We humans love that thrill that comes from a safe scare. Ghost Stories give us the chance to let our hearts race, our palms sweat, our adrenalin pump and our imaginations soar. And while many of us like to go to a haunted house where teens in rubber masks jump out and say boo to us, and others like to watch a scary movie full of blood effects and CG monsters, those of us who don’t want everything done for us, we like the scares that come from sitting in a darkened room, with friends, family and strangers, listening to a master storyteller spin tales that scare us, as our own imaginations create the images the words of the story paint. Really, what could be more fun?
Of course, I know that Fall has more to it than just Halloween. There are the Fall colors that take our breath away, gatherings of families sitting around a table, heavy with delicious food and laden with memories and love. It is “back to school” and voting for our leaders. It is about cooler weather and it is about Stories. Never forget the Stories.
The Hook Excerpted from Spooky Campfire Tales retold by S.E. Schlosser http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2009/10/the_hook.html
The reports had been on the radio all day, though she hadn't paid much attention to them. Some crazy man had escaped from the state asylum. They were calling him the Hook Man since he had lost his right arm and had it replaced with a hook. He was a killer, and everyone in the region was warned to keep watch and report anything suspicious. But this didn't interest her. She was more worried about what to wear on her date.
After several consultation calls with friends, she chose a blue outfit in the very latest style and was ready and waiting on the porch when her boyfriend came to pick her up in his car. They went to a drive-in movie with another couple, then dropped them off and went parking in the local lover's lane. The blue outfit was a hit, and she cuddled close to her boyfriend as they kissed to the sound of romantic music on the radio.
Then the announcer came on and repeated the warning she had heard that afternoon. An insane killer with a hook in place of his right hand was loose in the area. Suddenly, the dark, moonless night didn't seem so romantic to her. The lover's lane was secluded and off the beaten track. A perfect spot for a deranged mad-man to lurk, she thought, pushing her amorous boyfriend away.
"Maybe we should get out of here," she said. "That Hook Man sounds dangerous."
"Awe, c'mon babe, it's nothing," her boyfriend said, trying to get in another kiss. She pushed him away again.
"No, really. We're all alone out here. I'm scared," she said.
They argued for a moment. Then the car shook a bit, as if something…or someone…had touched it. She gave a shriek and said: "Get us out of here now!"
"Jeeze," her boyfriend said in disgust, but he turned the key and went roaring out of the lover's lane with a screeching of his tires.
They drove home in stony silence, and when they pulled into her driveway, he refused to help her out of the car. He was being so unreasonable, she fumed to herself. She opened the door indignantly and stepped into her driveway with her chin up and her lips set. Whirling around, she slammed the door as hard as she could. And then she screamed.
Her boyfriend leapt out of the car and caught her in his arms. "What is it? What's wrong?" he shouted. Then he saw it. A bloody hook hung from the handle of the passenger-side door.
Story Finder Activity.
Let’s Create a Ghost Story. This activity will require: 1. a sheet of paper cut into 12 squares. (you can make more, but they need to be big enough to write on.) 2. a pencil 3. a note book 4. a friend or two Divide the paper squares into 4 piles. One the first pile of papers, write a person. This could be a general person like boy, woman, teenager etc. or it could be a specific person like mom, Jim, librarian, etc. On the second pile of papers, write a place, i.e. the forest, the beach, the moon, house, etc. On the third pile, write a scary thing, i.e. a ghost, the wolfman, Chupacabra, or the like. And on the last pile of paper, write a random object, like a ball, a pizza, a vacuum or just about anything. Do not let the rest of the instructions influence the objects, let them be random, it will make for a more creative story. Now lay the papers face down, making sure to keep them in their piles. Then draw a paper from each pile. You now have the basis for your story. The Person is the main character of the story. The place is where it happens, the scary thing is the scary thing, and the object is how the story is resolved (remember, this is a scary story, it doesn’t need to be resolved in a happy way). Now, without thinking about it too much, tell your friend a scary story using the papers. Write it in the note book. Don’t worry if the first one is not very good, it is just the start. Now let your friend do it. Then retell yours. The trick is to let your mind wander, and let your fears creep in. Remember Beginning, Middle, End. Go back and forth a few times. Each time, add more details. Write each telling in the notebook. Then set a time to meet with your friend again. Keep working on the story, adding more details, taking away unneeded details and present it at the next meeting. Have fun.
