There are four stories that I can remember from Mrs. Dornblatt’s big story book: Stone Soup, Puss in Boots, The Bremen Town Musicians and The Five Chinese Brothers, a story that I still tell. If you don’t know these stories or have never read them I suggest you do.
I can vaguely see soldiers with mustaches and a big iron pot also a black cat with high boots on. But the funny vision of a donkey, dog, cat, and rooster stacked on one another’s back is still clear. The five Chinese brothers will always be stuck in my head. The brother with his hands tied behind his back on his knees with neck stretched out over a stone chopping block and another brother reclining on one elbow and yawning as he is being pulled out of a brick oven on a large baker’s peel. These are the two brothers that I can envision most. Even if I see the illustrations in my minds eye, it is the story that makes the bond in my mind.
I believe that stories were the first art form, the first form of entertainment, the first recorder of history, and the first teaching aide. If you want someone to remember something, tell them a story. A popular saying today is “hard wired.” That is, the human brain is hard wired for story meaning that stories are easily processed, digested and imprinted in our minds. We humans love a good story.
Why is there this love for stories? It is our imagination. I suppose that imagination is used more than any other thought process. Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” When we hear a story our imagination kicks in and we become part of the story. Hearing a story is much more stimulating and way different than reading a book, seeing a play or a movie, watching TV, using the internet, game boy or texting. We are part of the story; there is a magical energy that flows back and forth between the teller and the listener. That is why we are hard wired and love stories. It is the magic between the teller and the listener.
I suggest that one night a week turn off the TV and make it story night. Gather in the family room, living room or kitchen and tell stories to each other. Kids – read a story out loud to your Mom, Dad, and Grandmother, Grand-Pop, dog or cat. Go to the library and pick out a book, take turns reading from the book. Reading and telling stories to each other is one of the most intimate things a family or anybody can do. So expand your imagination and have fun doing it … by being a teller and reader of stories!
God bless, have fun and keep a story in your heart,