Simplia was kind of proud of that statement. It connoted Trenchant Thoughts. Occurring in her brain.
Sagacia didn’t look up from the magazine she was engrossed in. She just said, “Hunh?”
“We study them, we write about them, we write new ones, we fracture old ones, we adapt them for TV and movies. But really and truly? Where do we perform them? I mean, routinely. In ordinary circumstances?”
Sagacia licked her finger and turned a page. “Uh-huh.”
“We might be teetering on the brink of a slippery slope here. I mean, look what happened to Latin. Regular people quit speaking it. They relegated it to church and scholarly treatises, so only really smart people even had a smattering of Latin, and only really formal and correct Latin at that. It passed out of the vernacular, and pfft! Now you don’t even hear it spoken in the Roman Catholic church anymore. It’s just sung. Latin is reduced to law, lyrics, and lame aphorisms.”
By this point, Simplia was pacing and flapping. Sagacia closed her magazine in resignation. There would be no quiet concentration until her friend had finished venting.
“Quid dicis infernum?” she asked.
Now it was Simplia’s turn to say, “Hunh?”
“That’s Latin for ‘What the hell are you talking about?'”
“Really? Wow. Terse. A lot more economical than English, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” said Sagacia. “Now. What’s your point with this slippery slope and passing out of the vernacular rant?”
Simplia took a deep breath and focused. Maybe “short and simple” would drive her point home better than “trenchant.”
“Fairy tales. If we only trot them out for special occasions… If we’re interested in them primarily as specimens… If we have to be precious with them… They’ll languish. They’ll go silent. Like Latin.”
“True enough,” her friend agreed. “Well. We’re doing what we can. We publicize the events we know about and attend as many as we can. And look here… This just fell out from between the pages of my magazine.”
A message from Adam Hoffman:
Well, if folks are in the Capital District area of New York State, they should just drop in to a Story Circle meeting: http://www.storycircleatproctors.org/sc/ . When I’m there, and I usually am, you’re bound to hear a folk tale, fairy tale or something adapted from classic children’s fantasy literature. I regularly do stuff from Grimm or folk tales from various different cultures…
Simplia sighed and said, “Okay. That’s hopeful. Oh, and look on the windowsill. There’s a little birdie who appears to want to tell us something.”
It was a sparrow — a little birdie. It said, “Sundays from July 27 through August 23… Not Just for Kids Storytelling at Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site. Phone: (518) 829-7516. It’s free, and I have it on good report (from another little birdie) that on August 17, Megan Hicks is going to be doing a program of fairy tales.”
“All right, all right,” Simplia said. “I concede. I was doing my Chicken Little thing. I guess the sky isn’t really falling…yet…even though it could. I wish we could get to New York this summer for a solid jolt of fairy tales, but at least we’ll get a good dose in Phoenix come July at the National Storytelling Conference in Phoenix come July. I’m mollified. For now.”
“Oh, and look at this!” said Sagacia. “How did Lance Foster’s note escape our attention?”
I told fairytales all the time to people I meet, to my wife, to anyone. Aesop’s fables, Grimm, and American Indian stories in a straightforward traditional style. They are part of my everyday life. I am not a professional storyteller I just like telling stories.
“YESSSSSS!!” said Simplia. “That’s what I’m talking about!”