Story Quote It is though the Dark Stories we tell, the monster stories, the scary stories, the ghost stories, that we find our greatest fears. For they are powered by our fear. In turn, it is through these same stories that we also find our greatest hopes. – Daniel Bishop, the Storyteller
Books to Read The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Ghost Stories from the American Southwest by Richard Young and Judy Dockrey Young
The Hallo-wiener by Dav Pilkey
Summer News Letter 2014
The Old Navajo people say that after the first lighting storm, it is time to put the Stories away and go to work in the fields. They say that if you tell stories in the Summer, it will throw the balance off and bring on a early Winter. I am not Navajo. So I say, Bring on the Stories. I mean, What better way is there to wined down from a hard day of work then to gather with good people and hear some good Stories.
My Summer is bookended by Cons. On Independence Day (weekend) I will be presenting Stories at FantasyCon. http://www.fantasycon.com/. What fun, to tell Dragon Stories at the feet of a three story tall Dragon. I will be standing along side Fantasy authors, artists, and actors. On the 4-6th of September, I will end my Summer with Salt Lake Comic Con. http://saltlakecomiccon.com/. They say they are going to make it bigger and better.
In August I get to revisit one of my favorite stories. Old Ephraim, the Great Bear. I usually get to tell the tale many times, and this year is no exception. On the anniversary, August 22, I will be telling the story at the Thatcher-YoungMansion in LoganUtah. The Mansion was there when Eph was roaming the mountains. No doubt he was talked about in the parlor on dark nights. I wish I could hear what was said when the news reached the valley that Frank Clark, a lowly sheepherd from Malad brought down the great bear. I will be telling the tale in that house again. (Go to http://www.cachearts.org/ for ticket info.) I hope to be telling the story to the public in a couple of other locals also, but I will post that news when it is all set.
Thank you again for being friends of storytelling. Keep scrolling down to find the Story of Summer, the Story Finder activity, the Story Quote, and the Books to Read.
Until next time, May the Story be With You. Daniel Bishop, the Storyteller www.DanielBishoptheStoryteller.com Like me on FaceBook 208-540-0891 Let me bring the campfire to you.
The Story of Summer. This story is taken from THE YOUNG FOLKS TREASURY: VOLUME 1
PUSS AND BOOTS
ONCE upon a time there was a miller, who was so poor that at his death he had nothing to leave to his three children but his mill, his ass, and his cat. The eldest son took the mill, and the second the ass, so there was nothing left for poor Jack but to take Puss.
Jack could not help thinking that he had been treated shabbily. "My brothers will be able to earn an honest livelihood," he sighed, "but as for me, though Puss may feed himself by catching mice, I shall certainly die of hunger." The cat, who had overheard his young master, jumped upon his shoulder, and, rubbing himself gently against his cheek, began to speak. "Dear master," said he, "do not grieve. I am not as useless as you think-me, and will undertake to make your fortune for you, if only you will buy me a pair of boots, and give me that old bag."
Now, Jack had very little money to spare, but, knowing Puss to be a faithful old friend, he made up his mind to trust him, and so spent all he possessed upon a smart pair of boots made of buff-colored leather. They fitted perfectly, so Puss put them on, took the old bag which his master gave him, and trotted off to a neighboring warren in which he knew there was a great number of rabbits. Having put some bran and fresh parsley into the bag, he laid it upon the ground, hid himself, and waited. Presently two foolish little rabbits, sniffing the food, ran straight into the bag,' when the clever cat drew the strings and caught them.
Then, slinging the bag over his shoulder, he hastened off to the palace, where he asked to speak to the King. Having been shown into the royal presence, he bowed and said:
"Sire, my Lord the Marquis of Carabas has commanded me to present these rabbits to your Majesty, with his respects."
