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For the Story Teller Story Telling and Stories to Tell

For the Story Teller
Story Telling and Stories to Tell
Title: For the Story Teller Story Telling and Stories to Tell
Release Date: 2018-10-15
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, For the Story Teller, by Carolyn SherwinBailey

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Title: For the Story Teller

Story Telling and Stories to Tell

Author: Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Release Date: October 15, 2018 [eBook #58107]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Turgut Dincer, David E. Brown,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See https://archive.org/details/forstorytellerst00bail








Daily Program of Gift and Occupation Work
For the Children’s Hour
Firelight Stories
Stories and Rhymes for a Child
Songs of Happiness



Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

New YorkBostonPhiladelphiaAtlantaSan Francisco

Copyright, 1913,
Springfield, Mass.



The new-old art of story telling is beingrediscovered. We are finding that thechildren’s daily story hour in school, in theneighborhood house, and at home is a realforce for mental and moral good in their lives.We are learning that it is possible to educatechildren by means of stories.

Story telling to be a developing factor in achild’s life must be studied by the story teller.There are good stories and there are poorstories for children. The story that fits achild’s needs to-day may not prove a wisechoice for him to-morrow. Some storiesteach, some stories only give joy, some storiesinspire, some stories just make a child laugh.Each of these story phases is important. Todiscover these special types of stories, to fitstories to the individual child or child group,and to make over stories for perfect tellinghas been my aim in writing this book.

[vi]Through telling stories to many thousandsof children and lecturing to students I havefound that story telling is a matter of psychology.The pages that follow give my new theoryof story telling to the teacher or parent.

Carolyn Sherwin Bailey.



I. The Apperceptive Basis of Story Telling 1
II. The Story with a Sense Appeal 23
III. When the Curtain Rises 41
IV. Using Suspense to Develop Concentration 57
V. Story Climax 83
VI. Training a Child’s Memory by Means of a Story 105
VII. The Instinct Story 122
VIII. The Dramatic Story 142
IX. Story Telling an Aid to Verbal Expression 171
X. Stimulating the Emotions by Means of a Story 191
XI. Imagination and the Fairy Story 212
XII. Making Over Stories 231
XIII. Planning Story Groups 245
The Cap that Mother Made, adapted from Swedish Fairy Tales 8
Goody Two Shoes 16
The Three Cakes, from Monsieur Berquin’s L’Ami des Enfants 35
The Prince’s Visit, Horace E. Scudder 52[viii]
The Travels of a Fox, Clifton Johnson 60
Little Lorna Doone, adapted from Richard Blackmore 68
Little In-a-Minute 76
Old Man Rabbit’s Thanksgiving Dinner 92
The Great Stone Face, adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne 98
Little Tuk, Hans Christian Andersen 115
The Selfish Giant, Oscar Wilde 133
The Gingerbread Boy (dramatized), Carolyn Sherwin Bailey 153
The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (dramatized), Carolyn Sherwin Bailey 163
The Woodpecker Who Was Selfish, adapted from an Indian Folk Tale 181
The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings, adapted from a Southern Folk Tale 185
The Little Lame Prince, adapted from Miss Mulock 201
The Blue Robin, Mary Wilkins Freeman 219
The Girl Who Trod on the Loaf, Hans Christian Andersen 238




APPERCEPTION is a formidable andsometimes confusing term for a verysimple and easy-to-understand mental process.I once told Seumus MacManus’ deliciouslyhumorous story of Billy Beg and his Bull to agroup of foreign boys and girls in one of NewYork’s East Side Settlement Houses. Thechildren listened with apparent appreciation,but, halfway along in the story, it occurred tome to ask them if they had ever seen a bull.No one answered me at first. Then Pietro, alittle dusky-eyed son of Italy, raised a grimyhand.

“I seen one last summer when we was on afresh-air,” he said. “It’s a bigger cow, a bullis, with the bicycle handle-bars on her head.”

