Artwork of wild horse herds and mammoths coated the cavern walls and firelight scattered warm
light across paintings of Irish elk and saber cats. The shadows of a long forgotten people meandered
across the painted cave walls. The three different families lived within their cozy cave which currently
smelled of cooking venison. Men and women were at work carving up the meat of one elk outside while
others wasted no time in retrieving the meat to sear over stone slabs heated from the fires. Laughing
children scampered throughout the caverns lit by torches playing games. A white haired woman dressed
in grey saber cat pelts toyed with her abalone necklace deep in thought.
After their meal, the tribe approached the woman in grey. She was wrapped in his furs to keep
warm as her skin was mottled and thin. Yet despite her age, her eyes laughed and her voice never lost
its fever. As more of her loved ones came to settle themselves around her, her smile grew.
“Gather around my loved ones as I tell you the tale of Elk Song and her amazing journey to the
One of the things that thousands of years couldn’t erode away or change about our species is
the art of story telling. We have kept this alive and well even into this modern world of plastics and metal.
Stories are everywhere these days. In the 1930s, households tuned in to their radios and listened to a
story about an alien invasion. Books emitting their glorious scents of paper and ink are still a thing. Now
we have movies which use visuals. And today’s video games are nothing more than an interactive story
where you play as the hero or a villain.
Story telling is in our blood. Humans have been gifted. We are able to think creatively, with
abstract notions and we have many dynamic and deep languages to share our epic fables in. I tried
reading The Last Unicorn to my cat, Shadow and all he cared about was getting his furry little noggin
scratched. The ability to create allegories is what makes us human. Then again who knows? Maybe
there’s a story in a cat’s purr.
I personally take great delight in fantasy. Limitless possibilities and other magical worlds
resonate strongly to me. Everyone has their favorites. Some of you are into westerns, science fiction,
romance, mystery, paranormal, historical fiction or biographies about real people. Some of you get your
epics the old fashioned way through books, or you watch your favorite shows or in video games you
have your character make choices that affect the plot.
Our methods of telling the stories have changed but many of favorite themes are told over and
over again. Themes such as good vs evil, the underdog overcoming many obstacles, people who inspire
us, universal truths.
You’ve told some stories throughout your life. We all have. We share with our friends the story
about how we met our significant other or about the sights and fun things we’ve done in our travels.
When you share your experiences, you are connecting with your fellow human. You are letting another
person take a glimpse of your world.
The tales we spin are often a reflection of the real world and our attempt to examine life. In the
real life Diary of a Young Girl written by Anne Frank, she shows us the danger she faces due to intense
persecution. And the story of her strength is inspires many.
But what other reasons do we tell tales for?
At its heart, storytelling is about sharing and connecting. Humans tell a tale to share an
experience. It could be for entertainment or to make us question. By following characters through their
dramas, we can live vicariously through them and question what we would do in their predicaments.
In The Hobbit, we are shown Bilbo’s internal conflict that Gandolf and the dwarves
bring about. Bilbo while content in his hobbit home does wonder what an adventure would be like. On
one hand he believes he should refuse and behave as a sensible and respectable hobbit. On the other,
the taste of adventure still calls to him and he realizes this may be his one chance for an incredible
experience. There are many of us who can relate as we have had our shares of internal conflicts. Should
we play it safe or take a risk?
Stories are what humans use to make sense of the world and our existence in it. We glean
understanding and inspiration from stories. In a Song of Ice and Fire, Lady Brienne of Tarth developed a
passion for combat. However in this world, fighting is dominated by men while women are expected to be
lady like. Despite it, Brienne insists on learning how to fight and becomes one of the realms best fighters.
She’s an inspiring character for those looking to break the mold.
Reading, watching and playing through other’s stories can be enlightening and fun.