The Most Precious Stones.
Back in the time of our grandfathers grandfather, when the plains were windswept and open, when the Bison roamed, before rails and wire tamed the land, before our people came across the water from the old country, there were the talespinners, the storyspeakers. These learned and wise people traveled from village to village, telling the stories and legends, making them live once more in the hearts and minds of those who heard them. Most think of them as quite old, but more than a -few- stories revolve arounds dashing young storyspinners stealing away with hearts, quick as a wink.
They would trade their stories in exchange for nothing more than a hot meal, a place to sleep and the company of the folk who listened… and usually he left a town with a story or two more than he came in with. All tales were meant to be shared, and shared they were. If a tale is not told, it crumbles to dust, it’s forgotten.
While a tale is told, Cuchullain yet lives and Scathach yet fights, The three Bogatirs still ride, and Baba Yaga still flies over the forests in her mortar and pestle. You see, while we keep the memory alive, then our ancestors live on in our hearts and the minds of our children. They are immortal. But when a story is forgot… then they, those heroes and loved ones, they pass into the night and cannot ever be recovered. It is a death in the most true sense and is an anathema to a storyteller.
This story I tell now, takes place in the winter, when the snows are deep and the people cold. But the people of Bun Dobhráin were joyful. They knew the storyspeaker was coming, and the Laird of the shore had thrown open the hall, lighting the fires and declaring a feast night in preparation. People came in from the villages for miles around to hear the storyspeaker and take part in the festivities.
When the storyteller took the stage, everyone in the hall quieted down and all that could be heard was the subtle clunk of trenchers and the clink of glasses as people ate in silence, giving the old man their attention, respectful and rapt. Then rose the cheer, traditional and respectful in its insolence and demanding nature. “Tell us a story!” they all cried as one. “Tell us a story, talespinner!”
The old man set his satchel down, his story satchel that all knew contained his stories, part talisman and part knapsack. it represented everything that was a storyspinner: Far away lands held close to the belly.
~To be finished later tonight.