Tall Tale

Summer camp, I was one of two inexperienced group leaders.
A night walk in forest with children – of course we got lost.
Children exhausted, walked by the same meadow for third time, children wanted to rest.
All children fell asleep.

I said: “Kids will sleep for hours, may as well leave them and see if we can find a way out of forest.”
Saw light in distance, was a cottage with a high wooden fence around it.

Looked through window, saw old woman.
“Can you tell us way out?”
“Yes, but first come in, eat and drink something – you look tired.”

She opened the gate for us. In the house everything smelled so good, kids would still be asleep, so in we went.
Old woman disappeared into kitchen to get food and drink.

Was away a long time. I went to investigate – saw her at back of house sharpening a knife on whetstone. She was singing to herself:
“At last someone has come. At last someone has come.”
We crept out of front door as quietly as we could. But now the gate was locked.
I helped my friend over the fence.
But old woman heard us.
Came running with knife.
My friend was on top of fence, pulling me up.
But old woman coming closer, screaming, waving knife.
My friend couldn’t pull me up fast enough – old woman came just as I was still on the fence – she stabbed me with knife right in the middle of my backside.

And from that day on, I’ve always had this hole in my bum!

A great pleasure for all storytellers is to hear other people tell stories. Last night (which was 17th July, 2003) Bernd, one of the participants on a teacher-training course in Halle, told some us this story while we were sitting in a Biergarten.
This is just the skeleton of what he told as quite a long story.

As a tall tale should be told, Bernd began this as a personal anecdote about himself, adding a few details so that we assumed this really was something which had happened to him. As the tension then built up, we were so carried along by the tale that the scatological punch-line (with Bernd pointing very seriously to his anus) got a big laugh of delight as we realised how he had fooled us.

Bernd also told us Vampire in the Taxi, an example of another popular genre – the jump tale.
And jump we did when he came to the final line!

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