story telling

Storytelling is as old as speech. Once upon a time, everyone was a
storyteller.

To fight boredom and keep themselves company, these early storytellers
chanted

as they worked, telling the story of what they were doing. Then "I"
stories

became narratives involving other people and the elements, and storytellers
told

tales of heros, myths, and legends. The art of storytelling evolved naturally

because some people preferred telling tales and other preferred listening to

them.

As society developed, people wanted to keep a historical account of events.
The

storyteller occupied an honoured position and his role was very important.

Tribes competed to see who could tell the best stories, which led to
exaggerated

imaginary tales of elaborate heroic feats. Gradually, some stories featured

animals to satirize tribal events. By using animals, storytellers could make
fun

of kings and chieftans without fear of retribution.

The Egyptians were the first to write down their stories. The Romans were
good

at spreading stories, as were the gypsies whose nomadic life enabled them to

carry tales far and wide. Royalty hired storytellers or troubadours who told

tales of court scandals or heroic accomplishments, accompanying themselves on

musical instruments. The troubadour gradually surrounded himself with a
retinue

of tumblers, pages and buffoons who helped him tell the story in an
entertaining

way. Troubadours were succeeded by minstrals and mummers who travelled from
town

to town making their livelihood by entertaining people with their
storytelling

performances.

Today, the art of storytelling continues as we tell stories to children to

communicate with them, entertain them, and pass on information. Anyone can
read

a story but, when a story is told, children feel a bond between the teller
and

themselves. In a society where parents lead busy lives and children are

entertained by the impersonal communication media of films and television,

storytelling can be an invaluable part of your program. An experience shared

between teller and listener, it helps children develop the skills of
listening

and encourages them to visualize the story in their imaginations - to relax
and

fantasize safely.

What kinds of stories to Beaver-aged boys like ? They don\'t care for

instructional stories that sermonize. They do enjoy stories such as \'Chicken

Little\' or \'The Little Red Hen\' in which animals or objects have feelings,
even

when they are "lesson" stories.

Children believe in magic. A kiss can transform the ugly frog into a handsome

prince. They also recognize justice and injustice, crime and punishment. For

young boys, it is important for stories to convey magic and fantasy. Like
\'The

Wizard of Oz\' or \'Aladdin and his Magic Lamp\', they can be as far-fetched as
the

imagination will take them, but they also need to have a sense of real life
and

fair play.





Tips for the Storyteller

There are certain steps that storytellers follow. They select a story

appropriate to the occasion, interests, and age of the audience, commit it to

memory, prepare the audience by sitting them in a circle, and begin the tale.

Professional storytellers generally memorize seven stories a year and have a

repertoire of about 20 stories handy at all times.

If you are an inexperienced storyteller, look for short stories with
repetitive

phrases. Choose tales that you like because Beavers can sense when you aren\'t

keen on what you\'re telling. You want stories that build up suspence to a
good

climax, preferably tales where characters speak for themselves rather than

straight narratives. Length is important - never more than 20 minutes for

Beaver-aged boys. Leave them wanting more. Generally, children\'s magazines
are

not a good source of stories because the material is meant to be read by the

child, not out loud.

When you\'ve chosen the story, you need to memorize it. It will take a few
hours

spread over time. First, read it silently and try to see the story in your

mind\'s eye by visualizing it as a series of pictures. Then learn it by
reading

it aloud repeatedly, enjoying the words and the sound of the phrases. Think

about words that may be new or unfamiliar to your audience and incorporate
their

meanings into the story so that you won\'t need to interrupt it during the

telling to explain.

Time yourself when you read the story aloud. After you have memorized it,
time

yourself again. If you use less time, you are either telling it too fast or

skipping parts. If it takes much longer, you are telling the story too
slowly.

Tell your story to anyone who will listen. Before going to bed, read it aloud

again. If you can, tape or videotape yourself telling the story.

Once you\'ve memorized the story, you are ready to tell it. These points will

help you do it more effectively. Smile and make eye contact with your
listeners.

Vary the pitch of your voice and use