One of my favorite shows is Jim Henson’s Story Teller. Each episode started with the old storyteller recounting an old European Fairy Tale to his dog and us – the audience. The Dog of course was a muppet and the storyteller well he was the actor John Hurt. The series was a success because it brought to life a lot of the fairy tales and amazing stories.
Several tales were told and at one point the series came to storyteller’s story. And its tale was called A Story Short.
It goes like this…
The Storyteller and the Beggar tricked the cook into giving them food by telling him they could make the most wonderful soup from a stone. Needless to say the Cook was mad when realized he had been fooled by the Storyteller and the Beggar.
Taken before the King and his court the storytller retold what happened and the King and his court was so amused that they did not punish the Storyteller and the Beggar. Instead , much to the frustration of the Cook, they were each given a golden coin and set free – on the condition that the Storyteller would tell a story everyday for about a year. Each story would earn the Storyteller a golden coin. However, should the Storyteller fail to tell a story he would then be taken to the Cook’s kitchen and bee placed in a man-sized kettle of boiling oil – the Cook kept such a kettle for special occassions – parties and feasts not for executions, but the Cook was angry so he was just as willing to use it for torture and death for this occassion.
A year nearly passed: It was the last day for the Storyteller to tell his story but alas he had ran out of stories – there were no stories in him. And from his mindseye he could imagine the Cook and his man-sized kettle bubbling with oil.
The Storyteller walked, hopped and bumped about. Trying to get a story out but there was none. Suddenly a knock was heard it was theBeggar.
It was his Old Friend theBeggar and he came on the day of all days to gamble. The Storyteller who was out of stories obliged theBeggar.
But he lost
And he lost
And he lost
Till all of his Gold coins brlonged to theBeggar
TheBeggar then told him to try again and try to recover his lossed by betting his wife. The wife agreed. The Storyteller reluctanly agreed.
But he lost
The Storyteller who had no stories to tell, who last all his money and who recentlty loss his wife was despondent. But theBeggar yold him why not bet himself so he can recover all his belongings – especially his wife whom he treasured so much.
But he lost
TheBeggar then turned the Storyteller into a hare and placed him into his bag.
Then theBeggar went to see the Cook, who was busy boiling the oil. As theBeggar went inside the kitchen he tranformed the Storyteller into a flea. And theBeggar also began his prank on the Cook. The Cook was left with less an ear, less a few fingers from the prank.
Naturally, theBeggar was taken to court where he played a prank on the King. Making his heir disappear.
But pranks are pranks. And within a few moments – as fast as three swishes of a lambs tail or even a dragon if it is more appropriate – everything was restored. The King’s son soon appeared, A wiser and more humble Cook was restored all his body parts, and the Storyteller ceased to become a flea and returned as a man.
And before the King and his Court the Storyteller told the everyone the day the stories ran out and his adventures thereafter.