Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘crab’

Storytelling Starters ~ Magic eyes

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

P1000058Cast up onto the pebbles this week on one of my Pembrokeshire beaches were lots and lots of dead crabs – big ones, small ones, ferocious-looking ones, ones that made me go Oooh. I took quite a few photos with my new camera, bought because the zoom on the old one had broken, and the sight of the crabs through the camera lens reminded me of a story I’ve always loved telling to Primary-age children. I first came across it many years ago in Twenty Tellable Tales by the excellent American storyteller, Margaret Read MacDonald. In this collection, the stories are set out almost like poems making it easy to see those chant-like parts that are often repeated and where an audience can join in.

It’s the removable eyes in this story that got me. Children also love them, especially when you make spectacle eyes with your hands, moving them out in front of you and then back again as you do crab’s magic chant. Such eyes, Margaret Read MacDonald points out in her notes on the story, are usually associated with Native American Indian culture. However, it’s from South America that this tale appears to have come. Here it is more or less as I tell it except that this is in shortened form. The elaborations and exaggerations I leave to you.  (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ ‘Come on, lads’

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Playfulness is realising how stories can dance as they start to whirl between us, inviting us to join the fun and giving us energy and things to remember.IMAG3051

I recall how, at my secondary school, the very proper senior mistress who organised and led our folk dancing sessions would start getting pink in the face, especially as we did The Tennessee Wig Walk, strands of hair coming loose from her hair-gripped bun as she got the naughtiest boys to  partner her  in the dance. How her foot would start to tap, her hips to sway, her face begin to melt in laughter.

 This week, still down in Pembrokeshire after the New Year, I heard one of the funniest stories ever from our great friend, Eddie. ‘All true, of course, every word of it,’ he said as his story began to dance.

Eddie’s story:

Eddie’s story happened during the days when he and his friend Graham were in the business of catching crabs in the sea off Lower Town, Fishguard. They’d load up the crabs they caught and then take them to sell in the fish market down in Milford.

 On this particular occasion, Eddie and Graham had got a bumper catch, lots more crabs than normal, in fact enough to fill ten whole tea-chests. So they got them into the chests, covered each chest with netting to keep the crabs inside, loaded the chests onto their pick-up and set off on the road to Milford. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Crab for your tea

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

IMAG3051‘Did you bring anything back from your holidays?’ It’s a good question for inviting stories from children as well as adults. But beware! Whatever little treasures you acquired yourself, they’re likely to remain in your home for a very long time. They start off precious and they go on being precious and they also add to the stuff you’ll one day feel you need to get rid of. Take my word for it. I know.

Meantime, I remain dazzled by the sun-bleached crab shell I picked up from one of my Pembrokeshire beaches on one of my forays back home from London. Its delicacy and intricacy capture my admiration every time I look at it. It has the additional attraction that  it reminds me of one of my favourite Shemi stories.

Shemi’s stories are ones that children of all ages get absolutely hooked by. The fact that Shemi was real – he died in 1897, a well-known tall-tale-teller in his locality (North Pembrokeshire) and by all accounts much-loved – only adds to the huge attraction. So here’s that particular tale of his of which I’m reminded by my crab-shell. You can find it in a fuller version under the title, Crab Meat for Supper, in my book Shemi’s Tall Tales. (And you can order Shemi’s Tall Tales from me if you wish by clicking on My Publications on my website).

Shemi and the Enormous Crab

One day when he was out fishing, Shemi pulled a huge big sewin out of the river. But as soon as he’d hauled it up onto the river-bank, a great big heron flew down and swallowed it whole. Shemi shouted at the heron: not only had his sewin disappeared into the heron’s gullet, his fish-hook had gone there as well.  (more…)