Telling tales is a worldwide human activity. To tell a story is to determine or disclose a secret. Every recognized society on earth, at every documented period of history, has told stories; some as oral history, some as the parts of the religious rites, some for teaching and some for pure entertainment. These stories admit being fabricated; are the product of imagination which creates new worlds, thus, providing an outlet for our fears and frustrations and a stage for our hopes, dreams and requirements. “Story-telling is an art, a fine art.”It is passing on of events in words, pictures and sounds often by inventiveness or embellishments. A tale when told with reverence and earnestness indicates the deep truths personified in it and conveys pictures and meanings that creep into the depths of a listener’s being. Introductory phrases such as ‘Once Upon a Time’ and ‘Long Long Ago’ are so charmed that they automatically grab the attention.
Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, edification, cultural conservation and in order to mount moral values. Though, the psychology of entertainment is complex, and different listeners get fascinated to different stories for quite different reasons, but the sturdy make-belief components of these stories satisfy several social and personal needs, and most significantly provide a mechanism for fantasy wish fulfillment.
The earliest form of story-telling was primarily oral combined with gestures and expressions. The stories were scratched onto the walls of the caves. The Australian aboriginal people painted symbols from the stories on cave walls. The story was then told using a mixture of oral narrative, music, rock art and dance. While in Andhra-Pradesh (in India), gypsies narrated the stories and were called ‘Burra’. In Tamil Nadu, the tradition of story-telling is called Villu-Pattu, the bow-song. Villu-Pattu, in which stories were told, go together with by a stringed instrument like a bow.
The ways of interpreting and telling of these stories may be different at different places but the similarity of the human psyche all over the place led to the independent originations of the stories with more or less, and the process is called Polygenesis. For example, ‘Cinderella’ is a well-studied case, and has number of different version. Every story varies in its conclusion. Perrault, where, ended it on a happy note, with Cinderella pardoning her step-mother and her step-sisters. The Brother Grimm added extra graphic details into their text; like, when the step-sisters try on the glass slippers, and find it doesn’t fit them, they cut off their toes to make it fit accurately. Rossini’s opera uses bracelets instead of glass slippers, and Disney version incorporated sub-plots involving talking animals that live in the house with Cinderella. Cinderella has 340 variations and can be traced as far as 850-60 C.E. (Common Era), where its first version was written in China.
The oral form of storytelling for children was the only medium of recreation in the past for children and at the same time it was satisfying those who wanted to imbue moral values into children’s growth of personality. Storytelling was a common and social event. The oldest business is storytelling; it’s an age old tradition, a primeval art.
The word storytelling can mean many things. Each person holds a different idea of what it is. In order to make an adequate evaluation of the state of storytelling, one must establish a working definition for oral narrative. This must be sufficiently specific to provide a workable meaning but broad enough to encompass the wide range of activities individuals identify as storytelling.
Storytelling can be heard and practiced in coffee shops and restaurants in Ottawa, New York, Dublin, Toronto, Glasgow, London and numerous other cities. The dynamic Toronto storytelling was conceived in the late 70’s when storytellers, who had formerly worked in seclusion, met to tell stories every Friday night in the café in what came to be known as the “1,001 Friday Nights,” a custom which is persistent and is un-interpreted even since.
Education analysis tends to emphasis on the effects of narrative on children and usually exhibits that narrative and storytelling have distinctive and compelling effects on development. Storytelling increase IQ, imagination, memory, and concentration. Neurological research shows that reading or listening to stories generates strong frontal lobe activity in the form of mental visualization, which in turn improves the growth of neural dendrites, particularly in children. This research has added to a revolution in classroom techniques.