Saturday, August 12, 2017


You may have seen Cliff before - he's been around a while, as even he will admit! He does the Wickham Festival, he's done The Larmer Tree, he's been at The Art House in Southampton, at The Barge Inn in Honey Street on the Kennet and Avon Canal, London, Reading, Cambridge, Salisbury, and all kinds of places in between.

And now he'll be in Ringwood on August 17th, tellling A Mixed Bag - all kinds of stories from his themed tours of the past few years, together with some that have never made it on to those programmes. There may be Tales of Ra from Egypt, there may be a Red Riding Hood variant, something from the Kalevala, The Padisha's Daughter Who Married a Donkey's Skull, Skeleton Woman...

The only thing predictable is that the stories will be worth listening to!

See and hear him now

Wearing a wide brimmed hat in a sun dappled forest, the Talesman leans in closely

Friday, July 21, 2017



Out of brightly coloured threads of narration and description Paul wove a dazzling tapestry of stories from the world of the Arabian Nights. Under the guidance of the old woman who looked after them, the orphans Masud and Miriam brought back the mysterious Bird from the land of Gibur to the Garden with the Fountain of Laughter and the Fountain of Tears, during which adventure it was the girl who saved the boy, and not vice versa – but after that, the bird just sat and watched the stars go by, until one day it said, “It is time!” and flew away.

Meanwhile, Hassan the Archer was taken on an expedition to find the Lost City of Iram by a Sheikh who knew a lot more than he did. They found it, but, of all the treasures there, they could only take a small box of red sulphur, which nevertheless had the power to transform everyday objects into gold and jewels. Riches and luxury were a poor compensation for Hassan, whose wife and children had mysteriously disappeared in his absence.

Suleiman the Magnificent's fascination with the Lost City of Iram enabled him [with the help of the Oldest Stork in the World] to find it under the desert sands, but all he could do then was contemplate it, until Death, the Destroyer of Friendships and the Breaker-up of Feasts, took him, and he was buried in the city he had sought, and the djinn covered it again with the sands they had removed at his behest.

All things change, and Mahmud the Merciful succeeded to the throne of his father, known as the Merciless, and found, in the depths of his father's prisons, an old man with a small box of red dust, who had refused to divulge its secret to the former ruler, and, even as the new sultan released him, so a large bird arrived in the city, followed by a young man and young woman, whose identity, gentle listeners, I'm sure you can guess.

As if all that hadn't been treat enough for an evening for the thirteen of us gathered in an upper room, John played guitar in our first interval, and the last session brought another five stories: Janet told The Businessman on Paradise Island, Alan told The Car and the Horses, Misha told The Fish in the Grass, the Buns in the Trees, and the Sausages in the Lake, Raph told The Slippers of Abu Kassim and Mike raced through The Princess with the Golden Hair from Howard Schwartz's Elijah's Violin.

Thursday, July 13, 2017


... and The Lost City of Iram, and many another Tale of the East will be brought to us on Thursday, July 20th, starting at 7.30 p.m., by Paul, one of our regular tellers, who also tells at Southampton and Salisbury Story Clubs.

Friday, May 12, 2017


The future is always subject to change, but we have fixed on some things:

In June, Maddie will tell us stories related to Trees.

In October, our regular in-house tellers, Maddie, Raph, Paul, Mike, Alan, Darren and any others we can attract, will celebrate Samhain, or Halloween, or whatever you want to call it, with a selection of stories appropriate to the season.

In November, we will again present Epic in an Evening, which this year will be the story of Hercules, from his birth to his death and his deification.

Who else will be coming, and what they will be telling, we'll let you know as soon as we do.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017



Four strangers meet at a remote Cornish inn. At the fireside, each tells a tale, but each has a secret to hide, and not all are sure of surviving the night.

Pirate tales and songs entwine with eye-witness accounts to take us back to a perilous time.

Cath has a warm and witty style of telling, and a wonderful sense of humour.

Entrance £5 on the door.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Jason headlined, with Something in the Water, a collection of stories about monsters and magical creatures. He introduced us to the Onamazu, the giant catfish responsible for earthquakes, and Kashima, the thunder-god, who [mostly] keeps it pinned down under a big stone. Read more here.

Then there was the Umibozu, the spirit who enjoys wrecking ships, and haunted the dreams of young Akiko, until her grandfather told her about Baku, the Dream-Eater. You can read about them here and here.

