Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Posts Tagged ‘seagull’

Storytelling Starters ~ The problematic tale

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

I don’t believe in reincarnation. Not in any specific way. Yet I’m still inclined to proclaim that I’m going to come back as a seagull. I just love the way seagulls ride the air currents. I’m wooed by the haunting sound of their call, how it always speaks of the sea even as it flies over land.

On Thursday in North Pembrokeshire, I was watching the tide rippling onto the foreshore down at the little harbour of Abercastle, (Abercastell in Welsh). The ocean beyond distinctly heaving, I watched a seagull on the wet, stony beach. It stood among the reflections for ages, its eye sometimes turned out to sea, sometimes onto the spot where it stood.

Watching the seagull has brought back to mind a story I once came across in a collection of stories from Wales. It’s a ‘How the Seagull Became’ kind of story. Details in the version I read, including the names given to its characters, have long since gone from my mind. This has never bothered me. Because I feel deeply unhappy with a central aspect of it, it’s not a story I’ve ever felt inclined to retell. Yet – and doesn’t this happen sometimes? – the story still holds me a bit in its thrall. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ Looking up

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

P1070076Here’s a story I remember with laughter and delight every time I think about Laugharne, the place where the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas lived and wrote and also where the novelist and story-writer Richard Hughes had his writing-room high up in the castle walls. This story was created orally by a small group of 11-year old children.

The story:

Merlin was watching over the wall of his castle. Beside him was his favourite seagull. As he looked down, Merlin saw a family of parents and children, obviously tourists, walking along the foreshore of the estuary below. All were munching – crisps from crisp bags, chocolate from wrappers. Then as they passed, one by one they dropped their plastic wrappers onto the ground. Merlin was horrified. When the family had gone by, he sent his favourite seagull down onto the shore to bring him something else that was messing it up. (more…)

Storytelling Starters ~ The Uses of Ambiguity

Saturday, September 5th, 2015

P1070080In the depths of the ocean lived a king. (What was his name? I don’t remember.)

The king longed for company. He lived all alone. (Had he ever had a wife or children?)

One evening as he rode out on one of his tides, the king became aware of sweet sounds of music and, looking up at a house by the sea, he saw two lovely young women sitting in the firelight playing their harps. 

A longing grew in the heart of the king until one late evening on a high Autumn tide, he rode out of the sea on his finest white horse, rushed to the girls’ house and snatched them away together with the harps they were playing. (Were the girls alone when he did that? What were they called?)

When the king of the ocean had brought the two girls into his palace beneath the waves, they first felt fear, then became very sad. They missed their home. They missed the bright light of day. The king of the ocean would ask them to play him their music, but the music they made for him lacked any joy.  

After much sadness and pleading, the king of the sea knew this couldn’t continue. He must show pity. He must listen to the two young women he’d seized and return them to their home on land. But when his white horses brought them in from the sea, just as they stepped onto the land, they changed. (Did the king of the sea command that to happen? Or did the pity that the girls felt for him play a part?)

As they stepped out of the sea, the two lovely girls became transformed.  (more…)