The monarch having desired his thanks to be given to the Marquis (who, as you will guess, was really our poor Jack), then ordered his head cook to dress the rabbits for dinner, and he and his daughter partook of them with great enjoyment. Day by day Puss brought home stores of good food, so that he and his master lived in plenty, and besides that, he did not fail to keep the King and his courtiers well supplied with game.
Sometimes he would lay a brace of partridges at the royal feet, sometimes a fine large hare, but whatever it was, it always came with the same message: "From my Lord the Marquis of Carabas"; so that everyone at Court was talking of this strange nobleman, whom no one had ever seen, but who sent such generous presents to his Majesty.
At length Puss decided that it was time for his master to be introduced at Court. So one day he persuaded him to go and bathe in a river near, having heard that the King would soon pass that way. Jack stood shivering up to his neck in water, wondering what was to happen next, when suddenly the King's carriage appeared in sight. At once Puss began to call out as loudly as he could:
"Help, help! My Lord the Marquis of Carabas is drowning!"
The King put his head out of the carriage window and, recognizing the cat, ordered his attendants to go to the assistance of the Marquis. While Jack was being taken out of the water, Puss ran to the King and told him that some robbers had run off with his master's clothes whilst he was bathing, the truth of the matter being that the cunning cat had hidden them under a stone.
On hearing this story the King instantly despatched one of his grooms to fetch a handsome suit of purple and gold from the royal wardrobe, and arrayed in this, Jack, who was a fine, handsome fellow, looked so well that no one for a moment supposed but that he was some noble foreign lord.
The King and his daughter were so pleased with his appearance that they invited him into their carriage. At first Jack hesitated, for he felt a little shy about sitting next to a Princess, but she smiled at him so sweetly, and was so kind and gentle, that he soon forgot his fears and fell in love with her there and then. As soon as Puss had seen his master seated in the royal carriage, he whispered directions to the coachman, and then ran on ahead as fast as he could trot, until he came to a field of corn, where the reapers were busy.
"Reapers," said he fiercely, "the King will shortly pass this way. If he should ask you to whom this field belongs, remember that you say, 'To the Marquis of Carabas.' If you dare to disobey me, I will have you all chopped up as fine as mincemeat." The reapers were so afraid the cat would keep his word that they promised to obey. Puss then ran on and told all the other laborers whom he met to give the same answer, threatening them with terrible punishments if they disobeyed. Now, the King was in a very good humor, for the day was fine, and he found the Marquis a very pleasant companion, so he told the coachman to drive slowly, in order that he might admire the beautiful country. "What a fine field of wheat!" he said presently. "To whom does it belong?" Then the men answered as they had been told: "To our Lord the Marquis of Carabas." Next they met a herd of cattle, and again to the King's question, "To whom do they belong?" they Were told, "To the Marquis of Carabas." And it was the same with everything they passed.
The Marquis listened with the greatest astonishment, and thought what a very wonderful cat his dear Puss was; and the King was delighted to find that his new friend was as wealthy as he was charming.
Meanwhile Puss, who was well in advance of the Royal party, had arrived at a stately castle, which belonged to a cruel Ogre, the richest ever known, for all the lands the King had admired so much belonged to him. Puss knocked at the door and asked to see the Ogre, who received him quite civilly, for he had never seen a cat in boots before, and the sight amused him.
So he and Puss were soon chatting away together.
The Ogre, who was very conceited, began to boast of what clever tricks he could play, and Puss sat and listened, with a smile on his face. "I once heard, great Ogre," he said at last, "that you possessed the power of changing yourself into any kind of animal you chose--a lion or an elephant, for instance."
"Well, so I can," replied the Ogre.
"Dear me! how much I should like to see you do it now," said Puss sweetly.
The Ogre was only too pleased to find a chance of showing how very clever he was, so he promised to transform himself into any animal Puss might mention.
