Walking With Ancient Wisdom
Tales from India, Ireland, Africa, and the Czech Republic flow richly through Donna Washington’s elegant vocal performances. Beginning with The Pot Maker and the Tiger, Washington prefaces the story with examples of challenges of helping her young children get beyond “I can’t.” The story’s pot maker also overcame obstacles. When faced with the either admitting defeat or using “story” to find rewarding solutions, listeners will learn that sometimes a good story can be more powerful than physical strength or large armies.
Washington introduces Morgan and the Pot of Brains by saying, “When we’re younger, sometimes what we think is funny has a very different effect on the person they’re saying it to. Nobody thinks about how a single word or thought can change the course of a person’s life.” Here, Morgan had always been told that he didn’t have any brains, and that soon became his self-fulfilling prophecy. Even his own mother sent him out to “buy some brains.” His journey took many twists and turns before finally guiding him to understand, “Don’t let anyone tell you who you are! You work it out for yourself.”
In today’s world with so much discussion about equality, the story Clever Manka weaves an interesting plot twist to negate the idea that “Nothing good ever comes from women who are clever.” Both genders will appreciate how Manka slowly but wisely negotiates the path to convince both her father and the king that her cleverness can be a valuable asset
The collection ends with The Leopard Woman, a story that emphasizes the importance of accepting responsibilities. Should men expect women to be meek and obedient, or should each share the household chores? The wife answers clearly by transforming herself to a potentially ferocious leopard.
Donna Washington’s magnificent delivery and story content are not only filled with ancient wisdom, but modern enlightenment as well.
Dr. Flora Joy ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Flora has been described as a “founder” in the world of storytelling. The following are a few examples of programs or events that she began: (1) Storytelling World, an international journal for which Flora has continued to serve as editor since its first issue in the 1980s. This journal is currently part of NSN’s Storytelling Magazine. (2) The Annual Storytelling Resource Awards Program, (3) The National Storytelling Youth Olympics, and (4) The Master’s Degree Program in Storytelling at ETSU (where she taught for 41 years and is currently a Professor Emeritus). She has won many prestigious awards, including NSN’s Lifetime Achievement Award.