Huddle around, dusk is upon us. You. Yes, you there, come closer. Good, good. For tonight I’ve a tale to tell. The oldest of tales. And it will chill your heart lest the flame lick at your bones…
Since the dawn of language stories have existed, fulfilling humans’ need to cast their experiences in narrative form. Storytellers moved from land to land, dusty-booted, eyes glittering with the wonders they’d seen, bringing tales and tidings and the stir of excitement we may now feel when opening a book. Indeed, bards were held in high esteem; there are accounts of individuals being allowed to keep their lives by telling stories, and much later—in the middle ages—being honoured as members of royal courts.
Audiobooks may seem like a relatively new medium, yet listening to an oral account is inherently more natural than reading one. Audiobooks, however, are just as rigid creations as their written brethren, since, once recorded, they assume an unwavering form; oral renditions would change from telling to telling and teller to teller. The Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Andersen are examples of this ‘rigidisation;’ documenting folklore, putting their own moralistic spin on it and locking it forever in the forms we know so well.
When we write then, are we storytellers become scribes? Or scribes scratching at stories? Does the written word hold greater allure than the spoken that we may savour it the more? They certainly both contain magic, albeit magic in different forms.
…So, lend me your ears and let us begin; back to when your forefathers’ fragile births were poised ‘neath the impossible weight of everything.
Come dawn the world will be changed, and we along with it.