Whenever Simplia’s train of thought came to an intersection of exhaustion and introspection, her mood swung toward Despondence. The questions posed by Challenging in Chatanooga rankled her: “Who even tells fairy tales anymore? … What good do they do these days?”
“What are we? Chopped liver? We tell fairy tales!”
Sagacia laid a mollifying hand on her friend’s knee and said,”Yes, we do. And they do us a world of good. And no, we are not chopped liver. I don’t think, Challenging in Chattanooga meant to disparage us and our raison d’etre. I think she…or he…is probably genuinely curious. People are so insular and silent nowadays. Forget having face to face interactions or visiting in real time. Even phone calls have been supplanted by texting.”
“Yeah,” Simplia agreed. “People don’t even strike up conversations in checkout lines anymore.”
“Or give each other eye contact,” said Sagacia.
“So why didn’t this Chattanooga correspondent ask about social interaction in general? Why is he…or she…picking on fairy tales?”
“Maybe she…or he…is a budding storyteller with a repertoire rich in fairy tales and a case of self-doubt and low self-esteem, and he…or she is just looking for reassurance.”
“Oh,” said Simplia. “I never Considered that.”
Apparently the Simpletons’ Magical Friends were considering the “challenge,” right at that moment. Their email notification signal started pinging.
Barra the Bard wrote:
Well, I do (tell fairy tales)! Frequently, and without apology.
As a Celtic storyteller, who specializes in the Scottish and Welsh myths, tales and legends of my heritage, I’ve had many discussions about the importance of fairy tales with a variety of people: other tellers, teachers, audience members of many ages, clergy, and so on. Fairy tales are bridges–to one’s past and beloved story-sharers who may no longer being here; to the Otherworld; to other aspects of one’s own life.
Where do I tell them? At parties, concerts, camps, Highland games and ethnic festivals and other venues. I’ve told in a variety of day-job situations. When I was a non-medical caregiver for the elderly, I found myself utilizing them in helping to calm agitated clients with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Doing more programs in my age bracket, I’m telling them for senior groups, often with lively discussions afterwards. I’ve told them in historical programs. And once I told “The Dancers of Etive” when someone challenged me to tell an alien abduction story!
Jeri Burns, of the Storycrafters wrote:
We tell fairy tales whenever we can. To all ages. In all kinds of venues.
Barry and I were working somewhere recently and told a fairy tale – classically, lyrically, with harp and song – and an adult audience member (without children) expressed gratitude for our doing so. He said that he strongly valued the feeling of connection to the archetypal images and messages that such stories bring and wished he could hear them more often. He said that he loved how fairy tales interweave past and present, because the images and meanings belong to all times. (Okay, he didn’t say this stuff quite like that, but this is the essence of what he meant. I am retelling a bit here because 1. I am recalling a conversation, and 2. I have a serious retelling habit, like all storytellers).
I could go on forever about this…
And Fiona Birchall totally backed both of them up:
Ummm…..it’s taken me four whole days to get my head round this question, never mind think how to respond. You see, I thought all storytellers told fairy tales, because it’s what I do all the time, and although I don’t get to meet many other tellers, it’s what I would expect to hear from them when I do. (I suppose we’re back to the great divide caused by the Big Pond, and the minor interest in personal stories here in the UK.) I’m not a professional (if I tried to live on what I’m paid I would die in the first week) and all my bookings are for groups of adults, mostly but not exclusively women, most of them over 60. Almost all are hearing a storyteller for the first time since childhood, and they have no idea what to expect; I give a brief introduction about the use of Story for teaching and therapy but emphasise it being the oldest entertainment since this is my own purpose. Often I start with a tale that has no magic but a good moral, just to ease them into the world of fantasy, but then off I go with tales of mermaids, Death, dragons, magic charms, talking animals and all the rest of it. Mostof the stories have a last line which produces laughter but more serious stories are slipped in as well. And I’ve had many compliments and not one complaint.
As Sagacia read these supportive responses, Simplia puttered with the toaster at the breakfast bar.
“Shall I keep reading?” asked Sagacia. “There are more.”
“No,” said Simplia. “I’m good for now. Save them for my next mood swing. These responses, and breakfast, will get me going today.”
“Smells good in there. What are you making?”
Well,” said Simplia, “you mentioned that fairy tales are our raison d’etre, and that reminded me its been awhile since I had some raisin toast. You want some?”