In his second session, Jason took us to such exotic places as Pakistan and Northumberland, telling us of the Lake Saif ul Malook and the love-story that took place there, and of the River Wear and the Lambton Worm. Read more here and here.
Nor was the Silkie of Skule Skerry omitted!

In our open mic spot, Raph told us The Hidden Moon, a tale from the Lincolnshire Carrs, which you can find here.

Maddie told us how important conversation was in a marriage, with TheMeat of the Tongue.

Mike sent us home and to bed with the last tale from Eleanor Farjeon's The Old Nurse's Stocking-Basket, which you can read here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Starting at 7.30, two intervals, finishing at 10 - get there early, please, so you can be ready with coffee and cake to hear Jason Buck, whom you will already know from previous performances, including his part in Loki Live.

Something in the Water is a collection of stories about the strange creatures believed to live in the rivers, lakes and oceans of the world, from the giant fish that causes earthquakes in Japan, to the shape-changing selkie seal-folk of Scotland and the [almost] unkillable wyrm that terrified the English countryside. Jason also explores some of the facts behind the real animals that have inspired some of the legends.

The third session will be open for other tellers.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Graham Rogers posted this on the Facebook page of The Sting in the Tale:

Many of you will have heard the sad news of Pete Gritton, who died last week in Spain. For many years he performed in the Sting in the Tale festival, New Forest Storytellers, Heads & Tales storytelling club, Jigfoot band and took part in many other events and theatrical performances.
He was a lovely storyteller and talented musician, with a passion for Vikings and Norse sagas, a commanding presence and wonderful sense of humour. His storytelling and music must have left an impression on thousands of people and he will be sadly missed.
However, our loss is Odin's gain and if you gaze up into the moonlit sky this Spring you'll surely hear all those in the great hall of Valhalla, in Asgard, roaring with laughter as Pete tells his tale of Loki and Thor.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


Tim is a singer and musician as well as a storyteller and a guardian of Dorset heritage.
He will be occupying the first two sessions of our meeting on Thursday 16th March - this is the new format, with an earlier start and two intervals - and in the third session the floor will be open to other tellers. So come along and listen - and then tell!

Thursday, February 23, 2017


... which is a much nastier tale than one might imagine. The rich man, who has been trapped up there, is waiting for the crows to peck him to death with their iron beaks...


Russian Tales spiked with Stalin [the narrative equivalent of vodka with chillies, which Stalin used to serve at the parties he held in his dacha in Kuntsevo] included the following: The Golden Mountain, Master Misery, The Hare, the Bear, the Peasant and the Fox, The Snow-Maiden, and Beautiful Vasilisa. They were spiked with Proverbs from Mingrelia. After Mike, Jason told The Bride among the Pines [of his own composing], Janet told us about Yuri and the Geese of Baba Jaga, Raph told us about the Russian fear of people with ginger hair, and Maddie was overtaken by time.

Here are the Mingrelian proverbs:

Here's The Golden Mountain

Here's Master Misery

Here's The Hare, the Bear, the Peasant and the Fox

Here's The Snow Maiden

And here is Beautiful Vasilisa

Friday, February 10, 2017


This is a great chance for anyone who wants to get started - and it's run by two of our storytellers!

Saturday, February 25th, 10am to 4pm in Christchurch Library

A snip at £5!


The first half will be occupied by Mike Rogers, telling Russian Tales, Spiked with Stalin - rather like vodka with chillies in, he says.

The second half will be open to anyone who wants to tell a story...

Remember, to fit all this in, we will be starting earlier than we used to, at 7.30pm...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Local storytellers display their wares, telling whatever comes out of their storybags!

And, of course, all-comers can join in...

Note the earlier starting-time: 19.30...


Only two listeners - but three tellers! Maddie told Fox and Bear Go Fishing; Mike told Felicity and the Christmas Crib; Raph told How Old Duck Egg Cured A Little Girl And A Little Fox; Maddie told Gawain and the Green Knight. After the interval, Mike told Dancing Dan's Christmas [you can google the original by Damon Runyon]; Raph told How Coyote Acquired A Blanket; and Maddie told a stonking version of Old Appletreeman. A good preparation for Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2016



Snow? Ice? Warm fires? Mulled wine? Who knows? Come along and find out! Or even contribute your own story - stories told in December count as December stories!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Seven tellers – it would have been eight, but one had to cry off at the last minute – told the story – or stories of Loki, the Mischief-Maker [and sometimes a Maker of Worse Than Mischief].

