This story is on my mind because I’ve encountered noisy people in my life, but the truth is I can be rather noisy! There is a gift in noise if we listen for it. I found such a gift in the noise my stomach was making this afternoon. A noise that felt like panic and fear. The noise that said you shouldn’t do this or that. Posting this story and video is my way of saying no to the noisy part of me inside that shouts STOP! WAIT!  And, more importantly, it is a way to share a bit of the storytelling process with you.

The text of the story is directly below. I also made a short video of the story. If you compare the text and video, you will see that they are not the same. First, I’ve never recorded myself telling a story so there’s that! Second, text is fixed upon a page and needs to accommodate the reader in a different way. Third, stories change every time you tell them. Fourth, I’ve never told this story before to an audience – so this is one of many firsts. I only decided to do this a few hours ago, that is, record, write and tell this new version of the story. The link to my video can be found at end of this blog.

Note this is an experiment. The text and audio versions have some flaws. I’ve decided to leave them in – this isn’t about perfection, it is about the process and I want to share it with you.

Once there was an innkeeper. He struggled to feed his family and times were lean. One day there was a knock on the inn and a beggar man looked back at him as he opened the door. Such people had knocked on his door before. The beggar man wanted food. The innkeeper sometimes said yes, sometimes no. Today he said yes.

The beggar man was treated like the few other guests in the room and soon had some hot food set before him. Before he left he asked the innkeeper if he would mind if he thanked him with a gift drawn upon the wall. The innkeeper was fine with that and went on about his business.

Soon the drawing was complete. The crane he drew was as big as a man and quite beautiful. The innkeeper was about to thank him when the beggar man asked him to clap two times.

Music filled the room and the crane folded itself out of the wall and danced gracefully, despite its large size, in the small room. The innkeeper watched in delight and amazement. When the music was finished the crane folded itself back into the wall and the music stopped. The innkeeper, as the beggar man requested, promised he would not clap more than twice in any one day. And so it was that the beggar man went on his way and the innkeeper prospered.

Life was good. He had many customers and the years passed until one day a noisy man clamored into the inn and demanded to see the crane dance. The innkeeper told him that the crane had already danced earlier that day, and he welcomed him to stay the night and see the crane dance the next day.

This wasn’t good enough for the noisy man who kept demanding the innkeeper do his bidding. I don’t know why the innkeeper did what he did next.  Maybe he was afraid of the noisy man, or tired of his complaints, but he clapped his hands together twice and the music started.

I shouldn’t call it music. It wasn’t, it was painful to listen to – and made everyone cover their ears. The crane moved stiffly out of the wall and it hurt the eyes to see the crane move.  He knocked over chairs, tables and earthenware.

Eventually, the crane folded itself back into the wall, the noisy man having fled the inn. When the innkeeper turned around he saw the beggar man at the door. He said not a word and walked over to the drawing and touched the crane in the crook of its neck. The crane unfolded itself out of the wall, the beggar man climbed on top of him and they flew away into the sunset.

And so it was that the innkeeper always said yes to a beggar man that knocked at his door, always kept the gift of the crane in his heart and never again allowed a noisy man to sit at his table.

Click here for the link to the video of me telling the story.

Love to hear how this experiment resonates with you!

– Mary

P.S. When I read the bones of storyteller, Richard Martin‘s The Miraculous Crane, I was inspired to work on this little story myself. You can find the bones of the story I first read here.

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Edited for clarity and redundancy, added an image and removed two images.  I also added the link to my video on Youtube and removed the embedded Youtube image – 12/27/2016.

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