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STORY TELLING
  Displaying page 1 of 2    Next Page >> 
[ Also see Anecdotes Ballads Conversation Fiction Literature Novels Romance Rumor Talking Writing ]

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
      - Hannah Arendt

At this point therefore let us begin our narrative, without adding any more to what has already been said; for it would be foolish to lengthen the preface while cutting short the history itself.
      - Bible, II Maccabees (ch. II, v. 32)

Dear Ellen, your tales are all plenteously stored,
  With the joy of some bride and the wealth of her lord,
    Of her chariots and dresses,
      And worldly caresses,
        And servants that fly when she's waited upon:
          But what can she boast if she weds unbeloved?
            Can she e'er feel the joy that one morning I proved,
              When I put on my new gown and waited for John?
      - Robert Bloomfield

A schoolboy's tale, the wonder of an hour!
      - Lord Byron (George Gordon Noel Byron),
        Childe Harold (canto II, st. 2)

A story, in which native humour reigns,
  Is often useful, always entertains;
    A graver fact, enlisted on your side,
      May furnish illustration, well applied;
        But sedentary weavers of long tales
          Give me the fidgets, and my patience fails.
      - William Cowper, Conversation (l. 203)

In this our spacious isle I think there is not one
  But he hath heard some talk of Hood and Little John,
    Of Tuck, the merry friar, which many a sermon made
      In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade.
      - Michael Drayton

In this spacious isle I think there is not one
  But he hath heard some talk of Hood and Little John,
    Of Tuck, the merry friar, which many a sermon made
      In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade.
      - Michael Drayton, Polyolbion

This story will never go down.
      - Henry Fielding, Tumble-Down Dick (air I)

In vain would I seek to discover
  Why sad and mournful am I,
    My thoughts without ceasing brood over
      A tale of the time gone by.
        [Ger., Ich weiss nicht was soll es bedeuten,
          Dass ich so traurig bin:
            Ein marchen aus alten Zeiten
              Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn.]
      - Heinrich Heine, Die Lorelei,
        (E.A. Bowring's translation)

When thou dost tell another's jest, therein
  Omit the oaths, which true wit cannot need;
    Pick out of tales the mirth, but not the sin.
      - George Herbert, Temple--Church Porch
         (st. 11)

Soft as some song divine, thy story flows.
      - Homer ("Smyrns of Chios"), The Odyssey
         (bk. XI, l. 458), (Pope's translation)

I hate
  To tell again a tale once fully told.
      - Homer ("Smyrns of Chios"), The Odyssey
         (bk. XII, l. 566), (Bryant's translation)

And what so tedious as a twice-told tale.
      - Homer ("Smyrns of Chios"), The Odyssey
         (bk. XII, last line),
        (Pope's translation)

Why do you laugh? Change but the name, and the story s told of yourself.
  [Lat., Quid rides?]
    Mutato nomine de te fabula narratur.]
      - Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Satires
         (I, 1, 69)

But that's another story.
      - Rudyard Kipling, Mulvaney--Soldiers Three

An' all us other children, when the supper things is done,
  We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
    A-list'nin' to the witch tales 'at Annie tells about
      An' the gobble-uns 'at gits you
        Ef you
          Don't
            Watch
              Out!
      - James Whitcomb Riley, Little Orphant Annie

I cannot tell how the truth may be;
  I say the tale as 'twas said to me.
      - Sir Walter Scott,
        The Lay of the Last Minstrel
         (canto II, st. 22)

And thereby hangs a tale.
      - William Shakespeare

But that I am forbid
  To tell the secrets of my prison house,
    I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
      Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
        Make thy two eyes like stars start from their spheres,
          Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
            And each particular hair to stand on end
              Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Hamlet Prince of Denmark (Ghost at I, v)

His eye begets occasion for his wit;
  For every object that the one doth catch
    The other turns to a mirth-moving jest,
      Which his fair tongue, conceit's expositor,
        Delivers in such apt and gracious words,
          That aged ears play truant at his tales,
            And younger hearings are quite ravished,
              So sweet and voluble is his discourse.
      - William Shakespeare, Love's Labor's Lost
         (Rosaline at II, i)

Out of their saddles into the dirt--and thereby hangs a tale.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Taming of the Shrew
         (Grumio at IV, i)

For seldom shall she hear a tale
  So said, so tender, yet so true.
      - William Shenstone, Jemmy Dawson (st. 20)

He cometh unto you with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney corner.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

With a tale, forsooth, he cometh to you with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney-corner.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney),
        The Defense of Poesy

A story should, to please, at least seem true,
  Be apropos, well told, concise, and new:
    And whenso'er it deviates from these rules,
      The wise will sleep, and leave applause to fools.
      - Benjamin Stillingfleet


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