Jimmy No-Story

(first four min.)

A tale from Scotland which shows what terrible things can happen if you have no tale to tell.

Here is a clip recorded at Tell me a Story, Show me the World conference, PH Zurich, in September 2013. When the camera started I was explaining that all guests at a Scottish ceilidh are expected to contribute to the evening's entertainment - in one way or another!


Ceilidh (Gaelic word for a gathering or party, pronounced "kay-lee") - everyone must contribute to entertainment: sing, dance or story - otherwise thrown out!
Old farmer in Highlands of Scotland, all drinking, all singing, dancing, telling tales.
"Hey, Jimmy - your turn now, tell us a story."
Jimmy had no story, no song, couldn't dance - thrown out!
"Come back when you have a story!"
J. walking by loch under full moon, sees boat drawn up, something shining in boat, leans in to see, slips on mud, falls in and knocks himself out.
Comes to, boat is floating on water. Looks over to see in reflection how big bump on head is. But face he sees is a WOMAN'S FACE! He has turned into a woman.
Morning, boat comes to land. A young farmer sees beautiful woman (Jimmy) - fall in love, marry, children.
One day husband tells Jimmy they'll have a ceilidh, has a barrel of whiskey in house, another reserve barrel in boat.
Evening, full moon - barrel in house empty - "she" runs to boat for second barrel.
Leaning in, something shining - foot slips - knocked out.
Comes to, boat floating on water. Looks over to see in reflection how big bump on head is. But face she sees is a MAN'S FACE!
Rows to land, runs up to farmhouse - old farmer: "You've come back quick - but have you got a story?"
Jimmy tells what happened: the best tale of the evening.
Becomes great storyteller - but tears in his eyes when remembers children.

Many great variants of this tale are told in Scotland and Ireland.

A full recording is on the CD Jack goes Hunting and other Tales


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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You are a teacher? Read this: Telling stories in the classroom: basing language teaching on storytelling

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