The Storytellers Tale
By JH Smith
The young man waited impatiently as the old Storyteller finished his poem, he had promised a
story and so far tonight he had been hung up on poems that few of those gathered here wanted to
hear. But he held his tongue as the old man finished the last lines of a long poem.
Times come, then moved on
As all things must do, when I have gone
A time will come, my name most forgotten
Removed, I have become from everyday thought
My image dimmed, lost from your vision
My voice a stranger to your ears
But when the day shall come, feeling unloved
You sit, head down in deep despair
Alone allowing sadness to creep in
Remember my face, call my name
Listen within your memories for my voice
For I'm the one, with love unconditional
Who shall forever hold you in my soul
A part of this soul, you carry with you always
Reach out, I am with you
When the Storyteller stopped for breath it gave the young man a chance to speak"you said that
you would tell us a story not just poems tonight. How about a story of fantasy, make it not too
happy, make it one that could have happened sometime, that is if we believe hard enough."
The old Pub sat in the north of New England. But after an hour or two there you would swear
you were someplace in the old world not a small pub in the United States.
Turn and look at a different wall and find a different country. Those from England, Scotland,
Germany and Ireland felt as if they had never left home.
The room was large and there were a number of people gathered in a circle in front of a rock
faced fireplace. The logs in the fire snapped and crackled, their crackle the only thing breaking
the silence at the moment.
Those gathered were all looking at the old Storyteller, his long silver hair just brushing his
shoulders and a matching silver beard dropping to his shirt collar. Most folk never called him by
name, or even knew his name, when he came he was just the Old Storyteller. They all waited for
him to start the story he had promised.
His head was bowed as he stared into a large tankard of Ale that sat on one knee, he seemed to be
watching the bubbles spring from the bottom, then burst like tiny fireworks when they reached
the top. At last he took a deep breath and started to talk.
" I said I would tell you a story tonight, one I seldom tell. One that happened a very long time
ago, although it could just as easily have happened yesterday. Depending now on how you look
at things, determines if this is a sad or happy story. But before we get to the end you will cry. I
hope you will also find good feelings, hope and a smile.
It is about a Woman her name was Morwenna and her youngest daughter, because we can't leave
him out we'll throw in a Man as well."
The Storyteller sits back for a moment this time looking into the fire. When next he spoke it was
with a true reverence in his voice.
"It’s told Morwenna had five children and everyone knows a parent cannot have one child a
favorite over another. But there are times when this cannot be helped. She was called by her
mother, her smallest Angel and on the day she was born you could look into her eye's and of all
the children, this small girl, was the only one to whom the mother had given a small part of her
The light that shined from the mother's eye's when she talked of her Angel could be seen by all.
When the two of them were in a room together, it was as if the sun were there shining brightly.
There was a small glen behind where they lived, within to be found, old oak trees and a small
brook. You could often find mother and daughter there, talking, walking or just enjoying the
simple fact of being together.
It was plain to see, the daughter was the promise of her mother to be, the one to be left to fill the
mother's place in the world when the mother moved on.
Several years moved by and though it was not her name everyone started calling the little one
Angel, the girl of smiles, she became everyone's favorite, children and adults alike."
A voice spoke from the other side of the circle "Storyteller, what about her father, what about the
man you said would be in the story, did she not have a father."
"Yes" said the Storyteller "she had a father and he is the man in the story. But when she was very
young he could not spend much time at home. He was a soldier or warrior call as you like, much
of his time was spent away, now may I continue?
So through no choice of his own the man was often gone. Make no mistake about him,
Morwenna and the children were his world. He left not because he wanted to, but because he had
no other choice.
The first time he went away he had been young and the Morwenna had given him a silk scarf,"
she told him "keep this with you, it will bring you home safe to me again." Each time he came
home she would take the scarf and put it away until he had to leave again.
He would write home as often as he could, but then they didn't have mail like we do today. The
letters all had to be delivered by a courier, so you see not as many letters were sent as what they
would have liked.
