Inspired to think about oral stories by this interesting reflection on Short Stories vs Jokes (John Malone), I was reminded of a brilliant story P and I heard on our big international trip in 2009. We were staying at a little B&B in Wales and, while sharing a delicious hot breakfast, were regaled by another fellow who will have to remain anonymous as I never asked him his name. I kept a detailed journal on the trip and when we returned we combined my journal and a selection of our photos in a book of just over 300 pages. That is why I have the story written as near as I could remember it an hour or so after hearing it.
We were at a Liberal Party meeting once and a friend of our was there too. News came up at the meeting that the ‘Tories had elected a new leader – Maggie Thatcher. Right into the silence – you know how it goes – right into the silence our friend said,
“I ‘ad ‘er knickers off once.”
Everybody turned – you know – and they asked “What’s that, Fred? What’d you say, Fred?”
‘E said, “I used ta babysit for ‘er Mum – you know – changing the nappies and stuff.”
Years later, when we saw ‘im again, I asked Fred, “‘Ow is it with Maggie Thatcher, eh?”
“An’ ‘e said to me, ‘e said, “If I knew then what I know now, if only I knew… there would ‘a’ bin another cot death.”
Perhaps the word for that kind of oral tale is a yarn. A good old yarn.
(Pexel’s free image)