Storytelling Themes and Costumes

We offer Storytelling sessions for:

– Schools
– Special Needs Groups
– Social Groups and Clubs
– Care Homes
– Museums and Castles
– Festivals
– Parties, Weddings and Family Groups

Over the years I have build up a large repertoire of stories from all over the world covering many different subjects.

In addition to traditional folk and fairy tales, I can create a tailored “set list” for your event to fit in with your festival theme, party or school project.  I do also love to dress up and have a number of costumes to fit with the themes.  I’m always eager to learn new stories though, so if you have a theme which is not covered below, please ask!

Musical accompaniment can often be incorporated. I can modify my presentation to suit all ages and abilities – Doric can be used, but I will also tell in a more simple manner if the audience doesn’t have Doric as their first language!

Prehistory – In the summer of 2001, I started volunteering at Archaeolink Prehistory Park near Oyne – now sadly closed.  This was where I started telling stories from prehistory – mainly from the Iron Age at the time of Scotland’s Roman Invasion (approx 84 AD) but also from the Bronze Age and Mesolithic/Neolithic (Stone Age) period.  I am now a founder member of The Rhynie Wifies – a local all-female living history group who specialise in the Prehistory of Scotland.  Click here to see The Rhynie Wifies on Facebook.

I can come in Stone, Bronze or Iron Age/Pictish costume and bring various props with me depending on your needs or special topics (such as food production, clothing, dying and textiles etc.).  For schools, please see “Hearth History.”

Telling an Iron Age story whilst making butter

Making butter and telling a story

Stories include:

Silly Billy (Celts vs Romans)
The Goat’s Skull (A druid must find the perfect man)
Nettle Soup (How a wee lassie saved her village)
Brat and Garat (Two brothers face the Wickerman!)
The Curse of Scotland (The creation of Scotland’s most fearsome foe)
Aurora Dances (A creation myth of the Northern Lights)
The Maiden Stone (A Pictish tale from the Chapel of Garioch)
The Longest Harvest (Farming trickster tale)

Nature and the Environment, Climate Change – this is a very popular theme which covers a wide range of topics.  I can come dressed as one of the old earth goddesses and tell stories about the mythology of the earth, wild animals, Scotland’s wildlife, gardens and farming… The list is endless!


Stories include:

The Green Man (How the legend of the nature deity endures)
How Bear Lost His Tale (A traditional North American legend)
Auld Craobhie (The earth hides great riches but punishes those who take advantage)
The Boy Who Became King By Planting A Seed
Tidalick the Thirsty Frog (Aboriginal folk tale)
The Giant Squirrel (Algonquian folk tale)
The Salmon of Knowledge (Irish Legend)
The Wolf’s Eyelashes (Chinese Tale)
King Solomon and the Bee (A mere bee saves the day!)
The Blue Rose
Not Quite Right (A tale of Mother Nature)
How the Monkey got Mischief
The Rainbow Crow (Traditional North American legend)
Koi and the Kola Nuts (Liberian Folk Tale)
The Great Flood (Llamas, not Noah, save the world)

Science

A set of stories which will get both children and adults thinking about science and the world around us.
Have you ever wondered what the world was like when we didn’t know so much?  Why were the stars in the sky and who made it rain?  Why did the up stay up and the down stay down?  Why did the owl not sleep at night and why did the frog always live near water?  Why did we have night and day, winter and summer?
My set of science stories covers Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geography, Astronomy, Medicine… the list goes on.  See below for more details.

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Stories include
How Raven Brought The Sun (Astronomy)
The Legend of Orion and Scorpio (Astronomy)
The Legend of the Milky Way (Astronomy)
Kumukahe’s Race (Volcanoes, Geography – leading on to the 1816 eruption of Mount Tambora, the Year Without Summer and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein)
Duban The Sage (Medicine, Forensic Science, Leprosy, Antibiotics)
The Struggle of Sun and Rain (Weather)
The Rainbow Crow (Weather, Seasons, Climate Change)
Aurora Dances (The Northern Lights)
The Legend of Persephone (Weather, Seasons)
Einstein’s Driver
Archimedes and The Crown (Chemistry, Physics.  Why blacksmiths are lame in mythology)
Famous Hoaxes (Evolution, Piltdown Man, The Furry Fish)
Tiddalik The Frog (Evolution, Climate Change)
Mr Twit’s Odious Ale (Microbiology, Brewing)

Space

Many societies have explanations for what they see in the sky – the Greek legends of the stars being just the beginning!  Join me on a journey across the sky!

Stories include:

The River In The Sky (A Vietnamese explanation for the Milky Way)
The Buried Moon (A traditional story from the north of England)
How Raven Stole The Sun (North American legend)
The Moon (One of the stories collected by the Grimm Brothers)
The Boy Who Wanted A Star Of His Own (For the little ones)
Anansi and the Sky Kingdom
The Stupid Prince (He thought the moon was made of cheese!)
Why The Sky Is So High (Bengal Legend)
The Mouse Who Was To Marry The Sun
How The Sun Fell In Love With The Moon

Light and Dark
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Stories include:
How Bat Brought the Darkness
Four Candles (No, not the Two Ronnies sketch!)
The Farmer’s Bridge
Blowing the Candle Out
Three Princesses
The King and the Lamp
How Sun Fell In Love With The Moon
The Buried Moon
How Raven Stole The Sun
The Moon (collected by the Grimm Brothers)
How Anansi Brought The Sun

Charles Darwin

The audience will help me plot the young Darwin’s voyage across the world on The Beagle and will hear stories about the places, animals and people he enountered on his journey.