"Oh! I will leave the choice to you," said the cat politely. Immediately there appeared where the Ogre had been seated, an enormous lion, roaring, and lashing with its tail, and looking as though it meant to gobble the cat up in a trice. Puss was really very much frightened, and, jumping out of the window, managed to scramble on to the roof, though he could scarcely hold on to the tiles on account of his high-heeled boots.
There he sat, refusing to come down, until the Ogre changed himself into his natural form, and laughingly called to him that he would not hurt him. Then Puss ventured back into the room, and began to compliment the Ogre on his cleverness.
"Of course, it was all very wonderful," he said, "but it would be more wonderful still if you, who are so great and fierce, could transform yourself into some timid little creature, such as a mouse. That, I suppose, would be quite impossible ?"
"Not at all," said the vain Ogre; "one is quite as easy to me as the other, as I will show you." And in a moment a little brown mouse was frisking about all over the floor, whilst the Ogre had vanished.
"Now or never," said Puss, and with a spring he seized the mouse and gobbled it up as fast as he could.
At the same moment all the gentlemen and ladies whom the wicked Ogre had held in his castle under a spell, became disenchanted. They were so grateful to their deliverer that they would have done anything to please him, and readily agreed to enter into the service of the Marquis of Carabas when Puss asked them to do so.
So now the cat had a splendid castle, which he knew to be full of heaped-up treasures, at his command, and ordering a magnificent feast to be prepared, he took up his station at the castle gates to welcome his master and the royal party. As soon as the castle appeared in sight, the King enquired whose it was, "For," said he, "I have never seen a finer."
Then Puss, bowing low, threw open the castle gates, and cried:
"May it please your Majesty to alight and enter the home of the most noble the Marquis of Carabas."
Full of surprise, the King turned to the Marquis. "Is this splendid castle indeed yours?" he asked. "Not even our own palace is more beautiful, and doubtless it is as splendid within as without."
Puss then helped his Majesty to alight, and conducted him into the castle, where a group of noble gentlemen and fair ladies were waiting to receive them. Jack, or the Marquis as he was now called, gave his hand to the young Princess, and led her to the banquet.
Long and merrily they feasted, and when at length the guests rose to depart, the King embraced the Marquis, and called him his dear son; and the Princess blushed so charmingly and looked so shy and sweet, that Jack ventured to lay his heart and fortune at her feet.
And so the miller's son married the King's daughter, and there were great rejoicings throughout the land.
On the evening of the wedding-day a great ball was given, to which princes and noblemen from far and near were invited. Puss opened the ball, wearing for the occasion a pair of boots made of the finest leather, with gold tassels and scarlet heels. I only wish you could have seen him.
When the old King died, the Princess and her husband reigned in his stead, and their most honored and faithful friend at Court was Puss himself, for his master never forgot to whom he owed all his good fortune: He lived upon the daintiest meat and most delicious cream, and was petted and made much of all the days of his life, and never again ran after mice and rats, except for exercise and amusement.
Story Finder Activity. Let’s find a Story about ourselves. This activity will require:
A bag. (a paper grocery sack or a small duffle bag works great.)
A lot of stuff.
A note book and pencil
Give the bag to your friend. Have that friend go through your house and place things into the bag. The things don’t have to be anything important, but they can be. Do Not Watch. Try not to break anything, as that makes this activity hard to do. When the bag has a good about of stuff in it, take it back. Reach into the bag and pull out an item. Tell your friend the first story that comes into your head. Do Not Make this Difficult. What ever story jumps into your head, tell that story. Then write down the story in the note book. Repeat until the note book is full or the bag is empty. Now switch places. When you’re done, you will have a note book full of memories and antidotes ready to be molded into Stories.
Story Quote. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of [the bogey man]. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear. -- G. K. Chesterton
Books to Read.
The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain Book 1) by Lloyd Alexander
The Practical Princess and Other Liberating Fairy Tales by Jay Williams
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Spring Newsletter 2014
Welcome to Spring!
