It was the week before Mother’s Day, a week loaded with anticipation and guarded acceptance of not being recognized - but SASA members delivered stories about mothers and then some..
Jamie Blount stood to tell a Swedish story about a knitted hat and Anders who loved both his Mom, who had knitted the hat for him, and who refused multiple offers - amongst other by a princess and a king - to exchange the hat for a pocket knife, various services, a kiss, sweets, a necklace and a gold crown. Went home, hat and head intact; his mother delighted but his brothers not quite. They would have chosen the crown and the princess’s kiss. Oh well…
One of Carolina’s students, Tracy by name, stood “for the first time in my entire life!” to tell a story in public. It was a good one - of Harry the Hawk whose aim in life was to marry and who scrounged slivers of gold to make a wedding ring. When he met the Bird of His Dreams, he had a ring made but it somehow went lost during the engagement party. The wedding was off, and ever since, Harry has circled the skies, looking for that ring. Tracy delivered a lively storytelling performance, much enjoyed by the 17 tellers and listeners present at Wednesday’s Story Swap.
Pat Schieffer told a haunting tale of losing her key chain during a renovation of a fixer upper apartment, and finding it again after a nod from her mother. The only kink was that her mother had died a few weeks before. Goosebumps rose on various listeners’ arms.
Jane McDaniel told the ancient tale of The Prince andThe Mermaid - a tale gleaned from a modern collection and given to her by a Polish woman, washed up on the shores of Achill Island in Co. Mayo. Ferdia the Prince fell in love with Barbre the Mermaid, and kept her as his wife by hiding her protective golden shawl in a hole in the wall. When he went away to war, she persuaded her son, Sean, to show her the shawl and snatched it - thus being able to go back to the ocean. Followed by her three sons to the seashore, she turned them into blocks of stone, where they remain to this day, and where they, facing the ocean, once a year weep salty tears for their lost mother.
John Munley has traveled the world with his wife, Sarah, for work and joy; he told a true story of staying in the luxurious King David Hotel and then in a cheaper abode in Jerusalem, where he was puzzled by the automatic closing and opening of all hotel doors on a Friday, and where he and his wife lost their passports right before a planned departure from Israel. The story got kind of raucous when John told of wearing his wife’s long skirt after the guards at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher refused entrance when he wore shorts. A rather shady acquaintance of his wife, named Habib, promised to help them get passports….. a promise which was not fulfilled. John did not tell how they got out of Israel, sans passports…..
Susan Whipple told an ad hoc story - aren’t they sometimes the best! - of having her pigtails cut in an upscale beauty shop in a department store in New York when she was five years old, getting lost and looking for her mother, who wore a red hat, in the shop. Moving twice within Boerne town recently, Susan found again her mother’s red hat.
Maggie and her young sons, Finn and Gus, have been coming to SASA Story Swaps for a few years now; they are members of SASA, and both sons have developed into good tellers. Finn, 10 (?) years old, stood to tell about family camping in Oregon, and his father’s refusal to provide marshmallows for roasting on the campfire. Finn threatened to run away, which he did, getting as far as very big cedar tree. Finn neglected to tell us whether his father from then on made sure he had marshmallows for roasting …
The night, however, was kicked of with a brilliant and riveting performance by Carolina Quiroga-Stultz of a Mayan tale, IxChell and the Dragonflies. Stuck to our seats in Brook Hollow Library’s conference room we listened as IxChell the Moon flirted with the Sun, who secretly loved her. We learned that the Maya had two seasons, storm and calm, all of which were governed by Chaak, the gossiper and troublemaker. This tale had twists and turns - suffice it to say that, after Chaak released the biggest storm ever, a lighten bolt hit the Moon, killing her. 400 dragonflies - can you just see them, coming, long bodies quivering, tiny wings moving imperceptibly in the air! - picked up IxChell the Moon and took her to Grandfather, who mourned her for 13 days and nights, while the dragonflies hummed over her for all that time. Their humming revived IxChell …. The silence was palpable, when Carolina’s story came to an end.
This is what storytelling is about; exciting and moving the imagination, taking us to strange and other worlds.
We meet again on Wednesday, June 1st for a repeat of stories, tall and true. Brook Hollow Library, on Heimer Road in north-central San Antonio, 6.30 - 8 pm.