I began my storytelling career in 1981.The Shoreham-Wading River Middle School cast me as Hans Christian Anderson in the musical play by the same name. Up until that point in my life (all 30 years of it) I had never acted in a play. I was enthralled by the focus of the audience as I played my part and told Anderson’s stories and sang the songs from the play. It prompted me to read up as much as I could about storytelling and go, that October, to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.
When I returned I was all set to tell stories in my classroom. I read a Jack Tale from the book Jack Tales, by Richard Chase entitled, “Jack and the Doctor’s Girl”. It was a fairly long story that was sort of broken into two sections. Part one dealt with how Jack linked up with some robbers to get the $1,000 needed to allow him to see the doctor’s daughter. The second part had to do with Jack proving to the doctor that his getting the $1,000 through trickery wasn’t a fluke.
I read the story a couple of times through and then decided that I would break it into two learning sessions. I focused on the first part solely. I thought I could learn it, tell it in class and then stop at the end of part one. I would then learn the next part for the following week and finish telling the story. As in most Jack tales, it didn’t quite work out that way.
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