Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February Story #2: Ti-Fleur and the Fiddler

In honor of Mardi-Gras (which is today), our second story for February is a Quebecois cautionary tale about the devil called Ti-Fleur and the Magic Fiddler. This story is a variation on the classic tale Rose Latulippe when a mysterious dark stranger turns up at a Mardi-Gras celebration and tempts the beautiful girl to dance with him for all eternity.

This story was told to a modest audience during a Yule fair in Montreal in December 2008. Shayne Gryn is accompanying on guitar.

I read the first version of this story in a book called Ghostwise (collected by Dan Yashinsky), as told by Chris Cavanagh. Several years after I first started telling this story, I was asked to retell it at an event. It had been so long since I had told it last that I need to review the tale, but my version had evolved so much from the Cavanagh's version, the book was of almost no help!

I hope you enjoy this story, and if you do, please pass the link along to your friends!

Ti-Fleur and the Magic Fiddler (12 minutes)

NEWS! I'll be performing a collection of Celtic tales in NDG on Saturday February 28th 2009 (my father's birthday!). Click here to visit the Facebook Event page for it.

Here's the info about that:
    Saturday, February 28
    from 6:00 pm until 10:30 pm.
    Tickets $12 for adults (children free)

    The Anglican Church of St. Columba
    4020 Hingston Avenue
    (corner Notre-Dame-de-Grace Ave)
    Montreal, Quebec
    (514) 486-1753

    The evening will start off with a dinner including Irish Stew and Oatbread, and a special Irish dessert. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase.

    John David Hickey, a professional storyteller, will entertain us in the time-honoured Celtic tradition. Also included in the festivities will be a Celtic band led by Jim McDermott who will invite us to share in the excitement of a traditional Celtic ceilidh, including music, dance, jokes and stories.

    There will be an opportunity to admire and purchase the works of skilled craftspeople at a mini-marketplace at the beginning of the evening.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February Story: The Dark Princess

This story was told in the River's Edge church in NDG during a fundraiser we had put together for the Montreal Children's Hospital called Through a Child's Eyes. Unfortunately, the fundraiser was a flop because, although we advertised lots, we had an audience of 6 people.

But the storytelling itself was fantastic. It was video recorded and miked, so we got a DVD of the performance afterward as a keepsake.

So in honor of the upcoming holiday of Valentine's Day, I offer you this story told by Sarah A. Comrie (originally penned by Richard Kennedy). We hope you enjoy it.

News: This story was published on my new CD "The Bard's New Hat". Read more about it on my website.

The Dark Princess (15 minutes)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Neil Gaiman on Fairy Tales

On Thursday February 5th 2009, CBC's Jian Ghomeshi interviewed British writer Neil Gaiman about his upcoming book-to-film Coraline, during which they discussed the purpose and the point of fairy tales.

Click here to visit CBC's Q podcast page (February 5th, 2009).

As you can imagine, as a storyteller, I was pleased, relieved, and excited to hear such talk. Too many people in our North American society regard fairy tales, fables, and myths as only frivolous entertainment. Because they are not literally true, they are (at best) a distraction and (at worst) contain no useful information or serve no constructive purpose.

At the beginning of Gaiman's Coraline, he presents the following quotation:
“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
G. K. Chesterton
Here's part of what Gaiman had to say about that quote:
I think what I love about that is that it talks about what you are taking away with you from a fairy tale, and what the real morals are, and what functions these things serve. And Chesterton wrote this wonderful essay in which he talks about fairy tales and he says:

"They do not tell children that there is a bogeyman out there. Children know that there is a bogeyman out there. They know that there are monsters out there. They know that there are dangerous things. What is important is to tell them that the bad thing can be beaten."
It's important for kids to be taught that, but it's even more important for adults to be reminded of that. Our lives are filled with beasts, but known and unknown. Myth reminds us that we can beat our dragons if we take a stand, hold our own, and allow our courage to fuel our actions.

In this way, stories can inspire us to move forward, take risks, and enjoy our victories. I hope as you visit this site, and when you can, come see a show, that you find inspiration in the adventures of our heroes as they face their challenges.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Two stories coming up in February!

Next week, in honor of Valentine's Day, I will be posting a new story: a love story. But this story will not be told by me, but by my gracious guest teller. My lady Sarah has agreed to have a story she told a few years ago posted on this blog. Yay Sarah!

And then, at the end of February, I will be posting a Quebecois devil story that is appropriate for the season. Come back and check out the storyblog during the last week of February.

See you all then!
Copyright© 2010 John David Hickey