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Friday, September 30, 2011

Now for something just for fun!

Remember the old "How many ... does it take to change a lightbulb?" jokes? 

I wrote this in reply to a challenge on the international email list for storytellers, Storytell , about taking storytellers changing the lightbulb and turning it into a story.  This uses many a time-honored folktale element and also looks ahead to Halloween.

This is LoiS with her international storyteller sisters, including Csenge Zalka from Hungary.  (Left to right: Erika Todd of MI; LoiS; Csenge Zalka; Nicole Hofeldt of MN; Danielle Todd of MI -- taken at Northlands in WI, 2008)
Storytellers are a family no matter where we are.
Enjoy the tale!

Once upon a time, long ago, but not so long ago that there wasn't electricity, there was a lightbulb.  A lightbulb that all agreed needed changing, but ALAS! nobody felt like changing it.  A summons was sent out throughout the land of stories about changing this lightbulb promising riches & fame to whomever would dare to change this lightbulb.  Many, oh so many considered it, but gave it up as unworthy of their time and effort. Would this lightbulb ever be changed?

In a distant and far away corner the challenge was heard by a storyteller, the youngest in a family of storytellers.  "I'll go!", volunteered the youngest child, but everybody else in the family laughed for they knew this young storyteller had barely learned to tell a fable, much less change a lightbulb through the power of storytelling.

Despite the derision of brother and sister storytellers, the youngest storyteller set out on the long journey with barely a crust of bread & a bottle of water for sustenance.  Along the way the young storyteller came upon an old woman, who asked, "Could you spare me some of your food?"

"Yes, certainly," agreed the young storyteller, "but while you eat it you must promise to listen to my tale about the changing of the lightbulb."

Hours later the old woman begged to have the story stop and, when the young storyteller insisted there was still more to the story, she gave a magic potion that she promised would bring success if drunk upon seeing the lightbulb.  Remembering that the gifts of elders often made all the difference in stories, the young storyteller stopped to thank the old woman. The instant the young storyteller stopped to get a breath and thank the old woman, she vanished.  (Obviously grateful to have escaped!)

On the young storyteller travelled until at last the lightbulb was in view. A crowd had gathered nearby, telling ghost stories in the dark, convinced that light would never return.  The young storyteller felt the attraction of the ghost stories and was about to weaken, already planning to tell some stories that were only told at home in the far away land from which the young teller had come.  The audience turned and looked at the youngest storyteller.  How often they had wished for new stories and young storytellers!

Just then the young storyteller remembered the potion the old woman had so generously provided.  A sip, a gulp and it was drained.  Instantly the fog cleared in the brain of the young storyteller.  The mission to change the lightbulb was recalled and quickly the bulb was grasped.  A few twists and the bulb was unscrewed.  The replacement bulb was laying there and just as quickly screwed in.  The young storyteller bowed to the crowd, but they all started to go away, muttering about the futility of telling ghost stories in such bright light.

Fame and riches might go to someone bold enough to remember that their mission was to change a lightbulb, but ALAS! if that person hopes to become a storyteller, it is hard to gain an audience for ghost stories that end unhappily ever after.  Ah, but of course, "That's another story..."

Happy telling to you, too!


Anonymous said...

I would like to clarify--in the picture you have in your most recent post as of right now, next to Danielle Todd is actually Nicole Hofeldt, younger sister to Michelle (that's me.) If you could change the caption, that'd be great! Thanks.


Lois Sprengnether Keel said...

Thanks, Michelle, and my apologies for mixing up the two of you. Couldn't get to Danielle to verify, so I relied on the memory of others to get the right name. I've known Danielle for a long time. Danielle and Nicole hung out together at the conference and I enjoyed meeting her. Folks say I'm "high energy", but putting all the energy of this group together nearly blew the roof off the conference center. Maybe that's why a tornado took place nearby!