Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘Carmen Bernos de Gasztold’

Storytelling Starters ~ Monkey

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

Monkey 23 May 2Two separate events have brought monkeys into my mind this week. One was receiving a message from a student on the Warwick University course I visited a few weeks ago. She was getting in touch to ask me where she could find a copy of the Little Red Monkey story that I’d told in my session. She’d liked it and now hoped to tell it. But she hadn’t been able to find a copy either on this blog or my website.

This surprised me: it’s one of my favourite stories for children and I thought I’d posted it on this blog a while ago. So I sent her a copy and told her she could also find it in my book, Stories for Young Children and How to Tell Them (A & C Black).

Now, of course, I feel I must remedy my previous omission. So please look below for the story with, at the end, a few hints on how you might tell it. Also if you’d like to hear me telling it there are links to my website. 

First, though, here’s a thought-provoking little poem. It’s called The Prayer of the Monkey and it comes from the set of poems, Prayers from the Ark, that I acquired a few weeks ago. Prayers from the Ark was written in French by the little-known poet, Carmen Bernos de Gasztold. It was translated into English by Rumer Godden and, in the version I have, was published by Macmillan in 1966. Last Sunday, I read the whole set  to a special group to which I belong. We call the group Works in Progress or WIPs for short. When we meet, each of us presents something creative that we’ve been working on.

This time, I presented Prayers from the Ark. I feel the poems are ideal for speaking aloud (reciting poetry was one of my loves as a child) and I hope soon to be offering public readings of them, for example for charity concerts. I see them as fables that are in tune with one of the world’s great needs of today – that we should as a species become far more aware that we share this beautiful earth with all kinds of other creatures, both wild and domestic.  So here is The Prayer of the Monkey. But the monkey is not the loveably cheeky monkey of most people’s imaginations. It’s a melancholy monkey. It might make us think! (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Good things

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

Hooray!!! Now you can subscribe to my Blog. See below for what to do. What a pleasure this facility has now been sorted – all thanks to the ever-helpful Tim Howe. Comment, Warwick, Poems, Subscription – it’s been a week of good things.


Little Bear crop 2A comment from a reader always feels good to get. Jo had been enjoying my recent series on Getting Participation. She loves creating stories with children. She describes sitting with a piece of material and allowing the children to choose any object around the room. ‘We decide where we are, the material for example could be blue and shiny, maybe we are at the bottom of the deep dark blue sea. Each child takes a turn describing what their object may be: a cotton reel becomes a pirate ship, the pencil is the mast, the ship has sunk, the button becomes the treasure …’ And so, as Jo points out, they end up with their own story.


On Wednesday evening, a hearteningly warm and engaged response came from the students on Hilary Minns’ excellent Storytelling Module at Warwick University. I’ve been going as guest storyteller to Hilary’s course for about ten years now. The students are all studying child development for a Foundation Degree. One of the stories I did with them was Little Bear on the Long Road. (The prop I always use for this story is on the right in a painting I made of him when I was in hospital four years ago.) On this visit, it was brilliant to meet the person responsible for setting up a similar course at Telford who had come along for the session.  I believe, and have always said so, that such courses should be available nation-wide. (more…)