“The trickster exists in every culture as Coyote, Jack, Hans, Nasrudin, Anansi the Spider, and many more. He or she is a teacher and a fool in equal measure.”
– So says the promo for tonight’s storytelling evening I’m eagerly anticipating…
“Trickster Tales” is tonight’s offering in the “Stories with Spirit” series – live storytelling evenings at Still Cellars Artisanal Distillery & Arthouse (say THAT 10 times fast!). In a future blog I hope to share more about this really nice combo of venue and stories. I’m excited to be invited to share the stage with two of my favorite young tellers: Cooper Braun and Ann Harding (keep your eyes open for opportunities to hear them tell – seriously!).
If you don’t know much about “tricksters” already…
A Trickster is a mischievous or roguish figure in myth or folklore who typically makes up for physical weakness with cunning and subversive humor. The Trickster alternates between cleverness and stupidity, kindness and cruelty, deceiver and deceived, breaker of taboos and creator of culture – sometimes all in one story! (Though often, in any particular story certain of these “trickster attributes” will shine more than others.)
Tricksters are found even in biblical stories – the ones that spring to mind are women…for example: Tamar, Ruth, even Lot’s Daughters.
The two stories I’ll be offering in the mix tonight are the bilingual (Spanish and English) “Horse and Bee Have a Race” (there’s a video clip from this story on my website’s Home page [“Animal Race/Colorin Colorado“]), and the story of Luceen Radley, a resourceful woman who has a – wait for it – life-or-death singing contest with the Devil – yikes! It really is a magnificent story, filled with drama and humor and motherlove and yes…though it is actually inadvertent…trickery! It’s an oral retelling of the short story “Won’t You Come and Sing for Me?” by Jane Mickelson, to whom I will be forever grateful for the permission to tell it publicly (which I’ve been doing for about 25 years-!)
Most people reading this blog post will not be able to attend the “Trickster Tales” evening at Still Cellars...more’s the pity!…
…either because you’re much too far away, or perhaps will read this way past the performance time/date…
But…beyond the admitted hope that even one person may read this and then be moved and able to come to this March 24 Stories With Spirit evening, it’s my hope that you-who-are-reading-this will…
- Learn a bit about a fantastic and rich genre of stories (trickster tales)
- If you’re in (or visit) Colorado, learn about the Still Cellars “Stories with Spirit” series of storytelling events for adults – and make it to a show sometime
- Be introduced to this creative blend of storytelling and perhaps-unexpected venue (a distillery with a performance space)
- Be inspired to seek out or create such an event or venue yourself!
Thanks for reading – Pam
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A few titles of books with stories of tricksters you may enjoy dipping into…
- The Barefoot Book of Trickster Tales – Richard Walker
- Trickster Tales – Josepha Sherman
- Scheherazade’s Sisters: Trickster Heroines and Their Stories in World Literature – Marilyn Jurich
- American Indian Trickster Tales – Richard Erdoes
- Multicultural Fables and Fairy Tales – By Tara McCarthy
Featured image artwork by Arthur Rackham