Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Evander by Rachael Hammond

What happens when curious folk swap stories near a fairy tree? Zounds! A Fairy Tale Ring is born. 

Fairy Tree by Ola Cohn
The Australian Fairy Tale Society is sprouting rings in every state, naming each by its capital city. I agreed to lead the Melbourne ring. To include regional and rural fairies - and nesting with Storytelling Australia Victoria, this blog carries our stately name.

Fairy Tree photos by Jo Henwood, 
co-founder of Australian Fairy Tale Society

This Spring, a twirl of us gathered at Fitzroy Gardens near Olga Cohn’s fairy tree and exchanged tales of many cultural origins, from Aboriginal to Celtic, Persian and Italian. You can read about it in Jackie Kerin’s reportA selection of her photos is below, too, starting with Cindy-Lee Harper, who traces her indigenous heritage to the Pyemarriner people.

Cindy-Lee Harper telling tales given to her by a Wiradjuri elder.
Toby Eccles telling Jack and the Beanstalk

Tiahna Bowie-Ford, Mary-Lou Keaney, LJK, Toby Eccles, Zeinab Yazdanfar
Fairy Tree closer
Louisa John-Krol telling a Celtic-Italian fairy tale
World Tales by Idries Shah

Every couple of months we discuss (verbally or in writing) a fairy tale theme. October was Jack in the Beanstalk, with themes of pillaging, invasion and hidden worlds, brilliantly led by Toby Eccles. Now it’s Little Red Riding Hood (The Grandmother’s Tale), or lupine fire-branding Golden Hood, greeting the elderly with basket-bunting: gifts and ditties in festive bonnet-white & berry-red. In our clime, Summer berries are fabulous, deliciated with Jackie Kerin as she told stories from the Mahabharata.

You don’t need to be an expert or performer to turn up to a fairy ring. You’re also welcome to share ideas via cyberspace, handwritten letter, or dandelion swish. In respect for time and travel, we try to piggy-back on existing events. E.g. 18th December at Words on the Wind we enjoyed supernatural storytelling by Roslyn Quin whom I met via the Monash Fairy Tale Salon. Roslyn mentioned an Italian version of Little Red Riding Hood in which old washerwomen tie sheets to form a bridge for the heroine's escape, then lower them to drown the wolf.

Next day, storyteller-authors JB Rowley, Anne E Stewart & I visited elderly doyen Nell Bell, founder of Australia’s first storytelling guild (ok, second; WA pipped Vic by a fortnight), to honour ancestral inspiration. More about these and other mavens in future posts.

There's talk of a Spring Faery Festival 2015. If you’d like to be involved in a gathering, or share ideas, email me here.