Reflections: On Storytelling…
The Red Moon by Pedro Pablo Sacristán
There was once a little grey planet that was very sad. The people living there hadn’t looked after it, despite them having all the inventions and space ships you could ever need. They had contaminated the whole countryside so much with rubbish and pollution that there were no plants or animals left.
One day, a little boy was walking on the planet, when he passed a cave and noticed a small red flower inside. The flower was very sick – almost dying – so the boy carefully dug up the flower, with roots, soil and everything. Then, he started looking for a place where he could look after it. He searched all over the planet, but everywhere was so contaminated that there was no place the flower could possibly live in. Then he looked up at the sky and noticed the moon. It seemed to the boy that maybe the plant could survive there.
So the little boy put on his astronaut suit, and climbed into a space ship. He put the little red flower in the back, and off they went to the moon.
Far away from all that pollution – and with the boy visiting it every day to tend it – the flower started to grow. The flower was so well cared for, that it had soon germinated, giving birth to others, and these other flowers spread onto other flowers. Before long, the whole moon was completely covered with flowers. That’s why, whenever the little boy’s flowers open up, for a few minutes the moon takes on a soft red sheen, like a warning light. Maybe it’s telling us that if we don’t look after our planet, a day will come when flowers will only be able to grow on the moon.
Most of us grew up listening to others tell us stories about places we could only imagine and people we never met. When we got old enough to read, we inhaled stories written by others and, with time, added our voices to the mix. I love stories as they offer a way to share important messages about our values, dreams, and fears. Stories provide a window to the soul, fuel the creative spirit, and help us sort through life’s confusions for solutions… We also use them as a form of escapism; a way to nullify the unpleasantness around us and re-imagine a better, brighter, even bigger world. For every story we hear or read, there is a version recreated in our minds; reshaped by our memory bank to help us remember it. Stories can be a lifeline to memory, healing and creative exploration. Where do you find your stories?
“Storytelling is an ancient and honorable act. An essential role to play in the community or tribe. It’s one that I embrace wholeheartedly and have been fortunate enough to be rewarded for.” Russell Banks
Reflections: On Storytelling… Androcles
A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live. But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim. But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognized his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest. Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
It is not surprising that as kids we lapped up stories, regaled our friends with our own ditties, and flew away on imaginary unicorns to our own private fantastical island. Most of us heard stories from our grandparents, parents, uncles/aunts, caregivers, teachers and friends and then we invented our own. As a child, I had the habit of asking people to tell me a story or read me one. I would curl up on an armchair or lean against the back of a mud hut, close my eyes and take in every bit of a story shared. I would create images to correspond with the stories and lose myself in that fantasy. Fortunately for me, storytelling was an important part of the cultural fabric of the community I grew up in. It was exhilarating to sit and listen to a dramatic story unfold and I’d occasionally skip a meal for a good story. I still love a good story and have shared a few in this post. What memories do you have of storytelling? More below!
Reflections: On Storytelling… Special chest
The Queen’s Journey by Pedro Pablo Sacristán
A young Queen was given a special present from a great wizard. It was a magic chest which would bring happiness to the whole kingdom whenever it was opened in a place where there was a spirit of generosity.
The Queen traveled all over her kingdom, looking for the most generous people. When she had collected them all, she opened the magic chest. However, nothing whatsoever happened.
That was, until one day when, returning to her castle, the Queen saw a poor little boy begging. The Queen would have given the boy some money, but she didn’t have any with her. So the boy asked her if she could give him the old chest she had, so he could sell it for a little money, in town. At first the Queen hesitated, because she had been told the chest was magic. But on seeing how poor the boy was, she gave it to him. The boy took the chest and opened it.
Immediately, all the most wonderful things one could imagine started flying out of the chest, accompanied by the sound of singing: “Why look for it in others? Goodness always starts in yourself”, went the song.
And as well as enjoying all the wonders of the magic chest, the Queen learned to set an example in virtue, and she became the best Queen ever to reign over that kingdom.
As we get older, we accumulate a treasure trove, for some a war chest, of stories that we lived and/or learned during our lifetime. It is important to pass these stories down to our loved ones and continue the oral tradition of sharing and collecting personal narratives, folktales, fairytales, mythology, legends, fables and more. I still look for stories to share with my family and have written a few too… What’s your story?
What about you? What are your thoughts? Where do you find your stories? What memories do you have of storytelling? What type of stories do you enjoy? Do you read out loud to others or to yourself? Do share! Thank you.
Positive Motivation Tip: Find your stories, nurture them and share them… In storytelling, there is healing, creation and rejuvenation. Spend some time there.
Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Mirth and Motivation