All is fair in love and war – and storytelling

The last couple of weeks have been intense with my participation in parliamentary elections in the town of Elsinore, but despite that – or probably due to that – my son and I have had some wonderful storytelling moments.

Do you know the story of the leprechaun who walked through the woods to visit his grandma, only to find a wolf in her stead? Or the story of the monkey babies that drive an assortment of fire trucks everywhere they go? It is a great joy to hear his now-four-year-old imagination at play and follow the amazing stories from a spark of well-known inspiration to magnificent new adventures.

I am reminded of the great Greek eposes or the new testaments told aloud generation through generation before eventually being committed to paper. There is magic in storytelling, hearing the words spoken or really acted out by the storyteller. Even though there was an expectancy that Odysseus would return home to his Penelope, but twists and turns of his journey were most likely varied, dependent on the storyteller’s tradition, memory, and available time.

Storytelling thrives best in the ebb and flow between tradition and change, recognition and provocation. We expect Red Riding-Hood, but meet a chubby, green leprechaun.

In our reading book after book, I believe, we sometimes forget the storytelling aspect of fiction. We forget to linger on, taste the words, follows the twists and turns – and the foray through the twilit borderland between the known and the unknown, enjoying new discoveries.

Perhaps we also forget to use our imagination when not reading – when we are our own storyteller. To me, it does not matter when the story told is a fantasy or part of my biography I cherish my role as storyteller. It is part of my everyday magic.

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