Hosted by Diane Gilliland, the May gathering of the Storytellers’ Guild had a full roster of tellers both guild members and newcomers who brought added poetry and forceful delivery to their offerings. Diane’s lively outgoing way added much to the enjoyment and Margo McLoughlin once again enhanced the atmosphere by playing her hang between stories.
In the kitchen, a new system of offering refreshments had its first run designed by Katherine McGinnis, only one kind of herbal tea was brewed in a large urn, and volunteers had been asked to confine their offerings to batches of cookies in order to keep down both cost and time for preparation and set-up. Those partaking of the refreshments joined in the usual congenial gathering during the break and refreshment volunteers will henceforth find their jobs much easier.
Lina DeGuevara was the first teller and told her story, titled “aliens” in the voice of an eleven-year-old girl, painting a vivid picture of a small village and a couple of newcomers who brought their children along, and seemed to be ready to settle rather than simply visit. Lina added a child’s amazement at their appearance and strange behaviours such as painting pictures of the village, riding horses in a storm along a strip of land engulfed by waves during high tide and never going to church in the face of the the village priest’s disapproval. But the villagers became accustomed to the family’s presence in their midst and as an epilogue, Lina confessed that these “aliens” were her father and mother and she their chubby little daughter.
In his opening statement Stefan Jaeger told us that he had created his offering in response to a school assignment to produce a poem that was an oxymoron – a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms. So Stefan joined images of an eagle flying and a brown bear that together proved just how much one can say with so few words.
Drawing on her participation in a recent epic telling of Norse Sagas in Vancouver, Jennifer Ferris brought her fantastic memory and very engaging way of telling to a story replete with the battles and skirmishes of gods and mortals in strange-sounding locations. After starting with the great God Thor slaying his opponent but ending up with a rock firmly embedded in his head, a happy ending concluded the story.
Janna’s Japanese folk tale from “long before a long ago time” titled “Taro and his grandmother” took us to a formerly prosperous village affected by drought. The old people, Taro’s grandmother among them, were labeled as useless and dispatched to the mountain to die. Smuggled back into the village, it is grandmother who saves the village from destruction by a marauding warlord by providing the answers to three riddles he has set, so validating the value of elders in their midst.
Mexico is the setting of the Latin folk tale Diane Gilliland offered. And here, too, hunger drove a villager to secret ways of finding solutions for his starving children. His adventures brought him into contact with Death in the person of Donia Sebastian and a reward of making him a curador, a healer who had much to gain as long as he strictly obeyed Donia Sebastian’s rules. When he let greed persuade him to act against these strict rules the curador suffers the consequence and Donia Sebastian comes to claim him while prolonging the life of his deathly ill patient.
Falcon o’Heera, a newcomer to the Guild presented a beautifully crafted poem that he had created after being involved in working on a production of the opera Il Trovatore that is set in Spain during the reign of the inquisition.
Prefacing his presentation with comments about the fervor with which oppressed people will fight tyrants, Martin Gavin delved into the long history of Scotland and its many battles for self determination. Including brief lessons in the pronunciation of old Scottish words, Martin brought all the passion of a Scot dedicated to his homeland and its history to his recitation.
Closing the evening on a light note, Pat Carfra offered the story of the frog king in song and expressive mimicry that elicited laughter and a great round of applause.