He often told Morwenna in his letters, she held his heart in the palm of his hand, to hold it gently
for she was the only one who could break it.”
"But enough of him" said the Storyteller "So often in life, it seems the most beautiful things last
the shortest time. Take the spring flowers or the sun as it sets in a red stormy sky. If you're not
there to be touched by it at the moment, it’s forever lost.
So this is how it was with Angel. She had been small from the start and not as strong as one
We look now into a room filled with much sadness. We find the small girl laying very sick on a
bed, the mother sitting in a chair next to her and the man standing behind the mother." Like all
good storytellers, the Storyteller now seems to slip into the role of the man, his voice even
changing, when next he speaks it's the man who is heard.
"Sadness befalls our home. Our youngest daughter is gravely ill and no matter what we do, we
can't seem to bring the hotness out of her small young body."
The Storyteller comes back to this world looking around as if he were unsure of where he was for
just a moment and says.
"Her mother is holding her hand and speaking." " I must blame myself, mothers must not have
favorites but of my five, you the youngest I love the most. Have I somehow not given you
enough care? Perhaps I have loved you too much. Something I have done has let you become
sick" Then just as suddenly the Storyteller slips back into the man's voice.
"Morwenna sits with her night and day, I worry she also will become sick if she doesn't get some
rest. I go in and sit with them both, but Morwenna will not rest. I do not know what I should do,
so I go out and walk in the glen and pray to all that is for help, I am a lost man and know not
where else I can turn.
Our daughter has died, six days she was sick, now she is gone.
Morwenna weeps all the time now, never a smile do I see on her face. It rips the heart from my
chest to have our little angel gone and to see her mother like this. I hold Morwenna's hand and try
to stay at her side but still she weeps. We take the little one into the glen where we will lay her to
rest beneath the trees. Wrapped in her favorite golden blanket, we forever lay her to rest.
It has been several months now since the passing of our young one. Still Morwenna does not
smile, no longer does she weep all the time but no smile have I seen. I look into her eye's, it's as
if she died also. For within her eye’s no sparkle of life can I find."
The Storyteller jerks his head to the side and looks up through glazed eyes. Then at once finds
himself back in the room with the listening crowd. He takes a long drink of his ale and waves for
another. He waits silently until his tankard is filled, takes another drink and begins to talk again.
" You see in their time if you got sick, many times you died, because unlike today they didn't
have the medicines we do. Many times people died of a simple scratch that became infected.
But the little girl's mother blamed herself. She went through her days holding all the sadness
inside not sharing it with anyone." She would think "If I had only taken better care of her, if only
I had stayed with her more. If only I had been there when she needed me."" But she always had
been there when needed, it was not her fault.
We come to stay on this world for but a short time, we never know when we will leave or the
why. I have heard it said by some, that our time here is determined long before we come. Often
when bad things happen we need someone to blame, often times we single out ourselves."
"But lets move on" the Storyteller said "The land they lived in was not a safe land." And again
his voice takes on the sound of the man and his eye's seem to look out at things the rest of those
in the room can't see.
"I went to check on a loud commotion and found trouble at our village gates. In the fight that
followed my shoulder was run through with a sword. I lay against the cold grey stone of the
tower, watching as my blood runs into the dirt. I am frightened, not so much because of death,
it’s never have I been helpless, but now my legs, my arms will not work. All I can do is lay here
and watch my life pour out upon the ground.
Through the roar of death that is already building in my ears, I can hear a woman's voice giving
orders to men around me. I feel, I'm being moved, the woman thrusts her hands into my wounds
to stop the bleeding. I realize It's Morwenna who is helping me.
In the days that followed, all I remember are small glimpses of her as she tends me. Dreams of
terror and sometimes just darkness fallowed me. I would drift on this long sheet of blackness
with no end. I would leave my body and look at it from the outside. A body so damaged it had
become almost too heavy for the spirit to endure. But each time the spirit was leaving, Morwenna
would know, she would grab me and yell, I forbid you to die, you will not leave me, I would then
One evening as the sun was setting over the glen, I opened my eyes and asked for a drink of
water. I looked at Morwenna and saw a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. It was the best
thing I could see, a smile on her face again. Light and life where there had been only sadness and
darkness just a short time before.
