The Animals’ Dam

The Animals’ Dam

A story today from my home, South Africa. One of the interesting things about many African tales, especially those from southern Africa, is that many of them feature animals with all-too-human qualities. Different animals have different reputations, too. Jackal is often a trickster, and so it is in this story, too.

The sources behind the story:

Saint Cadoc and the Miracle Mouse

Saint Cadoc and the Miracle Mouse

Recently, I was putting together a storytelling performance of medieval tales and remembered a tale that I had heard on a walking tour in Wales about a medieval saint called Cadoc and a mouse. With that in mind, I started my research and found additional references to Cadoc in “The Lives of the Saints” Sabine Baring-Gould. It’s not the quickest book in the world to read but it contains a plethora of interesting tales and snippets of information that, with a little research, turn into living stories of lives lived long ago. At this point, I have to say that I seldom tell religious stories but this is such a delightful tale – in contrast to some of the violent stories that surround many of the saints – that I have fallen in love with it and decided that it was a lost tale worth sharing.

There are some facts that I’ve tried to weave into the story, but whether a mouse did indeed lead Saint Cadoc to a hidden store of grain and feed a town is perhaps a matter of faith. I own the obstacles of the thorn bush, river and bog to the rather wonderful Michael Harvey, from his book Celtic Folktales from Wales 1 (Celtic Tales). I have, of course, embellished the story somewhat, to keep it interesting.

The sources behind the story:

The Making of Stone Soup

The Making of Stone Soup

In the second episode of The Keeper of Lost Tales podcast, I thought I’d include the story of the making of stone soup. Although this story has variations throughout Europe and the USA, with nails and buttons replacing the stone, I often find that when I tell the story to both children and adults in Austria and South Africa, the story is largely unknown. So much for assuming that it’s a story everyone knows! With that in mind, here is a simple version to hear and enjoy.

A few story sources:

There are many, many sources for this story. Here are a few:

  • Sweden: The Old Woman and the Tramp Source from Gabriel Djurklou, Fairy Tales from the Swedish, translated by H. L. Brækstad (London: William Heinemann, 1901), pp. 33-41.
  • Ireland: Limestone Broth, from Machael MacDonagh, Irish Life and Character (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1898), pp. 322-23. and Gerald Griffin, The Collegians; or, The Colleen Bawn, a Tale of Garryowen (New York: The Century Company, 1906), pp. 247-48.
  • USA: Stone Soup from Alexander Hunter, Johnny Reb and Billy Yank (New York and Washington: The Neale Publishing Company, 1905), pp. 284-86.
  • And of course, there are hundreds of adaptations in picture book format, ideal for younger readers and listeners…

 

The Story Sack

The Story Sack

In this first episode of The Keeper of Lost tales, I tell a variation of Faithful John or Faithful Johannes, mixing it with a wonderful Korean tale about a boy who loves stories so much that he traps them in a story bag…  This story is one that I’ve told on a number of occasions to both adults and children, and I thought that it was an apt story to start with because I spend so much researching and uncovering (lost) stories, but often only have a handful of opportunities to tell the stories.

Story sources for today: