September 2012 Stories at Fern

Hosted by Sandra Johnson, the season’s first gathering welcomed a goodly number of first-time listeners from near and far and a fine variety of stories.

Cat Thom and her sister Megan – dba. “Juniper Tree” – combined their talents of storytelling and song to the accompaniment of a guitar to present the story of Magus the wizard and his cousin Niko who cast a spell over the village people but cured their broken hearts at the harvest festival when the corn had yielded a rich harvest that set the healing in motion.

“A strange Servant” was the title of the Russian folk tale Victoria Cownden presented in her familiar lively style.  The servant of the tale proved to be a rabbit displayed by a desperately poor but very clever peasant to extract a hundred gold pieces from an avaricious but gullible rich merchant.

Barbara Cooney’s beloved “Miss Rumphius” came to life in the person of Janna who intertwined facts from her own life and from the original story to fulfill a promise made as a child to a legendary grandfather to travel to faraway places and, before she left this world, to do something to make it more beautiful. This she accomplishes by such bountiful scattering of lupine seeds in ditches, hedgerows and roadsides that, when next summer comes, the mauves and pinks and blues of those lovely flowers bloom in profusion to reflect dawn and evening skies for the enjoyment of those who pass by.

Visiting from Port Angeles where she is part of the team organizing the eighteenth Annual Forest Storytelling Conference, Cherie Trebon told the fable of “Tiko and the Golden Wings” in which Tico, a bird born without wings and unable to fly, receives a pair of golden wings but gives away his golden wing feather one by one to those who need his help only to find that the black feathers that replace his resplendent wings keep him flying and bring him the welcome of his feathered friends who shunned him when he displayed his shining golden wings.

Catherine Sheehan literally transported us to the city of Hamelin and embued the characters of the story with such imagination that we witnessed not only the piping of the troublesome rats from the city but the children too when the mayor and councilors reneged on their agreed payment to the Pied Piper.  Such a treat to hear this ancient story brought to life in our midst!

Commenting on the fact that Petronella is a Scottish country dance, Sheila Blake told the story of Petronella,  King Peter’s daughter – who should have been Peter – and did have the courage and determination  to set forth with her brothers. Faced with a magician who sets her three tasks, Petronella’s down-to-earth response shows her to be brave, kind and talented,  qualities that save her and free the magician from the spell that held him captive.  In the spirit of a good tale, the two married and lived happily ever after.

Invited to give a second performance, the “Juniper Tree” team once more came forward with story and guitar to tell the story of how the moon that had fallen from the sky was resistant to being hurled back into it’s place on high. Getting lusty audience participation in singing “This little light of mine…” the moon was freed to return to the sky when those who tried to hurl it up high genuinely felt they wanted to let it go.

Our former President Al, once a military chaplain, was persuaded to close the evening with a humorous story of mistaken identity when military chaplains attending a conference in Montreal were thought to be prospective German purchasers of the beer garden they were visiting merely to quench their thirst.  Rounds of free beer and plates of goodies provided by the beer garden’s owner quickly disappeared when the true calling of the guests was revealed.

Prepared by Anne Forester  and  Janna to remind us all of the wonderful stories told that evening!!

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