February 2012 Stories at Fern

With the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day still upon us Shirley Routliffe hosted an evening of stories in which love and honour were well represented.

Jennifer Ferris opened the meeting with her story of “Lazy Jack”, a dreamer, who  produced a surprise ending that saw him  lead a donkey laden with baskets filled with gold to his loving mother who had declared repeatedly (with fine audience participation), “Jack, I love you dearly, but you have a lot to learn.”

“It could have been me!” might have been the title of Donna McCaw’s story “Einstein’s Brain”, for though she encountered that brain encased in a glass jar, displayed in a small room in New York she ignored its plea for rescue and the offer of a sure-fire way to “break the bank” in Las Vegas.

In Lee Porteous’ story “the Sword of Wood” a poor cobbler meets his king’s final challenge with quick wit and a sword of wood he himself had fashioned. Ordered to act as “executioner”, the cobbler shouted, “Let this blade turn to wood, if this man be innocent!” as he unsheathed the sword.

Love changes form and endures in “The Blue Faience Hippotatmus”, an Egyptian tale of a young hippopotamus’ love for a princess.  From Alice Kane’s collection: “The Dreamer Awakes” and presented  by Catherine Sheehan in her inimitable gentle style.

Celebrating both female heroines and lateral thinking, Jacquie Hunt presented the story of “The Maiden Wiser than the Tsar” a story that, though set in Russia, has a number of parallels in storytelling.  Outwitting the Tsar in all the tests he is setting her, the maiden wins his admiration and love, including the final test of showing her ongoing loyalty and devotion.

To help those wishing to pursue the study of lateral thinking, Jacquie left slips to show her favorite reference www.folj.com/lateral that offers a truly awesome list.

“Love Story” is the title Victoria Cownden gave her signature animated account of her return from a trip to Europe to be greeted in Vancouver airport by Sean. Taking us back to times when airports had neither security checks nor carefully guarded entries or exits, her vivid account swept us along with her to see Sean leaping over the barrier to embrace her and enjoy the applause of her fellow travelers as they walked out together to go home to Victoria and 32 years of loving marriage.

The TEA BREAK had us return to the familiar kitchen setting and the sociability of gathering in one crowded place to partake of the refreshments.  Katherine McGinnis and Faye Mogensen hosted this time-honoured gathering between stories, ly helped by prepoured cups of tea and cake accompanied by enthusiastic chat. So, KEEP IT SIMPLE  is  the motto for refreshment volunteers to make the job less daunting for themselves and an enjoyable social break for all.

In “Silent Bianca” Sandra Johnson drew a sparkling picture of the Ice Maiden Bianca proving both her love and her wit to melt the resistance of those who would bar her from becoming the queen of the king and his heart.

“ The Amber Witch” a folktale from the Baltic Sea, tells of the fisherfolks’ understanding of how the Baltic treasure, amber, is brought from the depths to be found on the beaches. In their imagination, an old crone scatters it from her black apron as she dances in the Southwesterly gales, but when a young fisherman goes out in the storms to learn her secrets, he is bewitched by a beautiful young woman in a golden dress who bids him dance with her and eventually leads him over the waves to her palace beneath the sea. “But the fisherfolk said that he drowned.” Told by Janna, once a Dane living on the shores of the Baltic.

Nejama Ferstman offered a beautifully detailed African version of the “Cinderella” theme in “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters” – Nyasha kind, Manyara selfish and rude. Virtue is rewarded as Nyasha responds with kindness to the trials set by the king himself along the route to the court to help him choose a bride. As Manyara’s rudeness earns her a servant’s post in the court, the tale is said to be offered as “a lesson to children.”

Pat Carfra’s Guitar and her lovely rendering of  – “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair” brought a delightful evening to a close.

Anne Forester

With kind and most welcome input from Catherine McGinnis, Sandra Johnson and skillful editing by Janna

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