The Carpenter

A tale of peace, recorded for the 10th Afghanistan Artistic and Cultural Storytellers Association festival, 2018

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This story is widely told, especially in the USA. It was popularised by Pleasant DeSpain as “Old Joe and the Carpenter” in 33 Multi-cultural tales to Tell.

Although, at least for me, the story comes close to the limits of sermonising (suggesting that this is how it originated), I feel it does not quite cross the line!

I have not read DeSpain’s version nor ever heard the story told. As I only know it from a skeleton sent by another storyteller, I am not sure how close my version is to the printed one.
Pleasant DeSpain writes: “I first heard the bare bones of this, my signature story, from an elementary school librarian in Bellingham, Washington, in 1977. I simplified the plot and strengthened the ending during many years of telling it aloud. Perhaps the first recorded version is found in North Carolina Folklore, “A Job of Work, by Manly Wade Wellman, Volume III,, No. 1, July, 1955. The story was told to Mr. Wellman in 1951 by an old bee hunter named Green who lived near Bat Cave in Henderson, North Carolina.”

More deep tales

The video gallery has become very extensive. So if you would enjoy more tales like this which explore the depths of the human psyche, here are a few suggestions.



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