In every story there is a silence, some sight concealed, some word unspoken. I believe. Till we have spoken the unspoken we have not come to the heart of the story.
J. M. Coetzee, Foe , London: Penguin Books, 1987, p. 141
Illustration based on a mix animal from the imaginary of the ancient world
Yes, of course, some people tell stories one way, some another. Perhaps it is because people sometimes separate for a while and still go on telling stories. But in all these stories about the old time, people use different words and names for the same things. There are many different ways to talk. Different people just have different minds.
!Unn /obe, storyteller of the Ju/’hoansi, in the Kalahari; Megan Biesele, Women Like Meat: The Folklore and Foraging Ideology of the Kalahari Ju/’hoan, Johannesburg: Witswatersrand University Press, 1993, p. 66
Illustration inspired by a drawing of a turtle from the Mimbres Culture
As has been stated, [among the Skidi Pawnee of North America] these traditions, along with the rituals, are regarded as personal property. They have been paid for by the owner, and consequently, according to his belief, now form an intrinsic part of his life. As he tells them he gives out from himself a certain part of his life, levying a direct contribution upon its termination. Thus, as one middle-aged individual exclaimed, ‘I cannot tell you all that I know, for I am not yet ready to die;’ or, as an old priest expressed it, ‘I know that my days are short. My life is no longer of use. There is no reason why I should not tell you all that I know.’
George A. Dorsey, Traditions of the Skidi Pawnee, Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. for the American Folk-Lore Society, 1904, p. xxii
Illustration inspired by a rock art painting in the Northern Cape, South Africa
It is true that storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it, that it brings about consent and reconciliation with things as they really are, and that we may even trust it to contain eventually by implication the last word which we expect from the ‘day of judgement’.
Hanna Arendt, “Isak Dinesen, 1885-1962”, in Isak Dinesen, Daguerrotypes and Other Essays, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979, p. xx; Arend’s essay on Dinesen was first published in 1968.
Illustration based on a Buddhist image.
The tale is an invention; the song, the truth. (Russian proverb).
Russian proverb, Jakobson «On Russian Fairy Tales», appendix to A. N. Afanas’ev, Russian Fairy Tales, traducción de Norbert Guterman, Nueva York: Pantheon, 1945, p. 649.
Illustration inspired by the art of the people Klickitat the northwest coast of America.
When I returned from Berdichov after Chanukah in the winter of 5570 (1810), the Rebbe told me that he had a story to tell.
He said, ‘This tale has only been told once before, and this was before Solomon’s temple was built. The only ones who understand it were the prophet who told it and the one to whom it was told. Even the other prophets could not fathom it.
Although this story has already been told once, it is now a totally new concept. Many things have changed since it was last told. It was told once before in accordance with that time, but now it must be told in accordance with the present” (Rabí Aryeh, editor, Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom, Jerusalén: Breslov Research Institute, 1973, p. 340).