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Those Juniors, Part 37: Story-Telling Stratagem #1

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: The use of illustrations that appeal to hand, eye, and ear are effective tools for a teacher, and will implant in the students minds not only the application, but also the lesson itself, causing them to remember it, at times, for their entire lives.

Story Sources.—The great books of God—the Bible and nature—form a vast, unlimited field where stories can be found on every hand. Life itself, with the hundreds of interesting experiences with people and children, is another boundless source of story material. When you see the results of obedience, of forgiveness, of faithfulness, jot them down, put down the names and the place, and file them away. When you can say, “One day when I was visiting Myat Po, the head teacher of our Karen school, I saw his little boy Solomon, who was only three years old, try to get his father a drink of water from a waterpot that was too high for him to reach,” it carries much more power and weight than if you have to say, “I was reading one time of a little three-year-old boy somewhere who tried to get his father a drink of water,” etc. Cultivate eyes to see and ears to hear the beautiful stories and illustrations that are being lived about you every day.

In addition to this there is the world of books and periodicals, and I place our own publications unquestionably at the top of the list. The Review and Herald, the Youth’s Instructor, Our Little Friend, our reading course books—read them, mark them, clip them, outline the special stories, and file them away. Here is a partial list of the kinds of stories you can find in our books and papers:

Sacred History
Bible and Other Stories—Dorothy White Christian

Easy Steps in Bible Story—Adelaide B. Evans

Men of Might—Adelaide B. Evans

Stories of the Kings—Adelaide B. Evans

Wonder Tales—A. W. Spalding

Hero Tales—A. W. Spalding

Church History
Youthful Witnesses—W. A. Spicer

His Messenger—Ruth Wheeler

Pioneer Days of the Advent Movement—W. A. Spicer

Pioneer Stories of the Advent Message—A. W. Spalding

Founders of the Message—E. N. Dick

Life of Joseph Bates—C. C. Crisler

Youth’s Instructor—Oct. 17, 1944

Ann of Ava—Ethel H. Hubbard

Fighting Africa’s Black Magic—Madge Haines Morrill

Korada—G. G. Lowry

Triumphs of Faith—Mrs. John Oss

Bells of the Blue Pagoda—Jean Carter Cochran

Jungle Stories—Eric B. Hare

Jungle Heroes—Eric B. Hare

Clever Queen—Eric B. Hare

Fifty Missionary Heroes—Julia H. Johnston

Forty Missionary Stories—Margaret W. Eggleston

Min Din—Robert B. Thurber

Beautiful Gold—Robert B. Thurber

God’s Providence
Providences of the Great War—W. A. Spicer

The Hand that Intervenes—W. A. Spicer

Celestial Visitors—C. G. Bellah

Graded Lessons in Health—Veda Sue Marsh

The Adventures of Jimmy Microbe—Virginia Budd Jacobsen

Hitchhiking with Jimmy Microbe—Virginia Budd Jacobsen

A Journey to Happy Healthland—Belle Wood Comstock

Ducky, Snowy, and Tige—Olive M. Bathgate

Zip the Coon—Floyd Bralliar

From Ant to Elephant—Robert B. Thurber

Lazius the Lucky Ant—Nina A. Frey

Meadow Wings—Ruth Wheeler

Little Nature Folk at Home—Inez Brasier

The Little Wolf—Wendell and Lucie Chapman

Wild Animal Stories—N. W. Northey

Thumby—Elva B. Gardner

Jimmy, the Story of a Black Bear Cub—E. B. Baynes

Wings at My Window—Ada Clapham Govan

Character Building
Bedtime Stories—Arthur S. Maxwell

Learning to Live—Lora E. Clement

Let’s Talk It Over—Lora E. Clement

Golden Stories for Boys and Girls—Charles L. Paddock

Heroes Take Wings—Charles L. Paddock

Footprints to Success—Charles L. Paddock

Choice Readings for the Home Circle—G. H. Scott

Dragon Tales—Celia R. Brines

Red Letter Day

Their Word of Honor

Loom o’ Life—Josephine Cunnington Edwards

Choppy Waters—Ella Iden Edwards

That Book in the Attic—Helen K. Oswald

Exiled—Serpouhi Tavoukdjian

Escape From Siberian Exile—John Godfrey Jacques

Ideals for Juniors—C. Lester Bond

The Junior Hour—W. C. Loveless

52 Prayer Meetings—J. E. Shultz

Valley of Vision—L. L. Skinner

Telling the Story
The greatest storyteller I have known is Arthur Whitefield Spalding, and there can be no better text for beginners in the art than his little book Christian Storytelling. It is an essential part of the equipment of every parent, teacher, and junior leader. To the study of this book goes all the credit for any success that has come to me as a storyteller to jungle boys and girls. Let us summarize briefly the great principles of storytelling, rearranged somewhat to assist in remembering them. Here they are: Know your story. See your story. Adapt your story. Tell your story. Live your story. Feel your story. Have a climax.

See how easy that is to remember?

Know Your Story.—My dear father used to tell a story of a minister who read his sermons. One day as he turned over the last page, he concluded by saying, “And so, dear friends, I could go on and on——”

“No, you couldn’t,” loudly whispered a little rascal in the balcony; “you’ve run out of stuff.”

Did you ever hear someone talk or teach or tell a story, and feel when he had finished that his reservoir had run dry? It was because he did not know enough about his subject. One needs to know ten times as much as he tells. Then he will leave the impression that there is still a great reservoir untouched and that he has only given a delightful sample.

If you are telling a story with its setting in Mexico, study the map, try to find the place in relation to the large near-by cities. Study pictures of Mexico till you know what kind of houses the people live in, what kind of clothes they wear, what kind of food they eat, how they travel, how they talk, how they sing. Study all you can, and though you may tell nothing of this extra outside-of- the-story information, it will unconsciously add weight to it.

If you are to tell stories successfully, it is not sufficient merely to know a great deal about your story. You must also know your story. And whether it is A. W. Spalding himself, or Uncle Arthur Maxwell, or someone who is just beginning, Spalding’s prescription for knowing a story is the only one. He says:

First, read your story carefully.

Second, tell it as an experiment to someone.

Third, reread, to check any omissions or mistakes,

Fourth, tell it again and again.

See Your Story.—Good storytellers do not memorize their stories as you would memorize a poem or a recitation, but rather they build a picture of the story, as they read it, and then simply tell what they see. This is most important, as frequently stories are written in the first person, and the present tense, being the personal experiences of the writer; and if such a story is memorized and repeated word for word, it produces embarrassment and a great deal of falsehood.*

(Next week: “Story-Telling Stratagem, Part 2.”)

* A. W. Spalding, Christian Storytelling, p. 42.

Copyright © 1973 by Eric B. Hare. Used by permission

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