April Stories at Fern

Our April meeting, hosted by Jacquie Hunt, had a full roster of tellers.  Their lively presentations kept the audience engaged with both laughter and food for thought.

Jaya Scott, a young teller who is competing in the Performing Arts Festival opened the meeting with a spirited story of a young girl’s way of countering her father’s critical remark “It’s all your mother’s fault!”  Leading the listeners through an imaginary but hair-raising chase in a car she was not entitled to drive but that damaged every other vehicle on the road, she brought her story to a close with, ”I didn’t really do any of those things.  But nobody is going to insult my mother. “

“Trouble, trouble, trouble”  was the title of Janna’s French folk tale that poses the question, “how can someone just trying to be helpful land in so much trouble?” In the story a king who desired his country’s finest pasture for his favourite cow sends out  messengers seeking such a pasture. They encounter Marius, a young lad who loves to be helpful, and later narrowly escapes the fate of losing his head when it falls to his lot to tell the king that the cow is dead.  By leading the king to exclaim, “my cow must be dead!” Marius saves his own life and his  fellow villagers’ too.

“The Tinker and the Ghost” was the title of Lee Porteous’ story of courage and good sense ridding  a castle of its ghost, restoring the ghost’s soul, relieving  the village of the specter of a haunted castle, and gaining the tinker a vast fortune for his courage and honesty. The source of the tale was “Three Golden Oranges and Other Spanish Folk Tales” by Ralph Steele Boggs and Mary Gould Davis.

Responding to the invitation to present travel stories, Moira Walker thought of the Wizard of Oz and Dorothy’s story of coming home. She took that thought as the lead to skillfully connect that pilgrimage to the lifelong wanderings of two women – her own mother who returned home to England after a long stay in Canada and Lillian Alling who walked all the way from New York to Russia, her beloved home, aided only by the hand-drawn map maps she herself had prepared.

Deploying her delightful mimicry and humour, Andrea Samuels told two vignettes of  travels home to Jamaica.  On the first occasion, after she had lost her wallet and dramatized the agonies of worries how to get back to her flat in London, she encountered an honest man – a porter who had found her wallet and returned it and all its content only to be faced by the question, “Why didn’t you take anything?”

The second trip included Andrea’s husband and young son and a hilarious hide-and-seek game in a flat too small to hide anything, let alone a full-grown woman.  It also revealed that aside from being knowledgeable in money management, Andrea is a qualified plumber who – in a pinch – comes up with the right answers to technical questions .

Heather Nichol  took us to her home in Australia and a childhood trip to the local hospital where she had to spend six lonely weeks to be healed from a bout of diptheria.

Not even her favorite golliwog doll was allowed to keep her company, but when she arrived home, there on her bed was a beautiful new golliwog that mother had made just for Heather.

Taken from the “Annals of Edingburgh,” Van Williams brought a fine Scottish brogue to his account of the “Gudeman of Ballangeigh” as King James V liked to call himself when travelling in disguises in search of adventure. When one of the adventures went awry and yeoman John Howison gallantly came to the rescue, King James bestowed  upon him a farm on condition that he and his descendants would always keep on hand a ewer and basin in case the king passed by and his majesty wanted to wash his hands. Three hundred years later, John Howison of Braehead farm fulfilled the service by which he and his forebears held entitlement to the land, offering his Majesty George IV water from a silver ewer.

Looking back to Easter and the age-old tradition of teaching by means of stories, AnneForester used a chidren’s book by Geraldine Elschner to tell the story of “The Easter Chick” to illustrate the three things that together determine on what day Easter will fall.  Hilda the Hen, Max the wise owl and an as yet unhatched chick are the ones who convey the lesson.

Faye Mogensen closed the meeting giving a spirited account of her participation in a group telling of Epic Tales in Vancouver. Among the Norse Sagas her story was Skirniv’s Journey.

April 25, 2012

Anne Forester and Janna


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