Clever Is As Clever Does

Are geniuses born, or made? In this week’s episode we hear two ancient stories about brilliant youths, and we see both perspectives to this question. These two folktales also happen to be the genesis of two modern movie genres.

Music by:
Ben Murray-Smith

Sources Referenced:
The Three Princes of Serendip as told by Richard Boyle in Living Heritage
The Master Thief as told by Andrew Lang

It Was All A Dream

Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions. A common motif in stories, movies, and music, is to bring in a dream as foreshadowing for what will happen later.

Sometimes, it even drives the drama within the plot. This week we hear two stories in which dreams foreshadow and determine the main characters’ fate.

Music by:
Ben Murray-Smith
Joakim Karud

Sources Referenced:
A Dreamer’s Tale via
The Three Dreams story via DL Ashliman’s PittU site

Let’s Play “Pretend”

Stories since the beginning of time have been thrilling us by having characters take on false identities. In this episode we look at one legendary song and two folktales that show us the GOOD and BAD consequences of pretending to be someone we’re not. Major thanks to Christopher Wallace, Aaron Shepard, and O. Henry for their contribution to the legacy of stories.

Music by:
Ben Murray-Smith

Sources Referenced:
“I Got A Story To Tell” song by Notorious B.I.G.
“Forty Fortunes” an old folktale as re-told by Aaron Shepard
“A Retrieved Reformation” a short story by O. Henry

Infatuation, Thy Name is Love

Love stories are as old as time, but then again, so are stories about its creepy sister-emotion: infatuation.

In a continuation of the chat between my friend Casandra and I, we land on the topic of how guys still use pickup lines. She shares with us one specific pickup line that was a little too corny not to be memorable.

This episode features two short stories. One old one, and a REALLY old one.

The first story is the REALLY old one, and it comes by way of Turkey. It’s called “What Happened to Hadji,” a humorous story where an infatuation goes terribly wrong. Can Hadji be redeemed by the end of it?

The second story is a witty short story about a wannabe lover looking to literally buy the attention of his obsession. The story was written by the prolific writer John Collier back in the mid-20th century. You’ll recognize many motifs in this story that have been copied by Hollywood movies in the decades since.

Thanks to the sources that influenced this episode, specifically Jane Yolen who included “What Happened to Hadji” in her folk tale anthology Favorite Folktales From Around The World. And thanks to Zoetrope for providing access to “The Chaser” short story.

A Stranger Comes To Town

Speaking with my friend Casandra, we hit upon an interesting topic: how relocating as a youth impacts ones life. She tells me about a traumatic experience she went through as a teenager after moving to Jamaica.

We have three stories for this first episode. They are three folk stories centered around this most familiar theme: a stranger shows up to disrupt the status quo.

The first story is an ancient folk tale with a clever stranger making a scene. It’s called Stone Soup.

The second story is also a very old folk tale about a prince who is convinced he’s really a turkey. Could a complete stranger save the day for the King and Queen? This one is called The Turkey Prince, although in some cultures it’s also called “The Rooster Prince.”

The third story is an adaptation of a classic short story by one of the masters in the Short Story genre. It’s called “The Open Window” by Saki (aka HH Munro).