Storytelling has always had a magical part to it, by this what is meant is that a good storyteller can hold their audience in a sort of a trance captivated by what is being spoken. It is not a coincidence that young children are captivated by a bedside story from their parents, to dream in a mystical world through their sleep.
But stories are actually an intrinsic part of a nation’s culture, and have helped form societies with the same beliefs. Today, stories are imparted to us through movies, media, books, painting, architecture and even religions. As with children’s bedside stories, tales and stories define our dreams, desires and even values. They can also form prejudices and even hatreds and in this blog we try to discover where it all began.
The First Ever Story
Nobody knows when the first story was ever told and by whom, perhaps it was in the form of ancient cave drawings before man could speak?
Storytelling is ancient, and its origins and history are lost in the mist of time. There is a theory that stories were first used as an apology for failure, and to impart bad news. But as families began to get together with other families and form tribes, a person would be elevated as the storyteller to pass on heroic events of the day. These storytellers used to move from one tribe to another and tales would be spread about other clans. As time went by prophets, priests, and rulers became adept at storytelling, and storytelling events were considered highly important.
Before man could write and record events, only memories preserved what had gone on before and people had to be good listeners. In these times a good storyteller was revered, and audiences would gather around in eager anticipation to listen to the information in the stories.
It was even more exciting to learn about faraway lands and mystical people from travelers. One of the earliest known stories was Gilgamesh, which was the story of a legendary Sumerian king. And the earliest recorded story can be found in Egypt, when tales from the sons of Cheops were written down and recorded for eternity.
The Variety of Storytelling
History reveals to us that stories came in many guises, from legends and myths, fables, epic adventures, heroic stories, fairy-tales, and prophesies. These were all told often, then retold, and told again so they were passed down from generation to generation. In ancient times they were a way of passing on important information so new generations could gain knowledge of forefathers and events such as natural disasters like tidal waves, famine, and great floods.
These stories often told about gods and kings which helped to form early religions and beliefs. The stories grew cultures and people formed their identities around what they believed in. Storytelling is not merely a way of giving pleasure to audiences, it has formed the very fabric to societies around the world and what they believe in. The world today would indeed be a different place if some of the ancient stories had never been told.