I have been told by others ( never by her). That from the time they carried me in, Morwenna
never left my side. She tended me day and night, if asked to leave she would answer. “I have just
lost my youngest. I will not lose this man also. I will keep him alive if by no other way than will
alone”. This I'm sure she did, for I remember myself slipping away from a broken body time and
again. But I was always brought back by the touch of her hand. Thank you Milady, I will forever
and always be ready to lay my life at your feet. For without you what worth would I be?"
The Storytellers voice returns to his own this time, seeming as if he had not even taken a breath,
"you know" he said"it is a well-known fact that quite often sadness comes in lots of three and so
it seems, happened this time.
There was a time after the man returned to health that everything was fine. Then he would find
Morwenna standing by herself in the glen, watching the brook or just standing in the trees next to
her Angel's resting place. He would ask if she was all right, she would smile, look up at him, say
yes but always with a tear in her eye. One day she said "she is waiting for me, this I know
because I can feel her so close, as if I could just reach my hand out and touch her." He smiled
"yes I can feel her to, she is always close within my heart."
The Storyteller pauses a moment as he takes a long drink from his tankard. Slowly he gets up and
walks around to the fireplace, checking on his dog that's laying there warming itself before the
fire. He comes back to his chair and he starts to speak again."I don't like the ending of some of
my stories, but then they are only stories and I guess I could change them if I wanted, but every
story can't have a happy ending now, can it?" and he starts his story again "It's not long before the
man finds himself sitting holding the hand of his wife as she lay very sick." Again the voice of
the Storyteller changes and we hear the man speak
"I had sat in the room for most of a week. Morwenna had not been feeling well and one day just
didn't get out of bed. She looked so small and frail laying there it made my heart ache. I would sit
by the bed holding her hand and look out the window into the glen where we had spent many of
our happier hours, first as children then as adults.
I had food brought to me so I didn't have to leave her side. If only I could have changed places
with her, I gladly would have. She had pulled me through more than one bad time, it was only her
strong will that kept me alive after I had been run through with a sword.
She didn't talk, just sleep and wake up once in a while look at me and kind of squeeze my hand.
Shortly then she would drop off back to sleep. Then she awoke and told me goodbye, smiled and
said my smallest Angel is with me, and left me. I just lost the most cherished thing in my world. I
felt as if my heart were being ripped out of my chest one more time.
I have failed Morwenna. My will wasn't strong enough to hold her here. I shall always blame
myself for her passing. It should have been I that died, not my beautiful sweet Lady.
We lay her to rest yesterday under the trees. I carried her there myself. I could not let any other
be the last to hold her.
I have sat by her side throughout the day and night. Others tell me I must leave now but I can't
bring myself to do so. Now there are two markers in the grove of trees. Our Angel and Milady,
why must I be the one to stay, What have I done that I should be hurt this way?
The Storyteller looks up and smiles. "We all know that a parents love for a child can be a most
precious and compelling thing, so I guess" he said" you all think that is the end of the story,
well-let me tell you, there is never an end to any story if you look far enough. You want to know
about the man. His oldest son found him almost a year to the day after he lay his lady to rest. His
head was resting on her tomb stone, his hand was stretched out as if he were reaching for
something and he was smiling, he had died there next to the ladies he loved. The son though sad,
smiled, his father had been here fifty seven winters, his life had been a hard one he knew.
Perhaps now he was in a place of mush more happiness.
Now there were three stones in the trees. Soon there were four and then ten and as time passed
more came to rest there. As time has a habit of doing it just kept on moving, with the young
becoming old and the old passing on. There came a day when all the trees were gone from the
glen, their places had been taken with many stones. By this time no one knew the story of the
three stones that had been there first. No one cared except the rain, wind and the sun, they were
the only ones that were old enough to remember. Even they had done their share to remove the
memories, they had done their work on the old stones until the names could no longer be read.
