Storytelling is described as a unique human skill that is shared between people and is one of civilisation’s oldest art forms. It is an art form that brings words and the world to life, stimulates the imagination and builds a sense of community between tellers and listeners. Stories have been shared in every culture and have been used as entertainment, education, imparting morals and preserving a particular culture.
With oral storytelling being one of the most ancient art forms and with the school of storytelling describing a storyteller as being not just a teller of tales but also an entertainer, a teacher and a healer with a long spiritual tradition, it’s no surprise that these are the characteristics of two of the main characters in Denny Bradbury’s book “Borvo II” – Borvo himself, the spiritual healer, and Seofon, Borvo’s good friend and a travelling storyteller by profession.
When Borvo tells his story of how Mairwen and Yssild came to be his travelling companions, he “would not be rushed and (he) would tell the story in his own time”. His sister Sunny finds his storytelling too long though and grows impatient with his method, declaring “Come brother, your story lacks the telling. Seofon would have us in the palm of his hand by now.” As Denny Bradbury says in Chapter Nine ‘Seofon makes amends’: “ Seofon was an old man…He moved sometimes like a shadow where no one could see and when he considered that he was among friends he blew in like a tornado of colour and music and song. His stories were legends as was he himself.”
Stories are a means of bringing people together – nowadays one of the first things people do with babies when trying to get them into a bedtime routine is to read them a bedtime story; for children starting school for the first time, the one thing teachers’ place emphasis on is parents taking the time to read to children at night. Stories can be as creative or as imaginative as you would like them to be – a good book can be the anecdote to a bad day; a story you are told when you are a child can be something you remember for the rest of your life. Stories can be magical, informative, factual, and timeless, feeding one’s imagination and growing one’s vocabulary. As Denny Bradbury writes about the Welsh people Seofon encountered on his travels “He loved their stories and their songs; their culture was meat and drink to him.”
The art of storytelling – centuries old and as strong as ever.