The Story-Tellers

In times long past, travelling story-tellers would visit the cottages in remote parts of Ireland to tell their enthralled listeners tales of heroes and villain's...everyone in the locality would go to the chosen home, fill their clay pipes with baccy...pour themselves a drink from the jug of porter and settle back to listen to tales of giants and monsters under the oceans...

They'd listen intently as the story-teller told of the exploits of Brian Boru or shudder in horror when hearing how Red Hugh and his men ate their own horses for want of food...

There were tales of ancient kings and the legendary Queen Mauve...stories of adventurers setting off across the oceans to seek fame and fortune and the mythical sea creatures who towered over their flimsy boats...

The travelling story tellers were respected and welcomed on dark winter days when the farm work was done and the tatties eaten...they were given a bed by the fire and as much porter as they could drink and a plate of soda bread and a fresh egg to fill their bellies.

There was a certain code of conduct which they adhered to...their stories were not allowed to be embellished from district to district but had to remain the same wherever they were told...they each had a couple of tales which were theirs alone to tell...they couldn't steal someone's else's stories and pass them off as their own either...

I'd like to think that a story-teller came by each winter to our street and sat before our fire on a three legged stool...toasting his cold toes in the heat from the blazing turf while the neighbours sat quietly on the floor or on the wooden settle listening to his soft Irish words...smoke from their pipes curling up into the roof space where the children and the cats lay...nestled together on straw mattresses under the thatch...

The chickens would have clucked quietly to themselves in their hutches under the dresser and the Collie dogs sighed and twitched their legs in dreams...

Now those story-tellers have gone...and huge flat screen televisions have taken their place...neighbours no longer gather together to listen to the stories of their distant past or the legends which once all sleeps wrapped in an old blanket in front of the turf fire and small children sleep in bunk beds...not in the roof space beneath the thatch with the farm cats.

16 Replies

  • Vashti,

    You have such a fantastic gift with words and the way in which you detail things make you feel you are part of the story. Brilliant as always.

    kind regards


  • Thank you very much Justin....

  • Vashti, you are today's story teller coming to each of us in our own homes via the Internet, but no less welcome. thank you, Xris

  • Thank you Xris...

  • I always feel I am part of the story you are telling,as it has already been said. You have a way with words,, Keep them coming.

  • Thank you redted...I enjoy writing.

  • I think one of your ancestors was a story tellers vashti :) x

  • Wouldn't it be lovely if it were true!

  • aye no doubt about it,, you have a gift in writing vashti , all spoken so vividly and clearly,, yet all so true,,, enjoyed reading that, :)

    regards jimmy xxx

  • I'm glad you liked it Jimmy...thank

  • Enjoyed reading as usual Vasti, keep them coming. Joyce

  • Try and stop me Joyce!

  • Great stuff, you should find a publisher x

  • Easier said than done!

  • Just love your writings and tales,I always feel a part of it.Thank-you Vashti.Blessing :) Janexx

  • Thank you Jane...I glean most of the stories I tell either from first-hand experience or from listening to the older people I meet...I'm pleased you enjoy

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