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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Lambeth Children

Air Date: Week of

Storyteller Nancy Schimmel celebrates the children of Lambeth, Ontario, who saved some big maples from a road-widening project in 1966.


CURWOOD: Usually on Living on Earth, it's a reporter who tells us a story, who uses words and tape to take us on an audio journey through time and terrain. Or perhaps our emotions are awakened by the views of a commentator, or important information passed on through an interview with a newsmaker. But once a year, we follow the storytelling road less traveled these days, though our ancient ancestors wore the path well. We invite people to tell stories the old fashioned way, by weaving narratives of happenings real and imagined. Next week, we'll hear from 3 storytellers, who will spin tales of greed, stewardship, and why things are the way they are in nature. Today we have a short preview. It's a story and a riddle, a paradox really, about earth keeping. It's told by Nancy Schimmel.

SCHIMMEL: This is a story about an old man who was known to be so wise that he could answer any question. And he always had the right answer. No one could stump him. One time, 2 young people decided that they were going to stump that old man. They were going to ask him a question that he couldn't answer correctly.

"This is how we'll do it. We'll catch us a bird, and we'll go to that old man. We'll hold the bird in our hands, and we'll say: this that we have in our hands today: is it alive or is it dead? And if he says dead we'll let it go. But if he says alive, we'll crush it."

So they caught a bird, and they brought it to that old man. And they held it in their hands and said: This that we hold in our hands today, is it alive or is it dead? And that wise, old man looked at those 2 young people and smiled and said, "It's in your hands."

CURWOOD: Nancy Schimmel is a storyteller and musician who lives in Berkeley, California. Her recording of environmental stories and songs for children, called All In This Together, won the Parents Choice Award in 1990. More fiction, fable, and fantasy next week, with Living on Earth's second annual celebration of storytelling. Be sure to tune in.



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