Shonaleigh’s Diary

Tellers, Tales and Tradition: The Ruby Tree, Zwolle, Netherlands 2019
Mar 22 @ 7:30 pm – Mar 24 @ 2:00 pm
Tellers, Tales and Tradition: The Ruby Tree, Zwolle, Netherlands 2019 @ The Storytelling Boat

Shonaleigh is an internationally respected narrator and tradition keeper. She was born in the Netherlands and she grew up in England. She is a Drut’syla, a narrator in the Jewish tradition. This oral tradition of remembering and telling thousands of traditional stories has been passed through generations of Jewish women for centuries.
Counter, Tales and Tradition is an invaluable opportunity for anyone interested in stories or in oral narrative traditions. The weekend is a revival of an almost lost narrative culture. The plan is to tell part of the cycle over the next four years when changing the seasons, so that one complete cycle has been reported over four years.

This weekend tells Shonaleigh The Ruby Tree.

A King and his Queen long for a child. There is only one way to fulfil this wish: the King must pluck a fruit from the strange and wonderful Ruby Tree, planted by Elijah himself and guarded by a shape-shifting witch.

This haunting story has been preserved in Jewish tradition for centuries, carrying echoes of Rapunzel, Snow White and the Twelve Brothers.

Our tales may travel, but the themes within them cross cultures, and wherever they go, they speak to us of our longings and failings, the hopes of generations yet to be born, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Read detailed information and entire program of all TTT weekends under the ticket link

Storytelling at the Feast of Fools, The Emerald Sea
Apr 3 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Storytelling at the Feast of Fools, The Emerald Sea @ Delapre Abbey

Last chance to catch this story in the UK for 12 years!
Shonaleigh is truly one of Europe’s leading storytellers. Having learned the Drut’syla tradition from the age of four, she carries thousands of oral stories from the Jewish tradition and shares their magic, mystery and wisdom with audiences around the world.

In this fourth story in Shonaleigh’s acclaimed Gem cycle, the Cycle of Menasseh, Prince Rahab’s kingdom is threatened.
The power which, from the beginning of time, has held destructive waters in check depends on the inscription of an unutterable name, and the name is being erased.
Rahab and his Queen must make a sacrifice to save the kingdom, but the prince has been imprisoned by a woman who has been done a terrible wrong, and the queen is on a quest to find him.

Shonaleigh’s first visit to us at the Feast of Fools brought the “Opal Forest”, the previous story in the cycle.
Catch this last chance for twelve years to hear a UK telling of “The Emerald Sea”, as Shonaleigh works her way through telling other cycles among her many stories.
More information at

Good cakes and refreshments.

Lichfield Storytellers: The Cloth of Hope and Sorrow
Apr 8 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Lichfield Storytellers: The Cloth of Hope and Sorrow @ The Kings Head

In a remote castle a Makhshef – a demon, a sorcerer and bringer of chaos – lived alone. Once he had a woman imprisoned and a city to torment. Then he was tricked. The woman had taken the silver threads of the moon and sewed images into a blue cloth, taking everything embroidered to a place of safety, including herself. In a rage, the Makhshef took up the cloth, but he saw, stitched in to it, his own half-finished likeness; if he destroyed the cloth he would destroy himself.

This is the story of a demon in search of a soul and the only woman who could finish stitching his image into the Cloth of Hope and Sorrow.

Shonaleigh is a renowned international storyteller – possibly the last drut’syla on the planet and carries thousands of oral stories from that Jewish Tradition. She unravels a fascinating lattice of interlocking tales with unexpected twists and compelling characters. She makes another welcome return to Lichfield.

Tickets £6 on the door

Tellers, Tales and Tradition: Tobias and the Snow Tear, Isle Of Anglesey
Apr 12 @ 7:30 pm – Apr 14 @ 2:00 pm
Tellers, Tales and Tradition: Tobias and the Snow Tear, Isle Of Anglesey @ The Old Rectory

Book your space for £30. Cash donations of your choice towards Shonaleigh’s project expenses are also invited.

You are invited to a unique, immersive weekend of storytelling for adults from the world-renowned tradition bearer and storyteller Shonaleigh. This is a rare chance to hear these ancient tales in the light and on the tongue, stories untold for two generations and barely spoken of for decades.

In the latest episode of Shonaleigh’s acclaimed Gem cycle, we meet Tobias. Tobias owes a debt to a Fire Wolf. The Fire Wolf was once human, but after committing a series of terrible deeds, his soul became seared and he was transformed into a fearsome creature of fire and darkness. The Fire Wolf’s primal scream, when let out at full voice, has the power to kill everyone and everything in earshot. The Fire Wolf is doomed to eternal damnation unless he sacrifices himself for another. He must complete this one selfless act, never knowing whether or not it will be enough to redeem him.

When a Fire Wolf dies, they release a snow tear, which contains seven seeds of redemption. Snow tears are much sought after by ogres, for snow tears, which quench an unquenchable hunger, are an ogre’s favourite food. But should the snow tears survive being eaten by an ogre, and be collected by a person, such as Tobias, who owes the Fire Wolf a debt, then the Fire Wolf has the chance to regain his soul. However, just collecting the snow tear alone is not enough, the person who collects the tear must also agree to try to undo the wrongs the Fire Wolf has committed in order for the Fire Wolf to be redeemed.

