Jack and the Beanstalk: pillaging, invasion and hidden worlds 12 October 2014

In June 2014 the Australian Fairy Tale Society was launched and part of the vision of the Society, is to see Fairy Tale discussion and performance groups gather several times a year, around the country: The Fairy Rings.

The inaugural Fairy Tale Ring, organised and hosted by the wonderful ethereal Louisa John-Krol, took place in the Fitzroy gardens on the first hot day of Spring.

Toby Eccles opened the gathering by a masterful telling of Jack and the Beanstalk, the most well known version having been collected in Australia by Joseph Jacobs in the 1860s then published in the UK in English Fairy Tales. Toby describes his version as having an ‘Australiana twist’. With themes of drought, images of sandy wide verandahs, meals of bread and dripping, and all described in Toby’s broad, soft Australian accent and colloquialisms, Jack’s adventures sat well in thelandscape.
Toby was followed by Zeinab Yazdanfar, with Aaron Shepard’s version of a tale from Iran, The Magic of Mushkil Gusha (Australia School Magazine May 1997 and Cricket August 1998). A version also appears in World Tales by Idries Shah. Zeinab’s first language is Farsi and she read the story, in English. As listeners we felt privileged to witness a new friend taking her first steps to becoming a re-teller of folk tales.

It was a joy to listen to Cindy-Lee Harper telling two stories given to her by a Wiradjuri elder many years ago. CL herself has a heritage that can be traced back to the Pyemarriner People of North East Tasmania and while not identifying as Aboriginal, she has explored this connection in her storytelling and work. In recent time CL has been enjoying writing more than telling and you can read one of her stories that illustrates her connection to the Pymarriner HERE

Louisa followed with an improvised and collaborative telling of Cecino the Tiny from the anthology World Tales by Idries Shah. With Tiahna whirling and spinning her hula hoop into the story impromptu, it was both engaging and very funny.

Thank you to Toby (and his family), Louisa, Teena, Jackie, Lylah, Cath, Zeinab, Cindy-Lee, Lucy, Tiahna and Mary-Lou for rocking up to tell, listen and foster a new storytelling venture in Melbourne.

You can follow Louisa’s adventures on her glorious website HERE

pics from north to south: Toby, Zeinab, Cindy Lee, Tiahna, Louisa

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