1:5 — How Evil Came into the World

Your task is to take the story about how evil comes into the world, the story King tells about the Witches’ convention in Chapter One of The Truth about Stories, and change it any way you want, except the ending. You can change to place, the people, the time – anything you want. But, your story must have the same moral – it must tell us how evil came into the world and how once a story is told, it cannot be taken back.

Team_SpiritStories are living things–and they are dangerous.  When evil came into the world, it was in the form of a story.  Every evening, the creatures of the world would gather together and share their daily stories.  The birds would tell stories of the sky and all the creatures they had spied on.  The bears would share their struggles to scavenge the ripest berries to prepare for winter.  The snakes would share their difficulties in finding warm rocks to fight the constant chill of their bodies.  The stories were all good and the creatures of the world were content.

One evening, a newcomer joined the gathering.  None of the creatures afterwards could recall exactly who it was, but all of them remembered the story that was told.  The newcomer shared a warning with the others.  A great and terrible creature had been sighted.  Hairless, clawless and without visible defenses, the creature should have been harmless, said the newcomer.  But this strange creature isn’t harmless, insisted the newcomer.  Beware, beware, beware.

The creatures at the gathering laughed.  If this new creature could not fight, it could not be so terrible.  We will attack its eyes, claimed the birds.  I will attack with my claws and teeth, chimed the bear.  I will coil my great body around it and constrict around its lungs, added the snake.  All the other creatures agreed and added their own strategies, until all of them felt confident that this new creature could do them no harm.

Laugh if you want, the newcomer warned, but they are coming.  They are cunning and cruel and full of fear.  Their eyes see only a dead, cold world.  They are deaf to the speech of other animals, deaf to the wind in the trees and the babbling brooks.  But worst of all, they fear.  They fear the world they cannot hear.  They destroy what they fear.  They destroy even themselves.  Beware, beware, beware. They are coming now.

All of the other creatures had grown silent and still.  We do not like your story, take it back.  Take it back.  Take it back.

But it is too late.  They are already coming.

Commentary

I found this form of storytelling to be very difficult.  While I have crafted fiction frequently in the past, they have all been written storytelling; the Genesis version of events, with “rhetorical distance,” to use Thomas King’s example, as opposed to oral storytelling, involving a performance for an audience (22).  I researched other creation stories in trying to come up with my own (I also found what I think is the full version of Leslie Silko’s creation story, if anyone was curious).  I discovered one very important thing on this journey: I suck at oral storytelling.  It’s harder.  As an oral storyteller, you can’t just rely on your words to paint the picture–though I’m sure this helps.  You need to act, use different tones and voice, draw people in.  Even a short story like the one I wrote above involves a performance, or else my listeners lost their attention.  I’m not ashamed to say I researched for tips and tricks.  I was in over my head and needed to tell a good story at least once!  My endeavors led me places such as this, and I learned something crucial: there isn’t a lot of information of telling a story specifically orally.  Did anyone else try to research something similar in preparation and encounter the same result?

Works Cited

“Image.” Digital Painting.  Magic Jargon. Magic: The Gathering, 9 Sept 2006.  Web.  30 May 2016.

King, Thomas. The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2003. Print.

Silko, Leslie.  “[Long Time Ago].” First World Stories, n.d.  Web.  30 May 2016.

Ware, Tom.  “Tips From a Master Storyteller.”  The New Zealand Guild of Storytellers, n.d. Web 30 May 2016.

7 thoughts on “1:5 — How Evil Came into the World

  1. Hi Gillian,

    I like how you say that because of the fear, the world is dead to them. The lively world is dead to the fearful perceiver. Do you think that a lot of the social functions we have in place are a result of humanity’s projected fear? Even advertisements run on fear, though it appears to run on desire. But I think desire is a result of fear to stay just the way we are. By the way, I also didn’t find my storytelling skills all that great. At least, my audiences wasn’t interested in listening haha.

    Cheers,
    Lorraine

    • Hello Lorraine,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my story! I am a little unclear on your question; I’m not sure exactly what social functions you are referring to. My opinion would be more so that fear was the gateway that allowed evil to come into the world. There are a lot of atrocities committed in history that began out of fear, and I am sure there will be more. As human beings, we tend to destroy what we fear or do not understand, sometimes using rather cruel means that could be considered evil. This is more what I was trying to convey with my story: fear is the root of evil, and how evil comes into the world. I hoped that helped!

      Gillian

  2. Hi Gillian,
    I love how you also discuss the potentially dangerous impacts of storytelling, within the context of your story. Although stories can be empowering and informative, stories can also disenfranchise people and be used as a weapon. I think that your story encompasses this issue well, and incorporates a sense of disbelief and fear.

    I also had a very difficult time and tried to research some creative writing strategies! It can be so hard!

    Thanks for your story – I enjoyed it!
    Charlotte

    • Hi Charlotte,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my story! And for me it was more so the oral storytelling, and then trying to duplicate a written version that was as close to the oral version as possible. They really are two drastically different ways of telling a story!

      Gillian

  3. THIS STORY WAS SO COOL.
    Have you ever read Fire Bringer or The Sight by David Clement-Davies? The books are similar to the tone of your piece — animals who can talk and are intelligent, and danger. The Sight in particular is really good (but I warn you terribly sad).
    I like how you mentioned that the creatures (humans) fear what they cannot understand/experience — the age-old crux of humanity’s relationship with the natural world (at least the “western” bit).
    I didn’t look up how to tell a story orally, but I had the same issues telling my story to my sister! But I kind of liked having to change my tone of voice, or gesture, though I felt a bit silly at first.
    Mia

  4. Gillian,
    Great story. It is evident that you have experience in creative writing! Interesting and ominous approach to the ‘story’. I wonder how the animals may have perceived the newcomer if he had just been a powerful, but neutral, being? Just as in Leslie Silko’s story, the association of fear and power is interesting, and raises many questions. A story is powerful – but not all fear it! Just some thoughts. Anyways, my adventure in oral storytelling started off shaky but I got into it eventually. I listen to a lot of audio books, so I likely drew influence from them.
    Cheers,
    Sanae

  5. Hi Gillian,
    I really enjoyed your story, I liked how you used language and while reading it in my head I see what you mean about using different tones and voices. I too found myself thinking about how my story sounded orally while writing it and I wish I had thought to look up tips and tricks. I like how you brought the story back to animals and creatures, and found your take on what evil “is” very interesting. Reading through these stories, it seems everyone has a different view of the form evil takes and it is fascinating to see how everyone views it. I think that it shows too how story telling varies (which I’m assuming the point of the assignment was to see) and how each story has the same moral and ending, yet the story line, characters, and cause of evil are different.

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