You are welcome to contact me to create a programme for storytelling for any age and for any occasion, both for people who travel to the Norwegian fjords and for local people. I like to tell stories which connect people with the place and to show them their connection with the world, like the story of St Sunniver of Selja, or the ‘The Seven Foals’ connected to Urnes Stavechurch (Asbjørnsen og Moe).
I attended the International School of Storytelling www.schoolofstorytelling.com in England where I learned to use my voice and to find my own expression, to craft stories and facilitate performance. It was in at Emerson College, England, that we worked with creation stories from the whole world, animal stories, wondertales and our own biographic story.
Egil Sundland says ‘the wondertales tell us something of our existential situation, our deepest soul roots, our highest dreams and goals’ (Cappelen Akademiske Forlag 1998).
The wondertales help us to explain what it is that is important in life, and what is not. They are about the outer world and the inner soul landscape, held together by hidden threads of connection which often disappear, and reappear at different moments in time. The way you travel through wonder tales is often long and dangerous and it is not obvious how to reach your goal. It is hard work, patience is needed and the courage not to give up even though everything may be against you. It is about the inner will, life is hard work.
The Norwegian tale has the inner imagination of what we see, the landscape, endless woods, steep mountains, wide fields, rivers, deep fjords and an enormous ocean. Our personal paths through this can only be found by the individual who chooses their route and carves their own path.
In many places wondertales were told at harvest time in the Autumn. The most appropriate way to tell the story was in the evening, when light meets dark with closed doors and windows, and a fire. This created a storytelling atmosphere which kept the magic of meeting the story in the place with the people who heard it.
The Seven Foals
“And when he had got well past the cleft in the rock, the youngest foal said, “Jump up on my back, my lad, for we’ve a long way before us still.”
So the Ashlad jumped up on his back. They went on, and on, a long, long way.
“Do you see anything now?” said the foal.
“No,” said the Ashlad. So they went on a good bit farther.
“Do you see anything now?” asked the foal.
“Should I?” said the boy.
So when they had gone a great, great way farther – I’m sure I can’t tell how far – the foal asked again, “Do you see anything now?”
“Yes,” said the Ashlad; “See something that looks white just like a tall, big birch trunk.”
“Yes,” said the foal; “we’re going into that tree-of-life-trunk.”
When they got to the trunk, the eldest foal took and pushed it on one side, and then they saw a door where it had stood, and inside the door was a little room, and in the room there was barely anything but a little fireplace and one or two benches; but behind the door hung a great rusty sword and a little pitcher.
“Can you brandish the sword?” said the foals; “try.”
This wondertale tells us how we can transform the animal in us, through an inner struggle and overpower false directions, this is self realization. What we can give to the world is within each person, but we have to find it ourselves.
The Ashlad is the one who can go through the challenges because he has a strong soul force which enables him to overcome the most difficult task. He can resist temptation and has a powerful imagination which enables him to see the inner picture, perform and master it. Something new has been seen, and then he can take a step forward.