VITG Monthly Story Swap at the Home of Jennifer Hine in Springfield VA, September 9, 2017

While Hurricane Irma approached Florida on Saturday evening, September 9, 2017, six storytellers and an additional four listeners gathered  at the home of Jennifer Hine in Springfield, VA, to share a variety of folk, fantastic and true tales. I (eve burton) started with  Sredni Vashtar, a scary story by H. H. Munro, otherwise known as Saki.

Miriam Nadel, who is working on the goal of learning a story from every country in the world, shared a very unusual tale from Albania in which there were snakes who had moved into a cathedral and wouldn’t pay their taxes. The story is called The Girl Who Turned Into a Boy and  was from the book Albanian Folktales and Legends by Robert Elsie.

Bill Mayhew followed with Frankie, the tale of how his parents met (maybe).

For a change of pace, Fred shared a personal tale about meeting an Italian World War II hero while on military exercises on Malta.

Inspired by Fred’s tale, Bill Mayhew told a joke about 3 generals, an admiral, and courage.

Jennifer Hine told Martina the Beautiful Cockroach. This is a tale that appears in many versions. Jennifer told it from Senior Cat’s Romance and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America by Lucia M Gonzalez.

Tim Livengood closed the storytelling with tales from Rocket Science Preschool.

Storytelling was followed by an excellent array of cookies, bars, brownies, banana bread, and other treats, and of course, enjoyable conversation. Thanks to all who came and shared treats and tales and, especially, to Jennifer for hosting.

submitted by eve burton

Two Fun Resources from Cricket Parmalee

Just came across these:
The wikipedia is how people begin and end stories in maybe 50 languages? (and the translations) – check out the turkish!
The storytell i just printed the openers (10 pp!), all in English, sometimes gives languages…
    Long, long ago, when some folk were already dead and others not yet born, there lived a… (Tartar)
    Now, look see.  I wad’n there then so I could’swear etwas the truth, could I now?  but etwas like this, see…  (England)
    on the other hand –
    It all happened long ago, and believe it or not, it is all absolutely true.   (Traditional Irish opening)
    [One i remembered, as it says, from the B.G. The Frog Prince]  In the olden times when wishing still helped…

Cricket tells about Dohaku’s Head

After the last story swap, Cricket Parmalee shared this with me:
“you may already know this, but – i was sniffing around, wondering when this story [Dohaku’s Head]  is from, and found what maybe the inspiration for eric kimmel’s story – in a book quoted online (when i googled dohaku’s head)
Hagakure (Kyūjitai葉隱Shinjitai葉隠; meaning Hidden by the Leaves or hidden leaves),[1] or Hagakure Kikigaki (葉隠聞書) is a practical and spiritual guide for a warrior, drawn from a collection of commentaries by the clerk Yamamoto Tsunetomo, former retainer to Nabeshima Mitsushige, the third ruler of what is now Saga Prefecture in JapanTashiro Tsuramoto (ja) compiled these commentaries from his conversations with Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716; however, it was not published until many years afterwards. Hagakure is also known as The Book of the SamuraiAnalects of Nabeshima or Hagakure Analects.
you might be interested to see what’s there.”
submitted by eve burton

VITG Monthly Story Swap at the Home of Eve Burton and Roger Metcalf, August 19, 2017

On August 19, 2017, six tellers and an additional eight listeners enjoyed an evening filled with stories about students, apprentices, surgeons and chaos in the universe.

Linda McGivern began the telling with two apprentice-tales: The Tailor’s Apprentice, from an unnamed book of English fairy tales; and The Wizard and his Apprentices heard at a fireside telling by Shay Thomas.

Jane Dorfman followed with a story from The Wonder Clock by Thomas Pyle, The Very Clever Student and the Wizard of the Dark Arts.

Changing the pace of the evening, Bill Mayhew treated us to a shaggy dog story, defined as a long, wandering tale that goes nowhere. I’ll call it The Bakery in the Desert, and it went nowhere, left us all hanging on a hill, waiting for the flood.

Cricket Parmalee told The Three Army Surgeons by the Brothers Grimm. As she explained, it was one of the Grimms’ tales rarely-if-ever, now, told to children.

At this point, I, eve burton, felt compelled to tell my tale, How the Stars Fell Into the Sky, a Navajo folktale that I adapted from the book of that title by Jerrie Oughten. It explains why nothing in the world makes sense.

Don Schumann was persuaded to give a Little Albert recitation. He told Albert’s Return,  also called Albert Comes Back, by Marriott Edgar, and is the sequel to Albert and the Lion which Don told at a previous swap.

