Do you have your own story for The StoryBox? Here you can read a Story Keeper's legend of how The StoryBox came to be. We invite you to submit your own story about The StoryBox. It can be a story that has happened or a story that has never happened. It can be a story about your experience with The StoryBox or it can be a story, fairy tale, folk tale, original tale, local tale, or family tale that you think should be included in the box. We would love to showcase your story and send it with The StoryBox. Please click on the "Submit Your Story" and fill out the form. We can't wait to hear your tales!
© 2006 by Billie S. Noakes
A long time ago, all the stories ever known had been told so many times that people knew them all very well. So well, in fact, that people were sure they would never forget them, so people didn't make time to listen to them any more!
Well, we all know that if no one is listening, it's not long before no one will be telling, either, so you shouldn't be surprised when I tell you that soon the stories started to disappear.
Now, it happened that one child understood something that the grown-ups didn't.
After all, stories hold all the magic in the world, and all the really important information, too.
Why, if it weren't for stories that had been told generation after generation, no one would know that the willow tree holds the secret to easing pain, or how the moon and stars came to live in the night time sky.
The lessons of kindness and wisdom would be lost; there would be no trickster tales to shorten the long winter nights; and no fairy stories would linger to carry children to sleep.
It was a sad and lonely time for stories, but Lee was determined to save as many of them as possible. Then one day, when people wanted them again, the stories could be retold.
Lee started to write down the stories, one by one, and put them in a big box for safekeeping. Lee wrote, "The StoryBox" on the lid, so as not to forget what was inside.
Some of the stories that went into the box were so old that Lee had to concentrate for days, remembering all the details before printing them out carefully on sheets of paper.
Some were so new that Lee had to learn them quickly and write them down on whatever was at hand, so they wouldn't slip away unnoticed.
Eventually, Lee was sure that all the stories ever told were in The StoryBox, and just in time, because almost no one remembered any more that stories were once a part of everyday life.
By this time, Lee had grown up and was raising a family, but no matter how busy the days were, Lee always made time to visit The StoryBox, to read and remember the wonders inside.
Each time Lee finished reading, back The StoryBox would go, to the very center of the very top shelf in the closet, and Lee's children grew curious about the big box that held Lee's attention, yet was so far out of their reach.
Sometimes, the children would draw close as Lee read from the papers in the mysterious box, straining to understand the words forming silently on Lee's lips.
Sometimes, Lee would fall asleep holding one or two of the pages, and the children would grow bold and slip the sheets from Lee's grasp.
Eagerly, they would gaze upon the words preserved so long ago, concentrating on the unfamiliar names and places, and struck with wonder at the mention of creatures that were magical and mystical. The children wondered why, of all the places in the world, these chronicles had come to live in Lee's closet.
Mystified, the children slipped the pages back into place before Lee awoke, never suspecting that Lee watched them from beneath eyelids eager to fly open and drink in their awestruck faces.
Lee knew that allowing the children to discover The StoryBox in secret would certainly keep their interest aroused, and lead them, one day, to rediscover the magic of stories.
Lee was right! One day, the children's curiosity overcame their caution, and when Lee wasn't looking they sneaked to the closet and stood on the back of a big chair.
Reaching up to the very center of the very top shelf, they took the box from its special place and set it on the floor.
"The StoryBox," they read.
"What's a Story?" they asked each other, unaware that Lee had stepped into the room and discovered their secret adventure.
"Here," said Lee, "I can tell you."
Lee picked up The StoryBox and carried it outside, where Lee and the children could sit together on the soft grass.
"A Story," Lee began, "is what you tell someone when what you're saying is very important."
"Oh," the children said, disappointed. "It's like a lecture. Or a sermon at church."
"Not at all," Lee assured them. "It's a way of telling a secret, without coming right out and saying it."
"Is it a riddle?" the children asked.
"Sometimes, but not always," answered Lee. "A Story is a way of making sure what you say will be remembered."
And with a gentle smile, Lee lifted the lid off The StoryBox and began to read …
Lee kept the children enthralled all afternoon, and as the stories came to life on the pages in Lee's hands, reading gave way to telling, and even the oldest stories were made young again as Lee told them to a generation of children who had never heard them before.
Soon, other children noticed that something was happening there at Lee's home and they gathered around to listen, too, and the stories were separated only by silence as the children all held their breath, waiting for whatever story would be revealed next.
The children went home and told their parents about The StoryBox, and their parents grew quiet, and remembered, and realized that something important had been missing from their lives for a long time, something their own children had just discovered and returned to them.
Soon, the grown-ups started coming by to listen, too, and as they listened, they began to remember the stories they'd heard when they were young.
They wrote down those stories, and brought them to Lee to keep in The StoryBox. The stories were already there, of course, but each story someone brought was just a little different from the stories Lee had collected, because stories are shaped by the people who share them, and change just a bit with each retelling.
Time went by, and Lee grew too old to carry The StoryBox, now that it had so many stories from so many people in it. Lee asked the children to become the guardians of the box, and instantly, a whole community of Story Keepers was created!
The first thing they did was look at The StoryBox with a certain amount of concern. It was old, and worn, and so tattered that it didn't really do justice to the beautiful stories it contained.
The Story Keepers took light and color, sunshine and moon glow, and painted another StoryBox, bigger and stronger, to hold all the stories.
The new StoryBox made such an impressive sight that no one wanted to keep The StoryBox in a closet any more. They wanted to send The StoryBox out into the world so everyone could enjoy it!
And that's just what they did. They sent The StoryBox to hospitals where its stories eased people's suffering, and they sent it to schools where it gave students the knowledge of many generations. The StoryBox brought laughter and magic everywhere it went.
And everywhere it went, people wanted to be sure their stories were in it, so when The StoryBox was sent further on its way, it was always a little heavier with the joy and the love that accompanied each of the stories.
Soon there were so many stories in The StoryBox that they couldn't be kept in just one box, or two … or even ten!
People were so eager to share their stories that they made their own StoryBoxes, and sent them to friends in distant cities and lands who were inspired, in turn, to share the stories as they had learned them. For all their differences, the stories showed again and again how people all over the world are so very much alike.
Now you know one of the legends about The StoryBox. I hope it helps you understand how important your stories are, and that your understanding will lead you to begin a storytelling tradition of your own in the New Year, sharing the stories you love with the people you love.