Milk and Sugar
A powerful tale of refugees
Some time ago a friend in Delhi sent me this story of how the Zorastrians left Persia and settled in India, where they live to this day.
I have told it quite frequently over the years. But it is only with the growing refugee crisis in 2015, a crisis which has forced Europeans to face up to what other less fortunate parts of the world have long had to endure, that I have included it in nearly every performance.
A good friend and neighbour, Jan Wörner, heard me tell Milk and Sugar in November. I was delighted when he sent me his 2015 Christmas blog, giving the tale.
Since Jan is head of the European Space Agency (his blog shows pictures of him attending this week’s launch of three astronauts, including ESA’s Tim Peake), I think it safe to assume that the tale will be read on the International Space Station.
So is this the first time that a folk tale has gone beyond the confines of Earth?
It just proves what we have always known, you cannot limit a good story. Even “the sky’s the limit” is now longer strictly speaking true!
Here is a link to Jan’s blog here. The story, together with some of Jan’s additional historical research, comes right after the beautiful picture of the earth and moon.
UK storyteller Jill Lamede also tells Milk and Sugar. I admire not only her beautifully measured performance, but in particular her skillful crafting of the story to include so many events of 2015 in this powerful tale.
In April 2017 I was delighted to read a reference to the story in the novel Cracking India (1991), by Parsee writer Bapsi Sidwha.
This recording was made at a benefit performance to aid refugee projects. My main concern was to include the debilitating effects of the long wars conducted by the Persian empire.
This is not a story which begins with one culture conquering another, rather just a typical feature of international power politics.
But at least the ending offers hope.
The video clips here are all amateur quality, shot in various theatres.
Their intention is just to show the range of my storytelling and give a flavour of a live performance.
Permission is granted for use in non-commercial educational contexts.
The videos are © Richard Martin.
Professionally recorded CDs and DVDs are available here.
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For those who are teachers: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling