Posted by: travelrat | November 8, 2018

Storytelling

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I’ve written before about storytellers. I’ve always admired the way in which they’ve learned their stories off by heart, and can tell them without any ‘um-ing’ and ‘er-ing’. This, I think, was easier in the days when many people couldn’t read or write, and would look forward to the arrival of an itinerant story-teller with, hopefully, some new tales.

Like any other art, it has to be practised; it’s not really good enough to think reading ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ or ‘The Three Bears’ to your kids is enough … although you get extra points if you do it from memory, rather than reading from a book.

A common trap is telling a story … and it may be, basically, a good story … without embellishing it, with a long and prolix prologue explaining how you came to be there. In the Royal Air Force, we used to curb such tendencies by humming ‘The Dam Busters’ when the tale got too tedious.

The storytellers ‘Time Will Tell’ came to Stonehenge the other day, and told the story of Stonehenge a different way. There were three of them, and they acted the parts of the various people who’d had to do with Stonehenge through the ages. They used a humorous, rather Monty Python-ish style. Like:

‘More stones! We’re not dragging more stones all the way from Wales!’

‘Oh, no! no! no! These stones are only thirty miles away’

‘That’s all right, then!’

Some might think that they weren’t ‘real’ storytellers’ … but, they told the tale, and got the story across. And that, really, is what storytelling is all about.


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