November brings us Tellabration!–the celebration of storytelling that’s now worldwide. New Haven is hosting all types of storytelling events over the next couple of weeks. Tonight, Julie and I caught one with 3 storytellers, each with a distinct style and mode of storytelling.
Jennifer Munro, an English teller, told a sweet, country tale about what happens when a woman learns to read. Historical narratives fuel the stories of Carol Birch, tonight about Harlan County, Kentucky miners unionizing and how their powerful anthem “Which Side Are You On?” came to be.
Motoko‘s stories of Japanese culture appealed to me the most. I particularly loved the story of Mr. Stingy who apprenticed himself to Master Miser.
Just a tidbit? Well, okay. Mr. Stingy was too cheap to buy fried fish to go with his white rice. But he loved to sit outside the restaurant that made the fried fish eating his white rice, because the smell was so wonderful. After all, he told the shop owner, everyone knows smell is important to food tasting good. The restauranteur insisted he be paid, as the delicious smell had value.
Master Miser said certainly he would pay. He counted out the number of coins, but instead of handing them to the fish chef, he placed them in a bag and jingled it. After all, he told the man (mentoring Mr. Stingy), just as the smell of fried fish has value, so does the sound of money.
Her story reminded me of the Yiddish folktales about Chelm, the village of fools. I love stories that make fun of human foibles. How else are we to learn to laugh at ourselves?
So for a laugh or a song or a tear, go hear a story this month, and then tell me your favorites.