Paul started us off, and put everything in context, with bright and shiny new Asgard needing protection from the Giants of Ice and Snow and Frost... and when an itinerant mason, with a talented horse, offers to build a wall... though the price is a bit steep...

After that, Mike stepped in for absent Alan, and told, out of strict order [we'll change it next time] Thor's Journey to Utgard – with Loki...

Then Raphael told us how Idun was kidnapped [the Giants were after her apples]. Loki was, I'm afraid, to blame – but he also sorted it out... and even made Skadi laugh [we'll not go into how, not on a family page] after her father had been killed, and she'd married the wrong man...

After that Mike conducted the Assembled Storytellers in a corporate account of The Loss of Sif's Hair [Loki? Yep!] and The Competition of the Dwarves at Smithing [from which Mjöllnir, Thor's Hammer, emerges, despite Loki's insectile intervention Рand we also find out how Loki got his crooked smile...]

Mishca told us all about Loki's Children [a nasty lot!]

Jason gave us a hilarious account of Thor's Drag Act [Loki's fault? Well... probably. It was certainly Loki's idea...] which he had to do to get his hammer back. A God doesn't feel like a God without his Hammer.

Darren's dark version of The Death of Baldr was all the more powerful for coming after Jason's hilarity.

Maddie did full justice to the verbal violence which Loki unleashed on “his friends, the Gods” in his Flyting – the kind of party you don't want to be invited to!

Then Mike wrapped up Loki's career – how he hid in a waterfall and was trapped by his own invention, the net, and then secured and punished until the end of the world.

After which, as Paul reminded us, there was [for Baldr, at least, as Odin muttered into his dead ear] the chance of Rebirth...

Friday, October 21, 2016


Eight of us - seven tellers and one listener, but one teller had been unwell and didn't tell - but what an enormously varied evening!

Paul took us to the shtetlach in the Pale of Settlement of Tsarist Russia, where the rich Jewish doctor, who had failed to cure the cobbler's wife, lost his fat fee, thanks to the Rebbe's Talmudic precision of interpretation.

Then Jason took us to a fantasy land, where the Blue Ettin caused havoc and the King made the usual offer of sex and property to the successful pest control officer. Sir Bragadoccio's squire, Ulrich, proved braver and cleverer and more successful than his master, but his reward was his master's dagger in his ribs. However, music and magic saw to it that justice was done. [I would advertise Jason's Halloween gig, including this story, at The Art House on October 27th - but it's sold out! Watch for a repeat...]

Darren had us all silent and scared with his superb account of an Edinburgh hotel which was not altogether canny... he called it The Unquiet.

Alan's venture into Scotland, which he had from Duncan Williamson, was about Angus MacDonald MacDougal Maclean and the presumption of innocence. [I'm not going to spoil a good story by giving away too much! I want to tell it myself.]

Maddie told a version of the Juniper Tree which contained all the elements from the traditional tale out of Grimm, but somehow managed to make them completely fresh and new-minted.

Finally, in a story that he specifically situated on All Hallows' Eve, Mike took us to Eling churchyard, above Southampton Water, and told us what happened to Mary on that night, right through until dawn, and a little bit afterwards.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Which category do you belong to? Come along and find out tomorrow at The Boston Tea Party in Ringwood!

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Eight of us were there, and four told. Raph reprised Hank Nicholson and the Temple of Sin from Sarum Story Club on Tuesday - look it up on facebook if you want to see the Chinese characters for Wrath and Mirth, the two stone temple dogs which play such a decisive role in the story. Then Maddie told Jack and the Devil, which she had from Daniel Morden at Beyond the Border, and which explains the presence of all the little creatures, fairies and pixies and piskies and so forth, and extols the virtues of reading aloud [though, as we all know, proper storytelling is better]. After the interval, Michelle told her second story ever, which was as clear and concise and powerful a version of The Man who Went Looking for His Luck as I have ever heard [certainly better than this one]. Now we look forward to her third story! Finally, Mike updated and modified the Grimm story, Bearskin, whose original version you can read here.