The Sea
I can come in costume as a traditional Scottish Fishwife and can bring a bit of my knowledge from my Fisher Folk background.

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Photo taken at the Fraserburgh Museum Of Lighthouses

Stories include:

The Fisherman and the Flounder (Traditional Folk Tale)
The Monkey and the Jellyfish
The Mermaid’s Ring
The Lass That Married A Selkie
Morag, The Sea Serpent
Assipattle and the Mester Stoorwurm
The Lamp That Came With The Tide
Why The Sea Is Salty

Songs include:

The Bonnie Ship The Diamond (Local folk song telling of the Whaling ships of the North East of Scotland)
Lowlands Away
Billy Riley
The Fisherman’s Lassie
Come A Ye Fisher Lassies

Pirates

Always a popular topic for children!  I can mix these stories in with various sea shanties and come as my pirate character, Mad Polly Rowiemuncher (the quartermistress!)
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Stories include:

Emmy Tot (A true Scottish Heroine!)
Ocean Born Mary
Ralph The Rover and Inchcape Bell
Dem Hidden Bones
The Sympathetic Pirate (and his bear!)
Jack Warrender and the Standing Stones

Scotland

A great many of my favourite stories are Scottish in origin – many I have learned from the Scottish Traveller storyteller Stanley Robertson but also from the writing of Duncan Williamson and many others.

Stories include:

Auld Craobhie (from Stanley Robertson)
The Lass that Married a Selkie
Sawney Bean
The Gaberlunzie King
Assipattle and the Mester Stoorwurm
The Man with no Story to Tell
The King and the Lamp
The Laird O Morphie (A Kelpie Tale!)
Death In A Nut

Traditional Scottish songs can also be included into the mix – most of these come with an explanatory story.

Songs include:
The Unquiet Grave
The College Boy
Bogie’s Bonnie Belle
McGinty’s Meal And Ale
Lord Gregory
Mrs Greig of Sandlaw
The Ploomin Laddies

Local Myths and Legends
I particularly love myths, legends and stories from my own neck of the woods! (Aberdeenshire)

Stories include:
St Nathalan (A Pictish Nobleman’s son who became a saint)
The Maiden Stone (A Pictish Tale from the Chapel of Garioch)
Mary Elphinstone (The tale of a lass who was buried alive!)
Tad Losgann (King Malcom Canmore’s Wild Boar)
Osbarn The Smith (A gory ending to a story from Kildrummy)
The Boddamers Hung The Monkey-O (Accompanied with the song)
The Wizard Laird of Skene
The Stone Circle Curse

Fairies

The world would be a much duller place without the mischief of the fairy folk!  I can come dressed as my fairy character and bring my fuzzy wee fairy friend Fizzy.

Stories include:
The Woman That Flummoxed The Fairies (Fairy  tale originating in Durris)
Fairy One Step (written by Monty Python’s Terry Jones)
The Leprechaun’s Gold

The Arabian Nights

These ancient tales from the east of the brave Scherezade still captivate audiences today and I have to admit I’m a huge fan.  Many tales are still relevant today!

Stories include:
The Giant Fart!
The Little Hunchback
The 12 Brothers
Duban The Wise Man
A Dream of Treasure
The Lamp That Came With The Tide

Easter and Spring

Stories include:

The Easter Bunny (Where DID such a curious beast come from?)
King Solomon and the Bee
A Much Shorter Tale
Not Quite Right
How Raven Stole The Sun
How Honey Bees Got Their Sting
How Rabbit Lost His Tail

Halloween and Ghosts

Halloween is absolutely my favourite time of the year – and who doesn’t love a ghost story?  Spooky tales for all ages (Set list may be limited by age group of audience)


Stories include:

Mary Elphinstone (The tale of a lass who was buried alive!)
The Ghost Bride (From the telling of Stanley Robertson)
Cauld Johnnie (A most unfriendly guardian of the dead)
The Wine Tower (Traditional ghost story from Fraserburgh)
The Irish Smith (The origin of the neep lantern)
Blood Will Tell (Based on the notion of”Trial By Blood”)
Mr Fox (Traditional English Tale)
The Horseman’s Word
Kitty Rankie
The Vampire Field
Twa Corbies (Traditional Scottish Song)
4 Blue Bonnets (A tale of witches)
Black Mary and White Mary (From the telling of Stanley Robertson)

Tales from the Christmas Tree

For Christmas events, I can provide a set of stories called “Tales from The Christmas Tree” – a set of decorations are hung upon a Christmas Tree and there is a different story attached to each one.  The audience can take turns to select their story.  Christmas Elf costume available!

Adults Only

It seems a bit of a modern misunderstanding that stories are just for children – they certainly are not!  But some stories are best told without the little ones present, whether it’s due to the scary, mature or just downright cheeky subject matter!

Stories include:
Sandy’s Trip Tae Aiberdeen
All Three! (A fiesty young lass gets revenge on a miser)
Reasons to Beat Your Wife (Egyptian Bedouin women’s tale)
Only God Can Judge A Woman In Love
The King of the Dogs (A Scottish Creation Myth?)

Songs include:
The Dottered Auld Carl
A Maiden Came To London Town