To repay the debt he owes the Fire Wolf, Tobias takes on the quest of trying to right the wrongs that brought the Fire Wolf into existence. Tobias and the Snow Tear is the story of his quest. As for whether he is successful or not… join Tobias on his journey and find out what happens for yourself.

Shonaleigh is a Druts’yla, and carries on a living unbroken oral tradition passed down from grandmother to granddaughter by generations of Jewish women. Shonaleigh knows around 4,000 tales that she can recall on request, using the lost art of ‘stories within stories’.

This telling of Tobias and the Snow Tear will be recorded, as part of the Last Drut’syla Project, to create an archive of this tradition’s stories.

This is an unmissable opportunity for anyone interested in stories or in oral and lost cultures to come and help document and archive this tradition through listening, requesting stories and asking questions. There will only be 20 places, so booking is essential.

This telling of Tobias and the Snow Tear will start at 7.30pm on Friday evening (arrive from 6pm for a bite to eat first). Saturday’s session will run approximately 10am – 9pm. Sunday will run approximately 10am – 2pm. It will take place within a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of cushions and sofas and cups of tea.

There is a charge of £30 to attend, to cover the cost of the room and basic lunches and dinners. You are also welcome to make a donation to Shonaleigh and Simon’s travel and project expenses, and to bring cakes, biscuits and snacks to share (gluten and dairy-free if possible).

To book your space, please visit:
Or contact Claire Mace on or 07970 409 724

Walking the Wild Woods: Mentors Gathering
May 17 – May 19 all-day

Wildwoods is a three year part time course with four one week residential courses, which will introduce you to a new way of thinking about stories and your approach to them. We will walk with the Druts’yla tradition, identify key points of the midrash and learn how stories are held, unpeeled, understood and internalised on a practical and holistic level.

The course is by invitation or application ONLY.

Shonaleigh in Croatia 2019
May 24 – May 27 all-day

More details to follow.

Tellers, Tales and Tradition: The Diamond Girl, Amsterdam, Netherlands 2019
Jun 7 @ 7:30 pm – Jun 9 @ 2:00 pm
Tellers, Tales and Tradition: The Diamond Girl, Amsterdam, Netherlands 2019 @ Tuin Aan Zee

Join teller and tradition bearer Shonaleigh for a unique, immersive weekend of storytelling to experience a living, unbroken oral tradition. The Druts’yla tradition has been passed down from grandmother to granddaughter by generations of Jewish women, but was almost lost after the uprooting of these communities in World War II.. Around 4000 tales are held within the mind and recalled on request, using the lost art of ‘stories within stories’. Shonaleigh might well be the last Druts’yla that holds these stories. Originally they were told in Dutch Jewish communities, telling them in Holland is in a way bringing them home. Starting at one point in the lattice of stories, the listeners will guide the journey through the interlinked tales, hearing stories possibly left untold for two generations. There will be time for discussion and exploration of both the tradition and the stories. You can learn more about Shonaleigh and the Drutsyla tradition on her website.

The Diamond Girl and the Goat-Horn Bee is all about the day that everything changes. A blessing has become a curse and that curse is the only way to survive. When her world is torn apart, Reisal has to watch as her family disappears and she herself becomes nothing more than a pawn of the powerful; Zekal Ben Yakov has to watch as his son sets out on a quest with only half a puzzle and a sack of questions. The only thing that can save them all is a firewolf, an icefish, a snow bear and a goat-horn bee.
The telling will be in English

Friday: 19.30 – 21.00, telling, including snacks
Saturday: 10.00, doors open; coffee & tea
10.30 – 16.30, telling including a lunch
17.30 dinner
19.30 – 21.30 telling goes on, extra guests are welcome, like your friends and family (tickets: 10,-)
Sunday:10.00, doors open, coffee & tea
10.30 – 14.00, telling, ending with a lunch

Telling is in ‘De Verhalenkamer’ or ‘Storytelling Room’ of storyteller Nancy Wiltink. A former office of the keeper of the lock that is now a place for small scale storytelling events. If the weather permits the garden of ‘Tuin aan Zee’ will be used for lunch and dinner. The place is near Central Station, more directions will be given when you book

The whole weekend, including meals is € 225,-
A maximum of 12 people is able to attend
Ten more people on saturday evening
If you book you will receive an invoice that has to be payed before the start of the event. Saturday evening tickets are sold at the door, reservations for Saturday evening are recommended

Private Lecture
Jun 16 all-day

This event is a private booking for an invited audience.

If you would like to book Shonaleigh please get in touch via email to

Tellers, Tales and Tradition: Tobias and the Snow Tear, Totnes
Jun 21 – Jun 23 all-day

More details to follow.

Tellers, Tales and Tradition: The Cloth of Hope and Sorrow, Brighton
Jun 28 @ 7:30 pm – Jun 30 @ 1:00 pm

More details to follow.