The Storykeeper

Here is a Fairy Story written and sent to me some time ago by Kate Hibbert, a storytelling friend who lives in Edinburgh. It is called:


Once, long, long ago, in a time where magical things happened, at the edge of a great forest, lived the Storykeeper. Now, the Storykeeper lived in the most beautiful house you can imagine. It was like a palace! In the gardens there were all kinds of exotic flowers and all kinds of fantastic wild animals. Many wonderful tales were told of the Storykeeper, and he was, truly wonderful.

Everyday, outside the gates of the Storykeeper's house, sat a poor, little orphan girl. Everyday, Katia wished she could go inside and meet the Storykeeper to listen to his stories. One day, she met a merchant coming out of the gates. "Please Sir," she said, "What is it like inside? What is the Storykeeper like?" The merchant replied, "Oh child, he is truly wonderful. But, you must meet him yourself to really know."

Another day, she met a priest coming out of the gates. "Please Sir," she asked, "Tell me about the Storykeeper. What is it like inside his house?" "Oh child, he is truly wonderful," replied the priest, "But, you must meet him for yourself to know these things". "How can I meet the Storykeeper?" thought Katia. "I am so poor, so ragged and so dirty. I'm not wealthy like the merchant or holy like the priest. I can never go in and meet the Storykeeper like this." And so, she continued to sit outside the gates of the Storykeeper's house.

Then it happened one day that a proclamation was sent throughout the land. "Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye. Let it be known that at this New Year's Eve, at the great Storytelling, the Storykeeper will present a diamond ring to the one who brings him the best story in all the land". When Katia heard the proclamation, she almost jumped for joy. "This is my chance to meet the Storykeeper. I'll find him the best story I can."

So, with an eager and hopeful heart she set off to find a story. She travelled many a weary mile through the forest and far into distant lands. As she travelled, her desire to find a story that would please the Storykeeper grew stronger and stronger.

One day, she met up with the merchant. "I'm going to tell a story about wealth and fortune", he said. "That should go down well, after all, the Storykeeper is very rich." But, Katia didn't think this was at all a suitable story and she continued on her way. Another day she met up with the priest. "I'm going to tell a story about living a holy life", said the priest. "That should go down well, after all the Storykeeper is a great philosopher." But, again Katia didn't think this was a suitable story either and so she travelled on.

Time passed and it was nearly New Year's Eve. Still, she had not found a story. She began to feel disheartened. "How will I ever find a story now? I've searched everywhere. Time is running out. What will I do?" Then, as Katia returned through the forest, she met an old woman. Katia didn't think she'd ever met anyone so old before. However, this old woman was very wise. She told Katia, "Tell the Storykeeper your own story. Tell him of your search. After all, you have nothing to lose. Tell him and see what happens". Katia resolved then and there to heed the old woman's advice. "After all" she thought to herself, "I, of all people, have nothing to lose". She turned to thank her, but mysteriously, the wise old woman had vanished.

The time of the Great Storytelling had arrived. Katia took her place and waited for her turn to speak. That New Year’s Eve, many tales were told of many, wild and wonderful things. Last of all, Katia told her story. She explained how she had searched for a story, worthy of the Storykeeper and how she could find nothing suitable. She told of her meeting with the wise old woman and how she had decided the only story she could tell was her own story.

As she finished speaking she looked around at the great crowd of people. Some were hiding their faces in their hands, some were silently weeping and others were applauding. Finally, she looked to the Storykeeper. To her great surprise, he was smiling at her. With a wave of his hand he silenced the crowd and stood beside Katia, the poor, little orphan girl.

"This child" he said, "has brought me the best story in all the land. In giving me a story from her heart she has given me of herself. This is the best kind of story and it has found a place in my heart." Then, taking Katia's hand, the Storykeeper placed the diamond ring on her finger.

In fact, the Storykeeper was so taken with Katia that he took her to live in his palace as his own daughter. And to this day, Katia, no longer poor or an orphan, is constantly learning stories from the Storykeeper and finding out just how truly wonderful he is.

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