Pietro’s description of a bull was an example[2]of apperception, the method by means ofwhich a new idea is interpreted, classified,“let into” the human mind. He knew theclass, cows. He also knew the class, bicycles.He did not know the class, bulls—at least vividlyenough to be able to put the idea intoterms of a verbal explanation and description.So he did the most natural thing in the world,the only possible mental process in fact bymeans of which children or adults classify thenew. He interpreted it in terms of the old,explaining the unfamiliar idea, bull, by meansof the familiar ideas, cow and a bicycle.

This, then, is apperception. It is the involuntarymental process by means of whichthe human mind makes its own the strange,the new, the unfamiliar idea by a method offitting it into the class of familiar ideas alreadyknown. Apperception is a means ofquick mental interpretation. It is the welcomingof strangers to the mind-habitation,strangers who come every day in the guise ofunfamiliar names, terms, scenes, and phrases,and determining in which corner of the brainhouse they will fit most comfortably. The[3]most natural process is finally to give thesenew ideas an old mind corner to rest in, or anold brain path in which to travel.

A child’s mind at the age when he is ableto concentrate upon listening to a story, threeor four years of age—kindergarten age—isnot a very crowded house. It is a mind-housetenanted by a few and very simple conceptswhich he has made his own through his previoushome, mother and play experiences. Heis familiar with his nursery, his pets, hisfamily, his toys, his food, his bed. If he is acountry child he knows certain flowers, birdsand farm animals, not as classes—flower, birdand animal—but as buttercup, robin and sheep.If he is a city child his mind has a very differenttenantry, and he thinks in terms of street,subway, park, fire engine, ambulance. Theseto the city child are also individual ideas, notclasses. He knows them as compelling, noisy,moving ideas which he has seen and experienced,but they do not at all appeal to him asclasses.

The story of “The Three Bears” is an obviouslyinteresting one to children upon entering[4]school. It has its basis of interest in itsapperceptive quality, and it illustrates betterthan almost any other story for children thosequalities which bring about quick mental interpretationon the part of the listener. Theunusual, strange, hazardous characters inthe story, the three bears, are introduced tothe child in old, comfortably familiar termswhich catch his interest from the first sentenceof the story. It is extremely doubtful if thestory of three bears set in a polar or forest environmentwould ever have been popular solong or made so many children happy as hasthe story of the historical three bears wholived in a house, ate porridge from bowls, satin chairs and slept in beds. Nor are these theonly apperceptive links between the life of thebears and that of the child. There is a tinybear in the story, the size, one may presuppose,of the child who is listening to the story. Theto-be-classified idea, bear, is presented to childrenin this old folk tale in terms of alreadyknown ideas, house, porridge, chair, bed andtiny. Very few story tellers have appreciatedthe underlying psychologic appeal of the story[5]of “The Three Bears,” but it illustrates a qualityin stories that we must look for if we wishto make the story we select a permanency inthe child’s mental life.

The apperceptive basis of story telling consistsin study on the part of the story teller todiscover what is the store of ideas in the mindsof the children who will listen to the story.

Has the story too many new ideas for thechild to be able to classify them in terms ofhis old ideas? On the other hand, has it oneor two new thoughts so carefully presentedthrough association with already familiar conceptsthat the child will be able to make themhis own and give them a permanent place inhis mind with the old ones?

A child’s mind is an eery place for an adultto try and enter. Teachers, kindergartnersand story tellers are a little prone to thinkthat a knowledge of one child’s mental contentgives them the power to know the mindof the child-at-large. Our psychologists havegiven us studies of child mind, not childminds. This mind hypothesis is, perhaps, sufficientfor the general working out of systems[6]of teaching, but success in the delicate art ofstory telling means a most critical study andobservation of the minds of the special groupof children who will hear the story. Thestory teller must ask herself these questions:

“What do these children know?”

“Have they any experience other than thatof the home on which to bank?”

“Do they come from homes of leisure orhomes of industry?”

“Have they had a country or a city experience?”

“Have they passed from the stage of developmentwhen toys formed their play interestto the game stage in which chance and hazardinterest them more deeply?”

“Are they American children, familiar withAmerican institutions, or are they little aliensin our land, unfamiliar with and confused byour ways?”

When she has satisfactorily answered thesequestions, the story teller will select

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