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Stories and Story-telling

Angela M. Keyes

213 pages
Library of Alexandria
With high esteem and full of respect I greet a genuine story-teller; with intense gratitude I grasp him by the hand. —Froebel The school is joining hands with the children for fuller recognition of the story and story-telling. Note, by the way, that it is with the children. In an elder day grown-ups, too, yielded themselves to the witchery of the story. But printing and the book banished the wandering story-teller; with a little progress in science came recoil from the superstitions and absurdities of the folk tale; the increasing complexity of life bred in the superficial thinker contempt for the unperplexed nursery fable; the intellectual pedant found it distressingly naïve; pressure of affairs robbed the busy man of any leisure for it. So, among peoples advancing in civilization, the grown-ups gradually left the story more and more to the children. And the children, wise youngsters that they are, have never allowed themselves to outgrow it. Is it not delightful to note that learning is bringing the adult back to the story? The trend of thought to-day, urging him to look to the natural beginnings of things, is taking him back to the story. The historian searches it for early glimpses of fact; the philosopher sees lasting wisdom in it; the literary seer marvels at the truth and beauty of fairy-tale symbols of life; the busy man of affairs accompanies his children to juvenile drama and nonsense opera. The art of story-telling itself is again finding an audience among men and women, as well as children. Best of all, the school, directing its effort toward the natural development of the young child, is pressing the educational properties of the story. Reiteration of these properties now is timely. Psychology is throwing clearer light on the education of the feelings and the taste; the story should be helpful here. The thoughtful in the community are urging more attention to the spiritualizing and humanizing subjects in the courses of study; the story belongs in this class. Other favorable present conditions will appear as the merits of the story are briefly set forth.