Rather than quit storytelling before such an excellent audience, Cricket told a second “Doctor Story”, Dohaku’s Head, in which a Samurai of the old school is treated by a Doctor of the old school. I’m not sure if she learned it from Kimmel’s book Sword of the Samurai, but I know the tale is in that book.

As it was my birthday, my wonderful son Jonathan, known to many for his tellings of The Jabberwocky, The Yarn of the Nancy Bell, and Birds of America, baked a cheesecake and decorated the top with blueberries from our garden. I was treated to both the traditional Happy Birthday song and the Viking Birthday Song.

Then we enjoyed birthday cake, another cake, cookies, a variety of nuts & trail mix, grapes and clementines, and a delightful raspberry-poppyseed roll baked by our two other equally wonderful sons, Justin & Jules, at the home of their equally wonderful sister Jesse and her husband Zach. It was a tasty evening!

submitted by eve burton

VITG Monthly Story Swap at the Home of Margaret Chatham, July 29, 2017

Present: me (Margaret Chatham), Bill, Anne, Cricket, Jane, Tim, Marc with his 6-year-old granddaughter Greer.

Bill did a bunch of jokes, including “Bye, Mom”  a “true” experience at a grocery store, ending with him pulling on the old woman’s leg, just as he was pulling ours.

Anne told the story she intended to tell for Sunday school the next morning: midrash on lead-up to Noah’s arc from Does God Have a Big Toe?

I (Margaret Chatham) did the poem “The Muddy Puddle” by Dennis Lee; and Go to Bed, Gecko by Margaret Read MacDonald, learned for the Arlington Firefly Festival. (But our fireflies were done and gone. Oh, well.)

Cricket told “Two Skyscrapers Who Decided to Have a Child” from The Rootabaga Stories of Carl Sandburg

Tim told his own story about jack who wandered right out of his own geological epoch into the time of dinosaurs, to visit the home of the Three Ceratosaurs.

Marc told “The Camel Husband” from a collection of stories from Palestine in the 1920’s.

And, Margaret adds (the next day): Darn — how did I leave out Bill’s telling of Little Monkey by Frank Asch?

submitted by Margaret Chatham

Storytelling Quilt

This is a picture of the, now completed, Storytelling Quilt I made for our son Jonathan Metcalf-Burton, formerly of the Twinbrook Tellers. Jonathan worked incredibly hard to learn these, and other, stories. He is also a musician, so the characters have instruments, most of which Jonathan plays. Raven, Stork, and Woodpecker are from the poem Birds of America by James Broughton. Spider Woman and the Yellow Birds are from the Navajo tale Zinnia: How the Corn Was Saved from the book by Patricia Hruby Powell. Raven and Eagle’s Daughter are from the Northwest Native American tale How Raven Saved the Ancient Peoples, told in several versions. Rabbit is from two stories: Lion and Rabbit, from Favorite Tales from the Panchatantra by Mrudul Tata, and Who’s in Rabbit’s House by Verna Aardema. The “Long One” , the caterpillar in the tree and Elephant are also from Who’s in Rabbit’s House. And the Lion is also from Lion and Rabbit.. The saxophone-playing creature in the middle of the quilt is The Jabberwocky, by Lewis Carroll.

All of the illustrations are original designs, my interpretations of the characters from the stories.

eve burton


VITG at The Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo Park

Way back in the beginning of June – June 3d and 4th –  storytellers from the D.C. Metro Area entertained audiences at the 37th Annual Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo Park. There was storytelling all day, both days in the Puppet Theater  and also on the Yurt Village Stage. Tellers included: Janice Curtis Green, Diane Macklin, Ming Diaz, Anne Sheldon, Arianna Ross, MyLinda Butterworth, Laura J. Bobrow, Michael Fleming, Chelise Fox, Tom Livengood, Jane Dorfman, Barbara Effron, Lauren Martino, Candace Wolf, Baba Jamal Koram, Gary Lloyd, Jennifer Hine, Marc Young, The Twinbrook Tellers, Miriam Nadel, Margaret Chatham, and Elsa Sellmeyer.

The Twinbrook Tellers

The Twinbrook Tellers








The Twinbrook Tellers

Eve Burton

Miriam Nadel

Margaret Chatham


Elsa Sellmeyer




Elsa Sellmeyer










If you don’t see a picture of your favorite teller from this event, it’s because I didn’t have a photo to include. Feel free to send us pictures from this event or information and photos about other storytelling events. We love to post them on our website!