Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Storytelling Starters ~ Old, Bold, Gutsy and Wise

Inuit womanI don’t know much about Alaska. One thing I do know, however, is an extraordinary story about two old women who were abandoned by their people in the ice and snow of a very hard winter. The story tells how these two women survived and the enormous wisdom they showed when their people, filled with shame at what they’d done, eventually searched them out to find that they were still alive. 

Two Old Women has been retold in print by Velma Wallis, a woman who’d heard it told many times as a child. Is it a legend or is it true? In a way, the question is irrelevant. I think the story has a striking relevance for us today. It insists that skills that have been learned in the past and the experience that is gained over a life-time can be of life-saving value, reviving memory,  self-respect and determination.

Old, Bold, Gutsy and Wise:

As guest storyteller for the evening, I’ll be telling this story this coming Wednesday at Fishguard Storytelling/Straeon Gwaun, the monthly story club organised by Deborah Winter at Pepper’s in West Street in Fishguard, North Pembrokeshire. The only other time I’ve told it was years ago at a Secondary School in Chelmsford where one of the main responses of my audience was astonishment at hearing of a world and a time where there were no computers and no mobile phones and where the two old women, when abandoned, had no contact with anyone at all other than each other.

Oddly enough, I’d long since decided to tell Two Old Women this next Wednesday when I learned that creativity in maturity is to be the theme of next week’s Special Gwanwyn Festival in the area. Even more oddly, I’d also decided to tell Burying the Cat, one of the stories from my new book, A Long Run in Short Shorts, when I realised that this too is a story of two feisty old women.

Old, Bold, Gutsy and Wise is the title of the evening. Do come along if you’re in the area. Details are as follows:

Date: Wednesday, 10th May. Time: 7.30pm. Venue:  Peppers, 16 West St, Fishguard SA65 9AE. Price: £6/£4 conc.

PS: Deb Winter suggests that, after a completely full house in April, it might be safest to ring to book in advance on 01348 891348 or 07805 823706 if you want to come on Wednesday. Also those are the numbers to ring if you’d like a spot to tell a story.

PSS: My copy of Two Old Women by Velma Wallis was published in the UK by The Women’s Press in 1994, reprinted in 2000.

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4 Responses to “Storytelling Starters ~ Old, Bold, Gutsy and Wise”

  1. Jean Says:

    Always been one of my favourite books/stories – ah how i wish I was in travelling distance to join you at ‘Old Bold Gutsy and Wise’
    – what a great title — and definitely one to live up to as I enter my 70’s — I’m off to reread. I always look forward to your blogs on Saturday morning – Thank you Mary
    Jean xx

  2. Mary Medlicott Says:

    Somehow I’m not surprised to learn that you know and love this story, Jean – we always have a lot in common. And I’m so glad you like my title for the telling next Wednesday, Old, Bold, Gutsy and Wise. It’s something to live up to. Thanks so much for your message. The thing I most love about doing my blog is thinking of the people who may read it. Much love. Mary

  3. Meg Says:

    Hi Mary. It’s Mother’s Day here and refreshing to hear the title of the evening’s storytelling. I don’t know the story yet – will go looking for it – but am fortunate to have friends who are just like that! Thanks Mary

  4. Mary Medlicott Says:

    Old, Bold, Gutsy and Wise went well on Wednesday. The Two Old Women story is very unusual. I think people appreciated that. Good luck with tracking down the book (by Velma Wallis). All the best, Mary.

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