Story beginnings, endings and other phrases

How to begin and end a tale

In 1997 a thread on the Storytell listserv resulted in a collation of phrases storytellers traditionally use to open and close a story.
While editing my own Word.doc of the file for a forthcoming workshop, I found Dutch storyteller Rudolf Roos had already done the work for me.

My gratitude to Rudolf, and here are the lists on his website:

139 Folktale and Fairy Tale Beginnings by Storytellers
(No. 111 I claim as my own original opening to Well of the World’s End)

99 Folktale and Fairy Tale Endings by Storytellers

Phrases to use between the beginning and the end

Again for the forthcoming workshop, I have collated suggestions of phrases storytellers like to use in a tale. These range from how to cover up a mistake (and we all make them) to moving the plot forward.

My workshop co-presenter, John Rogers, offers his own German-English phrase list.

More storytelling links

Lesson plans

Go here for tales to watch

Go here for a list of all tales included on this site

Go here to receive an e-mail notification when new tales are added

Permission to tell outlines my views on copyright

For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling