The Value of Stories and Storytelling
Updated: Aug 24, 2022
This story poem came to me while thinking about how important stories are in child development. I would say they are just about essential. It tries to capture the excitement in the mind of a child when he or she is patiently, albeit anxiously, waiting to hear a new story, Within this poem I also share some of the attributes of a fairy tale, fable and tall tale. But for me, I think the last stanza suggests the pay-off for why we should regularly spend time telling or reading stories to children.
Would you Tell Me a Story?
Would you tell me a story that I’ve never heard
of a wizard, or king with a magical bird? Does the wizard command a fierce dragon that flies?
Can that dragon spit fire as he glides through the skies?
Does that magical bird have bright feathers of blue?
Can she lay golden eggs or make wishes come true?
Is she all by herself? Are there more still alive?
Are there hundreds or dozens or not even five?
Could you spin me a yarn of a mouse that’s so brave
that he challenges ogres that live in a cave?
Does that mouse ride a badger or maybe a fox
just to rescue mouse maidens with soft, curly locks?
Is he braver than most with the courage of ten?
Even though he’s a mouse, is he stronger than men?
Does his cavalier hat sport a feather or plume?
When he fights do his enemies fall to their doom?
Do you know any stories with lessons to learn—
maybe why it’s important to wait for my turn,
or why kindness can be a reward all its own,
or if some things are best if I wait ‘til I’m grown?
Are there stories where animals act like we do
having fun with each other like I do with you?
Do they lose when they cheat, or get caught in their lies.
Will their tricks always fail even with a disguise?
What about an old tale told to you by your dad
of a hero with courage no normal man had?
Or perhaps, of a woman— less dainty and fair—
who would think nothing of it to wrestle a bear.
Are they larger than life and as tall as a tree?
Do they fight for what’s right and set others free?
Are they challenged in contests to prove they are strong
and then win every time just to prove them all wrong?
Will a clown save the circus or elephants fly?
Is the maiden so daring or painfully shy?
Will a peasant find courage; a princess be spared?
As the story unfolds will I cheer or be scared?
You can choose which to tell me. Just pick one and start
while I snuggle up close and lean next to your heart.
When the story has ended, please hug me so tight
that your love will embrace me the whole of the night.
© KH Meyers 2021