The 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.