Thursday, 21 June 2007

Midsummer Storytelling

We're all off to the park to listen to the storytellers. This is Midsummer Storytelling, and we all think it's a jolly imaginative thing to do, even though it's raining, and cold, and we're wrapped up in blankets, complaining about it being June and not April.

The storytelling is fun, too, even though the storytellers make us walk around a bit so I have to keep rolling up the groundsheet I've brought along to stop Squirrel complaining that her bottom's wet. And the storyteller doesn't throw us in the lake, like he threatened to do last week.

I'm not sure he was joking, actually. I walked down to the library last Tuesday with Shark, Squirrel and Tiger to return the overdue books that should've been returned the previous Friday, but we weren't here, and the library's shut on Mondays. When I get in, the kids all run off to look for fairy books and I spot Bal, the local storyteller, standing in the queue to return his copy of War and Peace. I seem to have known Bal a very long time, some 15 years, although I feel he regards me with suspicion, like he thinks I might be up to something, and he doesn't know what. This always makes me wonder if I am up to something, but I don't know what. If I was up to something, I wouldn't tell him. I'm sure he suspects that. So he's cautious with me, and I'm cautious with him.

But we're polite, of course. I ask Bal if he's involved in the Midsummer Storytelling that we've just booked tickets for. He says he is, but he doesn't know what stories to tell yet. Then he spies that I am clutching a thick stack of fairy books to return. 'Perhaps we could tell stories about evil fairies', he suggests. I laugh and say that would be a good idea because it might put my children off wanting the rubbish I have to read, what with 'Strawberry cup cake fairy' who's lost her strawberry cup cake, and 'Buttercup fairy' who cries when her favourite buttercup got picked.

Then he doesn't smile, but says he doesn't know whether to tell the stories to a large group or to lots of small groups. He adds that if we were in his group he might take everyone to the lake and throw them in.

Now I am starting to think he doesn't really like me again, suggesting gratuitously that he would throw me in the lake. But since I am a self deprecating sort of person I suggest I might throw myself in anyway. Then I think I've insulted him, suggesting I'd throw myself in the lake rather than listen to his storytelling. He eyes me with suspicion then.

It always seems to go like this. I recall that when we met him at the Bumblebees and Dragonflies do he suggested sticking our heads on poles. So I said I might have to get the triplets to do that to him first. And then in the woodland walk he said he was going to hide behind the trees, jump out and scare everyone, so that we'd all run away. I suggested I might have a sharp stick to stab ambushers and highwaymen.

Perhaps we just don't like each other. Or perhaps when we see each other our imaginings always get the better of us.

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