are riddled with errors from the computer scanning. This book's Plain Text copy starts at You do not need to start from scratch in producing the text unless retyping it yourself is your groove. I have a friend who types a 100+ words a minute with precise accuracy and she prefers to type instead of proofread. Most of the rest of us tend to like proofing the existing OCR text instead.

So to participate, choose one tale from the list below, and produce a proofread text copy of it. Then email a copy of the tale to me at heidi @ for formatting and insertion into the SurLaLune Fairy Tales database at

If you'd like to volunteer, please post your name in the comments and claim the tale. A few have already been done by me and entered.  Check the comments to be sure your tale hasn't already been claimed. You can do more than one tale, too, of course!

Since this is a volunteer project, you will also get credit for your contribution in the notes to the tale. You can dedicate it to someone. For example, I can add:

This tale was proofread and submitted to the SurLaLune Fairy Tales Database by Anne Shirley in loving memory of Matthew Cuthbert.

Or anything like that within reason.

Here is the list of tales with a short style guide. You can paste your final proofed text straight into an email to me. No need to create a document to send but you can use Google Docs if you prefer and send me a link to that.

If you have more questions, please post them in the comments and I will reply and update this with answers. I'm sure I've forgotten something despite pondering this for a few weeks now.

Introduction: To All Children Who Still Love Fairy Tales
Setuli; or, The King of the Birds
Story of the King's Son and the Magic Song, The
Story of the Little Birds Who Lived in a Cave, The
Story of the Shining Princess, The
Rabbit Prince, The

Unnatural Mother, The

Three Little Eggs, The

Serpent's Bride, The: Part I.
Heidi Anne Heiner 
Serpent's Bride, The: Part II.
Heidi Anne Heiner 
Fairy Bird, The

Cock's Kraal, The

Heidi Anne Heiner 
Reward of Industry, The

Story of Semai-mai, The: Part I.

Story of Semai-mai, The: Part II.

Fairy Frog, The

Nya-Nya Bulembu; or, The Moss-Green Princess
Heidi Anne Heiner 
Enchanted Buck, The
Heidi Anne Heiner 
Beauty and the Beast, The
White Dove, The

Some standardized styles that make it easier for me to quickly format the text:

1. Do not indent any paragraphs but put double spaces between them.

2. For copy that needs to be indented, please don't. Just keep it together single spaced--do not double space between lines of the copy.

For example:

Run, run!
As fast as you can!
You can't catch me,
I'm the Gingerbread Man!

3. For footnotes, put the footnote number in the tale's text like this [1]. Then add the footnote itself to the end of the copy with a [1]: in front of it.

For example:

"Merci," [1] she said to her readers.


[1]: Merci: Thank you!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. I volunteer to proofread Story of the Shining Princess, The and White Dove, The

  2. Great! Thank you! Let me know if you have any questions.

  3. I can take The Beauty and the Beast tale, if you don't already have someone. I can likely complete it in the next two weeks if that suffices.

  4. I'm happy to take on the intro!

    - Natalie

  5. Hello, my name is Dardina Camaj, and I would like to look over "The Rabbit Prince" if it is not too late.

  6. I would also like to take on Setuli, The Story of the King's Son and the Magic Song, and the Story of the Little Birds who lived in the Cave (first three!) I can have those done by the end of the week - August 1st.

    - Natalie

  7. Hi Heidi - I don't know if you know, but an email I sent to bounced back. I checked it several times and I can't work out what's wrong. Is there something wrong/another email we can use?


    1. Did some digging and found a newer email address for SurLaLune - if anyone else is having an issue, try using this email address: fairytales at surlalunefairytales dot com

      - Natalie