The Storyteller's Legend

Filling the Storyteller's Chalice, #365StrongStories

Filling the Storyteller's Chalice, #365StrongStories by Marisa Goudy“You look like you’re in agony, dear one.” “Oh, I’m not. I’m just… It’s the next story.”

“I thought you were happy with this arrangement. The chance to take the stage in the square each day… It’s such an honor. And I’ve heard wonderful things.”

“Of course you have! You’re my husband,” she closed her eyes and pinched at the bridge of her long nose. “I do love doing it and I feel the good of it. I just don’t have anything left.”

“Nothing left! You told me that you were born a storyteller and I’ve never doubted that for a moment since we met.”

“Oh, but you know what it is to be tired when a deep place within your mind's worn through. Like all the creative fires has been put to bed in preparation for a night that just may not end.”

“I’m a glass blower, wife. When the fires go out I bid the apprentices to stoke them hotter than ever and I make thick tumblers for the publicans.”

“Ach, you’re no help! And I have to get up on the stage in less than two hours.”

“You are the Rememberer for these people. You hold their chalice and you wield their sword. Only you dare speak all of their dreams and their fears. You know the secrets what makes them proud and what makes them glad they weren’t born to some other savage race - no matter how rich their kings or fierce their warriors.

“Tell them of the goddess you love best,” he said, leaning forward to tuck the stray curls behind her ears. “Tell the women about how she stands tall in battle and how she births a dozen sons without dread. Tell the men about the swell of her breast and the warmth of her mystery. Tell the children that she holds the keys to the fairy realm. And, when you come home, tell me how you’re just like her.”

The storyteller sighed, but as she closed her eyes, it was not with weariness but trust. Trust in the man who held her chalice and called her to take up her own sword. Trust in the stories that guided her and everyone who gathered when she raised up her voice.

Sometimes this storyteller's chalice feels empty... If you'd like to contribute a story to the #365StrongStories project, read the submission guidelines here.

The Moment a Princess Becomes a Queen, #365StrongStories 26

The Moment a Princess Becomes a Queen, #365StrongStories by Marisa GoudyThe woman drew her spine straight though no one would accuse her of slouching. She glared at the shoulder blades of the retreating clerk but soon sighed deeply and settled her face back into its usual expression of benevolent calm. It wasn’t this dreadful man’s fault that the news he carried was so bleak. She had never known an officer from the merchants’ bank to come bearing anything but vague threats and insincere apologies.

In truth, she had inherited an impoverished realm but wasn’t given a single clue about how to rescue it. For more than two generations the family had eked out an existence on the afterglow of remembered opulence alone. But even that dance with delusion had ended, finally and without ceremony. She smiled wryly to think that there wasn’t money for ceremony anyhow.

Regardless of what the bankers said, there would always be enough to keep them fed and clothed. Mostly, she didn’t care if they had to move to the castle gatehouse because the roof of the Great Hall finally caved in. Though she hadn’t realized it at the time, she had made that decision long ago.

Before she ever wore her father’s heavy crown upon her head, she married a good man who would always be able to provide the essentials of life. But, of course, she had always been raised to expect more.

Nothing but the finest dreams and most gossamer promises were good enough for the young princess. She had been permitted to marry a man for love and was still allowed to keep the expectations of a bride who had made a strategic match based on riches and position.

Only now that the princess’s fantasy had dissolved into a sovereign’s reality did she see the weakness in the story of happily ever after. Now, she had her own daughters’ legacy to consider. And what about the ancestral ghosts that would lose their home if this palace was allowed to slide into the sea?

She took off her crown and looked at her reflection in the rosy gold. Her mind made up, for the first time in her life she looked into the eyes of a queen.

The Story You Have the Right to Tell, #365StrongStories 18

The Story You Have the Right to Tell, #365StrongStories by Marisa GoudyThe words had stuck in the storyteller’s throat, and so she went to her teacher for counsel. “They have asked me to tell a story at the Celebration of Kindness and Justice. They wish me to speak for those who have suffered.” Her mentor was wrapped in furs and cradled a steaming cup. “An honor to be sure, dear one.”

“Not an honor I sought!” I have no stories to tell. Give me one, please, Teacher. You saw what it was like. You know what I must say.”

“Saw what it was like?” the old woman’s husk of a voice cracked. “My father ran the ships that carried them. I saw what it was like to be a spoiled rich girl. I saw what it was like to hate the freedom fighters and to consider emancipation a betrayal of divine right!”

“But you don’t believe that now, of course!”

“I don’t have the right to any beliefs at all. I lie in my bed and pay the granddaughter of the woman I once owned to bring me my every meal and wash my crumbling flesh. I’m too old to wonder how the story has changed.”

Our storyteller learned her craft from this elder - all the myths and the sagas and the legends that had built their little country. It was true, teacher and student rarely discussed what went on in the marketplace or spoke of rumors from the castle or across the sea. But the storyteller had learned that every tale had to speak to the joys and sorrows of the day. How had her teacher forgotten?

“The story that ends the forgetting,” she said as she rose. She could not leave the dark chambers fast enough now that she realized what she had to say. “Thank you, dear teacher. I must go!” She would not spin a tale that was not hers, but she would use her moment at the center of the circle to invite in the people who had lived and earned the right to tell it.