VITG Monthly Story Swap at the home of Bill Mayhew, April 29, 2017

Seven storytellers, six additional listeners and a couple of cats enjoyed a quiet evening of tales at the home of Bill and Maren Mayhew in Beltsville, MD, on Saturday, April 29, 2017.




Margaret Chatham, who had come from several days of celebrating Virginia’s native plants, followed by a day at the Potomac Celtic Festival in Southern MD, opened the evening with a new version of an old tale, Lutey and the Mermaid from the book North of Nowhere: Stories and Legends from Many Lands retold by Barbara Sleigh, coward-McCann, c1964, 1st American ed. 1966.



After Margaret, Bill Mayhew gave us two renditions of the same story: one a Palestinian telling, the other an Ashkenazi Jewish version.

With a charming accent, Don Schuirmann recited Marriott Edgar’s humorous poem The Battle of Hastings.

Twinbrook Teller graduate, now VITG performing member,  Elsa Sellmeyer, told Green Pea John from Three Sneezes and other Swiss Tales by Roger Duvoisin. It’s a humorous, but rather macabre tale of the conflict between a clever renter, Green Pea John, and his landlord.

After explaining that her telling was created from a compilation of Norse myths, Morganna Schuirmann treated us to her idea of what happened at Thor’s First Wedding. It was a very modern telling of an old tale.

I, eve burton, told a new-to-me tale: The Story of Rags Habakuk, the Two Blue Rats, and the Circus Man who Came with Spot Cash Money by Carl Sandburg, from the Rootabaga Stories. It is a story in which the protagonist, Rags Habakuk, is cautioned – albeit it unknowingly – that if he sells one of his blue rats, one of his daughters will marry a taxicab driver, and if he sells them both, the other daughter will marry a moving-picture hero actor. What could be worse?

Jane Dorfman gave us another old favorite The Golden Goose, a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm.

And Bill finished the telling with a tale about the Arundel family, in which young men of that family ravished the women in a convent, kidnapped them, and finally threw them overboard to lighten the load of their ship. Not exactly a story with a happy ending.

But the dessert table, to which we retired after the storytelling, created a much-improved ending to the evening. Maren shared shortbread cookies with pecans on top which she declared were her father’s favorite cookies. The Sellmeyer/Stecher family brought chocolate truffles made by their grandparents. Eve and Roger brought “tea cakes” which were really giant cookies. And there were many other delicious treats.

submitted by eve burton, April 30, 2017

Please note, the photos included in this post were not taken at Bill’s house. They are from previous VITG storytelling events, and have only been included to refresh readers’ minds as to which tellers go with which names.