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As a busy and dedicated professional storyteller and touring artist, I have established a large repertoire of personal and traditional tales to entertain audiences of all ages. Since 1996, my work has included performances for schools, libraries, concerts, conferences, festivals and community events in several states around the country. During the past 4 years, I have developed and regularly provide storytelling programs to audiences in senior living communities, including people dealing with memory care issues. If you would like more information about my work, or if you are interested in booking a storytelling show, please send a message via the contact link below.  

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

This issue focuses on story editing and the process of developing a personal voice for a selected tale. To do this, it helps to distill the story to its essence – the bare bones or summary. As an example, I have included a 232 word summary of “Scrambled Eggs,” a Danish folktale addressing the issue of fairness. You will also find a lengthy version of this story as I tell it. These examples are provided to give you an idea of how to approach a folktale to create your voice or version of any story you find in the public domain. In the case of this tale, I have taken the liberty of substituting dollars for kroner, but if I include this story in a lineup of stories from and about Denmark, I would certainly replace dollars with kroner, and add an explanation that this is the Danish unit of money. While similar stories can be found in other cultures, I am particularly fond of this one.

Story Summary: Scrambled Eggs

A farmer once took his cattle to market and stopped at an inn for the night. In the morning he had scrambled eggs for breakfast. Since he didn’t have enough money to pay for the meal, the innkeeper agreed to wait for payment until the farmer had sold his cattle. The farmer took a shortcut home from the market, forgetting about his debt until he passed by the inn many months later. When he went to settle the account, the innkeeper demanded five hundred dollars, saying that the ten eggs the farmer ate could have become chickens, and each of those chickens would have produced many eggs for him to sell. The farmer refused to pay the stated sum, so a court date was set. The farmer found a young lawyer to represent him. On the morning of the hearing, his lawyer was late.  The angry judge demanded to know why the lawyer was not on time. The lawyer said it took him a lot longer than he thought it would to boil up the bags of corn to plant in his field. The judge asked the lawyer if he believed cooked corn would grow into a crop. The lawyer said that if scrambled eggs could grow into chickens, anything is possible. The judge fined the greedy innkeeper one hundred dollars to be divided equally between the farmer and his lawyer.

How to Find the Story’s Voice

When I am trying to find the story’s voice – the best approach for me to tell it – I often explore what it might sound like if told from a different point of view. How would this story sound if it were told by the innkeeper, the lawyer, the judge, the farmer’s wife or a member of the community?  This is also a great way to help remember the progression of a story and “see” it in your mind’s eye as you share it with an audience.

“Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry” 
Tour for 2012 Moves Forward
I am delighted to report that Buchanan Design of San Diego (www.buchanandesign.com) recently joined the “Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry” team. This talented design firm will develop our program brand and work with us as we explore grant opportunities. With Buchanan Design on board, the dream to offer a fun-filled, cost-free puppet/storytelling show about good nutrition and diabetes awareness is starting to gain momentum.

“Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry” will entertain children and families in libraries, schools and community centers across the country during a six month tour. Our goal is to book a minimum of 120 free performances, so keep us in mind when you start to make program plans for 2012.

We are currently looking for two other partners (a non-profit group and a corporate sponsor) to make this project a success. Things are starting to happen, so stay tuned for more information.

Useful Links
If you are serious about storytelling, I suggest you check out the following sites.
www.storynet.org – The official site for the National Storytelling Network.
www.story-lovers.com – One of the best sites for story research, ideas and storytelling connections.
www.timsheppard.co.uk – A site to check out when looking for a story.
www.storydynamics.com – A good place to start for storytelling information, learning opportunities and mentorship.

Story to Tell:
“Scrambled Eggs”

Adapted from a Danish folktale by Glenda Bonin
© 2011
It was a long way from the farm to the market where the farmer hoped to sell his cattle. By dusk, he still had many more miles to go, so he stopped at a roadside inn for the night. Before he went to bed, he placed his cattle in the pasture next to the inn. In the morning he had scrambled eggs for breakfast. He paid the innkeeper for the night’s stay, and then realized he didn’t’t have enough to also pay for his breakfast, so he asked the innkeeper if he could pay for the eggs on his way home from the market. The innkeeper agreed, and the farmer took his cattle and continued down the road.
After selling his cattle, the farmer was anxious to get home. Forgetting all about his debt to the innkeeper, he took a short cut back to his farm. Many months passed before the farmer was once again on the road that passed by the inn. Recalling the debt, he apologized to the innkeeper and offered to settle their account.
The innkeeper reached under his desk and brought out his record book.  “Yes, I remember you,” he said to the farmer. “You ate ten eggs. My figures show that you now owe me five hundred dollars.”
“What?” said the surprised man. “That is impossible!  Fifty dollars for each egg makes no sense.”
The innkeeper was insistent. “Those ten eggs were precious to me, and if you hadn’t eaten them, they would have become chicks. Those chicks would have grown to be chickens, and those ten chickens would have been laying eggs for me from that time to this. My figures are correct – you owe me five hundred dollars. Now, pay up!”
The farmer didn’t know what to do. He was prepared to pay a reasonable amount for being late to pay his debt, but there was no way he could come up with such a large and unreasonable sum of money.
The innkeeper called for the local judge to decide the matter, and a hearing was scheduled for the following day.
The farmer knew he would need a good lawyer, so he started asking people where he could find a person to represent him in court. The lawyers he spoke to refused to take such a silly case. At last, he found a young lawyer with little experience who agreed to represent him. He told the farmer, “Do not worry if I am a little late to court. Things will work out.”
In the morning, everyone except the farmer’s lawyer was in court to hear the case. After waiting for quite a while, the judge began to talk about putting the farmer into jail for contempt. Just then, the farmer’s lawyer came rushing into the court room. He had mud on his shoes and it was obvious that he had been running.
The angry judge asked why the lawyer was late. The young man apologized for keeping the court waiting, and explained that he had been working since sun up in his field and had lost track of time. “It took me much longer than I thought it would to boil up the bags of corn to plant in my field.”
Everyone in the courtroom laughed, and the farmer was embarrassed to have hired such a dolt as his lawyer.
The judge asked the lawyer, “What is the matter with you? Do you really believe that cooked corn will grow into stalks of a corn?”
“Well, your honor,” said the young lawyer, “if scrambled eggs can become chickens, then I think anything is possible.”
The judge thought for a moment, and turned to the farmer. “I believe you may have found the best lawyer in town.” Then he glared at the innkeeper. “For your greed, I fine you one hundred dollars, half to be paid to the lawyer, and half to the farmer.  Case dismissed.”
The story of how the farmer was paid fifty dollars for having scrambled eggs for breakfast soon became a favorite for his family to tell, and this is why I am able to share it with you today!