But as I have said by this time nobody cared.
Now remember one very important thing. Time has no meaning when love is concerned. It is
said that a strong love will move beyond death and come again. Remember also be careful what
you say, for words spoken true float forever upon eternities winds and if you listen they will drift
by and you will hear them again. Perhaps souls come again, perhaps just perhaps.
The Storyteller reaches down picking up his pack and hat as if making ready to leave. A voice
calls out from the surrounding group. "What are you going to do, leave now without an end to the
story? You said stories never end if you look far enough and you look as if you know more about
this one" the voice said.
The Storyteller sits back down and looks at the speaker. The speaker a young woman with light
red hair is looking at him very intently. "Tell me" she said "what of the man I feel sorry for him, I
feel sorry for all three, did they become a family again, did he find the woman again." The
Storyteller looks at her a minute and then he starts to explain.
"Sometimes I fine it hard to explain, but you see" he said "we can never be who we have been
even day to day, we are never who we were yesterday, and we can only be tomorrow what we
learned today. We learn, we grow in understanding, we see new things, so each day we enter it
with a new understanding, from what we learned yesterday. Now if as some people think perhaps
our souls move life to life kind of the same as we go day to day, then we can never be the same
but hopefully, more than we were before, even though our soul is still the same, it grows with
knowledge. Perhaps we carry memories, love and hurts within our soul between lives. You will
have to ask someone that knows more than I. I'm just a simple seeker of the truth, I stumble along
my way trying to accept what God puts before me." The young woman looks at him with a look
of inpatients in her eye's. " You did not answer my question" she said "I asked about the man and
woman so you start explaining life."
The storyteller is not smiling as he said "Perhaps if you would like a happy ending we will find
The mother and daughter, were able to be together again. But this took a very long time as you
and I think of time. In fact after the daughter died, the mother went to a seer who told Morwenna
her daughter would follow her through many life times before they would be together again.
Perhaps this next time there is to be a different man in their life. A good man, who like the
mother, sees their daughter as his glowing light in life.
You ask about the man of old? Some questions I don't know or am unable to answer, but
hopefully he will be close enough to see how beautiful the mother and daughter together have
now become. So yes, now we have given the story a happy ending.”
The Storyteller stands to leave, not saying another word. The outside door to the room opens and
a tall woman walks in. She is tall and elegant, with long hair so dark it seems black until the light
strikes it, then you see flashes of copper, as if there were small dark spots of fire in it.
She looks at the storyteller "Hello Sirius, I see you've been telling your stories again" the
Storyteller responded "Hello Anna, somehow when I saw my audience, I thought you might
come along before the night was over" she continues "I came for my daughter Adrienne, is she
here?" Even as she spoke, the young red headed woman had gotten up and moved up beside her
mother. "Sirius would you like a ride home? It's a long walk and it's getting late" The woman
asks. But he doesn't hear or respond, he is just looking at the two women standing there together
smiling at them. But in his thoughts everything is right.
"She is close now" he thinks "a tall Lady with a red-haired daughter. He looks in their eye's and
he sees, the reflection of the mother's soul in the daughter's eye's. "They have been a long time
coming together again" he thinks. How special this Lady must be, she returns to take care of only
one small child.
Then he feels old eyes looking out of his and he knows. Not only has the man of now looked
backwards through the eye’s of the man that was. The man of old has now looked forward,
finding mother and daughter together. More beautiful than they have ever been."
"Sirius! Did you want a ride, if so stop dreaming and lets go, sometimes your dreams get carried
far beyond reality. We can drop you off at your house before we go on to our place"she added?
"Yes, Yes sorry, just let me get my pack and dog" as the old man calls out "Ruff lets go now."
The Storyteller follows the woman and her daughter from the room but stops at the door
thanking the young man holding it open.
The young man wondered later, why did the Storyteller have a silver tear run down his cheek as
he said goodnight?