The power of story to teach and pass down knowledge has been used since the beginning of time. The gift of storytelling is its ability to connect, inspire, and instill respect within our hearts and communities. Storytelling is an art we can all participate in, but there are artists such as Shonaleigh who have made it their profession to master the art and teach others how to use it in their daily lives.
The drut’syla repertoire comprises twelve interlinked cycles, each of several hundred tales. Training also involves a complex system of oral memorization, visualization and interpretation (Midrash) of tales. Often times when she is doing festival work she will tell tales from different cycles depending on what the needs are. She does enjoy being able to focus on one cycle and share the many stories that interweave in that cycle. One of the cycles is called The Ruby Tree, that is the cycle she will be sharing each night after the workshops. The Ruby Tree is one of five tales in the Gem Cycle of Jewish stories. It’s a tale of lost generations enfolded in a ‘wonder tale’, a means of helping people cope with the hardships they were going through, such as loss, oppression or exile. I have included a description of the Ruby Tree below
The Ruby Tree–A King and his Queen long for a child. There is only one way to fulfill 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 ha.unting 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.
If you want to learn a little bit more about Shonaleigh you can visit her website at www.shonaleigh.uk. She will also be telling at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival the weekend before the workshop. Here is a link to learn more about that festival if you are not familiar with it, http://timpfest.org/.
The workshop is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about the narrative form and wanting to write and tell their own stories. You can find registration information by going to, www.tinyurl.com/