It’s quite lovely to immerse yourself in fables; and while absorbing the things we fear, long for, and imagine, I tried to envisage how the first stories would have been told around a campfire (no doubt whilst noshing mammoth ribs); all those glazed expressions of wonderment and sheer fright as the more elucident of the hunters spun stories for their less evolved brethren, inciting them into a furore of belief and panic – similar to the public reaction when War of the Worlds was first read out over the airwaves and a worrying number of listeners truly believed Martians had landed on Earth. Carrying my surmising forwards, I wondered if Twitter is now the modern equivalent of the Stone Age campfire tale.
My research on legends and myths from around the world never ceases to amaze me of the crossover and similarity of some of the tales. I suspect this may come down to the times when tales travelled by word of mouth rather than in paper form and as the stories circumnavigated the globe they picked-up local customs, beliefs and fears – a bit like Chinese whispers – until each story settled into its, now recognised, final form.
Have we lost or gained from the fact new stories are now scribed? Does the written word lose something of the essence of a tale as words can take flight around a flickering fire, grow wings and soar on the terror (or hope) sparked from the listener’s eyes.
As children we soak up fairy tales and carry with us the morals, analogies and warnings the story-tellers wove into the fabric of their tales; those rhymes they conjured still ring in our heads, playing out when we need them most. What a loss it would be not to have such subtle training in the form of stories. I do hope political correctness doesn’t lose us the messages that have been ingrained into us for generations. As we evolve so must our stories; new morality by which to live our lives.