First off, I want to welcome all my new friends from Salt Lake Comic Con FanX. What a blast that was. The costumes, the panels, the guests... and the Stories. I was able to tell some Ghost Stories and some Urban Legends to packed rooms. It was interesting to tell scary stories to people who were dressed scarier than the stories, but that is Comic Con. But I also heard some great stories from you. Many people stopped by my booth and told me their ghost stories and I also heard some Bigfoot stories as well. If you have stories, I want to hear them.
Spring is my favorite season of the year. Why you ask? Is it because the long Winter is over? No. Is it because I can now send my kids outside to play? No. It is because of the variety. One day it can be in the 70s with a brilliant blue sky and the next it can be in the 20s and snowing like the dickens. Variety is the spice of life and it keeps us on our toes. Spring is also the time of year when we start gathering around campfires. Some of us go up into the mountains, some of us head down to the lake, and some of us head to the park or backyard with the grill, but there are always stories to be had. My wife gave me a hat that gives advice from a campfire: “Radiate warmth, Bring people together, Don’t burn out and Always Tell Good Stories.”
I don’t have any big shows coming up this Spring, I’m taking some time for some personal maintenance, but look for the Summer Newsletter and I will tell you of some big things happening then.
Thank you again for being friends of storytelling. Keep scrolling down to find the Story of Spring, the Story Finder activity, the Story Quote, and the Books to Read.
This story comes from The Brothers Grimm:The Bremen Town Musicians.
A certain man had a donkey, which had carried the corn-sacks to the mill indefatigably for many a long year. But his strength was going, and he was growing more and more unfit for work. Then his master began to consider how he might best save his keep. But the donkey, seeing that no good wind was blowing, ran away and set out on the road toBremen. There, he thought, I can surely be a town-musician.
When he had walked some distance, he found a hound lying on the road, gasping like one who had run till he was tired. What are you gasping so for, you big fellow, asked the donkey.
"Ah," replied the hound, as I am old, and daily grow weaker, and no longer can hunt, my master wanted to kill me, so I took to flight, but now how am I to earn my bread."
"I tell you what," said the donkey, "I am going to Bremen, and shall be town-musician there. Go with me and engage yourself also as a musician. I will play the lute, and you shall beat the kettle-drum."
The hound agreed, and on they went. Before long they came to a cat, sitting on the path, with a face like three rainy days. "Now then, old shaver, what has gone askew with you," asked the donkey.
"Who can be merry when his neck is in danger," answered the cat. "Because I am now getting old, and my teeth are worn to stumps, and I prefer to sit by the fire and spin, rather than hunt about after mice, my mistress wanted to drown me, so I ran away. But now good advice is scarce. Where am I to go?"
"Go with us to Bremen. You understand night-music, you can be a town-musician."
The cat thought well of it, and went with them. After this the three fugitives came to a farm-yard, where the cock was sitting upon the gate, crowing with all his might.
"Your crow goes through and through one," said the donkey. "What is the matter?"
"I have been foretelling fine weather, because it is the day on which our lady washes the child's little shirts, and wants to dry them," said the cock. "But guests are coming for Sunday, so the housewife has no pity, and has told the cook that she intends to eat me in the soup tomorrow, and this evening I am to have my head cut off. Now I am crowing at the top of my lungs while still I can."
"Ah, but red-comb," said the donkey, "you had better come away with us. We are going to Bremen. You can find something better than death everywhere. You have a good voice, and if we make music together it must have some quality."
The cock agreed to this plan, and all four went on together. They could not reach the city of Bremen in one day, however, and in the evening they came to a forest where they meant to pass the night. The donkey and the hound laid themselves down under a large tree, the cat and the cock settled themselves in the branches. But the cock flew right to the top, where he was most safe.
Before he went to sleep he looked round on all four sides, and thought he saw in the distance a little spark burning. So he called out to his companions that there must be a house not far off, for he saw a light.
The donkey said, "If so, we had better get up and go on, for the shelter here is bad." The hound thought too that a few bones with some meat on would do him good.
So they made their way to the place where the light was, and soon saw it shine brighter and grow larger, until they came to a well-lighted robbers house. The donkey, as the biggest, went to the window and looked in.
