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Do you have to be grounded firmly in reality to be able to carry off short, snappy stories?

Do you have to be grounded firmly in reality (How grounded was Nasruddin? His donkey is grounded. His feet are in the stirrups.) to be able to carry off short, snappy stories? Can there not be “quick and dirty” (and we don’t mean “smutty”) fairy tales?

Simplia was beside herself with embarrassment and bewilderment.

“I was there,” Sagacia reminded her. “It was all in good fun.”

“It was all humiliating! I went over time. That’s one of the cardinal no-no’s of storytelling. Never go over time. You should know yourself and your story well enough to know what can be cut out in order to make it fit into the time you’re allotted.”

“Or maybe you should exercise better judgement when trying to cram a size ten story into a size three time slot? Let’s step inside here at the Fairy Tale Lobby and get you a soothing cup of chamomile tea.”

Simplia slumped and shuffled in defeat. She hung her head. That’s when she noticed that a paper airplane had crashed into the gatepost and fallen, nose crumpled, on the gravel path leading to the Simpleton’s favorite hangout. She picked it up and unfolded it. There was writing inside.

“Of course,” she muttered. “This is the third of the month.”

“Oh,” Sagacia said. “I was wondering when and how this month’s question would arrive. What’s it about?”

Simplia read:

Dear Vasilisa the Wise–
My town has recently inaugurated an open mic story slam for tellers of traditional tales. I’m thrilled. Heretofore, all the slams I’ve attended and heard about are formatted around personal stories. I love attending, but, as one who tells only fairy tales, I have not been able to participate. Finally, I thought, I’ll have a chance to play this game of Spoken Word Slam. But alas, there are no short, short fairy tales in my repertoire. Of course, you can tell me to broaden my horizons and learn a midrash or two, some Nasruddin stories, acquaint myself with Herschel of Ostropol, check out Akbar and Birbal. And I will, Vasilisa. I will. But the genre nearest and dearest to my heart is the fairy tale. I wonder if you, wise woman, can direct me to a source of short, short format fairy tales. I would love to be able to lob a solid volley to my fellow tellers at the next slam.

Many thanks for your guidance —
Stymied in Sturbridge.

“There,” said Sagacia with satisfaction. “You’re not alone. Let’s go inside and see if our magical friends have suggestions for Stymied in Sturbridge.”

“And while they’re advising her,” Simplia said, “I’ll take notes for myself.”

 

*********

English: Miniature of Nasreddin Hodja
Date 17th century
Source Topkapi Palace Museum Library Cat. No. 2142
Downloaded from http://www.business-with-turkey.com/hoca/hoca-big.htm
Author Unknown
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