|A Tale from Decameron |
by John William Waterhouse, 1916
by Amy Eller © 2012
Sitting in the presence of a Storyteller, we are given permission to travel deep within ourselves, to a place a the center of our cellular being, that remembers the old ways. Our ancestors, all the way back to the beginning of human time were storytellers. Sitting by fires. Working in fields. Smoking a pipe or sharing teas made from the plants of the Earth. Our ancestors were always telling their stories to each other. They communicated through story. They learned lessons through story. They coped with problems by telling stories. They healed their hearts when they heard stories. They built communities based on stories.
Without story, where would our human race be today? Would we know who we are? Would we have a concept of right and wrong? What would our daily lives be based upon, if it weren’t for the stories of those who came before us?
These were the questions Lenora Ucko asked when she began fine tuning her InteractiveStorytelling technique many years ago. She had a vision of keeping the stories of our past alive. She had a database of folk stories from all over the world with wisdom that ran deep and crossed all cultural lines, and she was on a mission to bring them to the people. It was her vision that these stories could bring people together and create safe spaces for healing in people’s lives. And thus, StoriesWork was finally born in 2000.
Today, with a tiny staff of one, in addition to herself, Lenora continues to bring these stories to the people, in a safe, non-threatening way. She asks easy, open ended questions that get people talking comfortably about issues that they may never have spoken comfortably about before. She opens doors, hearts, and minds in ways that offer gifts to the participants, whether they recognize it in that moment or not. She refrains from judgment and teaches other storytellers this hard to master skill. She does this wonderful work selflessly, with her heart wide open.
We want to keep this vision of Lenora’s alive and keep StoriesWork’s doors open, and thus we continue to tell the stories to the people. Please consider visiting us on the web (www.storieswork.org) and contact us if we can work with you in any way to bring this work to more people.
Please enjoy this sample story and check out the questions at the end. These are questions Lenora would ask you herself if she told you this story today. Please answer them in the comments. We’d love to see the discussion begin here.
A Blind Man Catches a BirdAfrican Folk Story, Author Unknown
Two friends went hunting together. One was blind and one could see. The one who could see promised to help the blind man hunt. They each put down their own trap in the forest. The man who could see was surprised at how much the blind man could tell just by listening to the leaves rustle or the animals scurrying about or the waterfall in the distance. He asked his friend how he knew so much. The blind man replied, “When you cannot see, you must rely on other senses to know what is going on.”
The next day the two men went back to the forest and found two birds, one in each of their traps. The bird in the blind man’s trap was large and colorful. The bird in the other trap was small and plain. The man who could see quickly switched the birds so that he now had the big, colorful bird in his own trap and the blind man had the small plain one.
Then they sat down and rested. “Since you know so much,” said the man who could see, “tell me, why do men fight one another? I’ve often wondered about that.”
The blind man replied, “Because they do what you have just done to me.”
The other man was ashamed and quickly took the small plain bird out of his friend’s trap and replaced it with the colorful bird he had stolen for himself.
Then wanting to make amends, he asked the blind man, “How do men make up after fighting?”
The blind man answered, “They do what you have just done!”
- Will the blind man go hunting with this man again? Why or why not?
- Why didn’t the man who could see ask the blind man for the colorful bird instead of just taking it?
- If he had, what would the blind man have replied?
Amy Eller is a Marketing Consultant in Durham, NC with a focus on sustainable agriculture, local food movements, natural and alternative healing, local culture and art.
She has been an active Board Member for Storieswork since 2011 and an active volunteer at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center in Chapel Hill, NC where she co-facilitates support groups that use Horticulture Therapy as a method of healing from trauma. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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Amy Eller s a guest blogger for Karen Chace and Catch the Storybug blog. All rights to this article belong to Amy. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without her expressed, written permission. Of course, if you wish to link to the article via Facebook or Twitter, please feel free to do so. I you would like to be a Guest Blogger contact Karen at Storybug@aol.com for the details.