"What do you see, my grey-horse?" asked the cock.
"What do I see?" answered the donkey. "A table covered with good things to eat and drink, and robbers sitting at it enjoying themselves."
"That would be the sort of thing for us," said the cock.
Then the animals took counsel together how they should manage to drive away the robbers, and at last they thought of a plan. The donkey was to place himself with his fore-feet upon the window-ledge, the hound was to jump on the donkey's back, the cat was to climb upon the dog, and lastly the cock was to fly up and perch upon the head of the cat.
When this was done, at a given signal, they began to perform their music together. The donkey brayed, the hound barked, the cat mewed, and the cock crowed. Then they burst through the window into the room, shattering the glass.
At this horrible din, the robbers sprang up, thinking no otherwise than that a ghost had come in, and fled in a great fright out into the forest.
The four companions now sat down at the table, well content with what was left, and ate as if they were going to fast for a month.
As soon as the four minstrels had done, they put out the light, and each sought for himself a sleeping-place according to his nature and what suited him. The donkey laid himself down upon some straw in the yard, the hound behind the door, the cat upon the hearth near the warm ashes, and the cock perched himself upon a beam of the roof. And being tired from their long walk, they soon went to sleep.
When it was past midnight, and the robbers saw from afar that the light was no longer burning in their house, and all appeared quiet, the captain said, we ought not to have let ourselves be frightened out of our wits, and ordered one of them to go and examine the house.
The messenger finding all still, went into the kitchen to light a candle, and, taking the glistening fiery eyes of the cat for live coals, he held a Lucifer-match to them to light it. But the cat did not understand the joke, and flew in his face, spitting and scratching. He was dreadfully frightened, and ran to the back-door, but the dog, who lay there, sprang up and bit his leg. And as he ran across the yard by the dunghill, the donkey gave him a smart kick with its hind foot. The cock, too, who had been awakened by the noise, and had become lively, cried down from the beam, "Cock-a-doodle-doo."
Then the robber ran back as fast as he could to his captain, and said, "Ah, there is a horrible witch sitting in the house, who spat on me and scratched my face with her long claws. And by the door stands a man with a knife, who stabbed me in the leg. And in the yard there lies a black monster, who beat me with a wooden club. And above, upon the roof, sits the judge, who called out, bring the rogue here to me. So I got away as well as I could."
After this the robbers never again dared enter the house. But it suited the four musicians of Bremen so well that they did not care to leave it any more. English translation by Margaret Hunt
The Story Finder:
Let’s find a fun childhood personal story. For this activity you will need:
3 sheets of paper A pencil A telephone A box of crayons or colored pencils (optional)
On one sheet of paper, write down all the story ideas you find.
On the second sheet of paper draw a large square. Now pick one of the following: Childhood bedroom, school playground, best friend’s living room, or family vacation motel room. Draw a map of selected location; remember to place everything in its right place. Do forget the little things, for example: where did you keep your good shoes, best hiding place, hole. Color it if you wish. (Need not be to scale) Number each item on the map with a nice clear number.
On the third sheet of paper, using the numbers on the map, make a list of each item. Describe it with as much detail as you can, color, size, texture, smell, oddities, and everything else you can remember about it. If you need help remembering all the details, call the people you shared this place with: parents, siblings, or friends. Now go down the list and ask “Why did I remember this?” for each item. Let the stories start to flow. Pick a story and make it a complete story by giving it a Beginning, Middle and End. Repeat.
“I am a teller of stories...a weaver of dreams. I can dance, sing, and in the right weather stand on my head. I know seven words of Latin. I have a little magic and a trick or two. I know the proper way to meet a dragon, can fight dirty but not fair, and once swallowed thirty oysters in a minute. I am not domestic. I am a luxury, and in that sense, Necessary.” ― Jim Henson's The Storyteller
Books to Read:
The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen.
Too Good to Be True: The Colossal Book of Urban Legends by Jan Harold Brunvand
And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss
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