The Texas Storytelling Festival concluded Sunday as featured storytellers shared stories about joy, family, heartbreak, greed and wisdom with an audience of about 100 people in the Denton Civic Center.
The festival brings together a group of storytellers and provides several free events as storytellers teach and perform.
One storyteller, Angela Lloyd, shared a story titled “How the King Chose a Wise Daughter-in-Law.” And though the story wasn’t originally hers, Lloyd infused it with her own witty ad-libs, while asking the audience to participate.
The story she told was about a king who was so rich and powerful that all of his neighbors were afraid of him. However, the king began to grow weak, and he called his son and told him it was time for him to get married.
Deviating from the original story, Lloyd joked and described the king’s son as a guy who was uninterested in marriage and only interested in practicing his handwriting with fountain pens.
“He really liked ink,” she said.
The king told his son that he wants a good, hard-working daughter-in-law and not some silly “feather-brain.”
So the king decided to build a very great palace with 1,000 rooms to invite all the kings and princes in the neighborhood with their daughters. Whichever daughter could find her way through the rooms without getting lost should be chosen for his daughter-in-law.
After several candidates failed, the daughter of an old, poor woman attempted to navigate the palace-like maze.
Unlike the other women to attempt the maze, the girl tied thread near the entrance of the maze and as she traveled from room to room, she managed to find her way back.
The king kept his word and the girl married his son.
“And all I could think about after reading the story was, ‘Wow. I wish I had a 1,000-room palace,’” Lloyd said, followed by laughter from the audience.
But Lloyd said that after reading the story she realized everyone has a 1,000-room palace.
“What I discovered is that every drawer in my home, every box and every corner has an item that tells the story of my life,” she said. “Each item holds a story.”
Other featured storytellers included Janice Del Negro, who told a story about the importance of family, and Tim Couch, who left audience members with the notion that stories can heal scars in time. And the last featured storyteller was Peninnah Schram, whose message stated that words are powerful and should be used carefully.
This was the 29th anniversary of the festival, which is conducted by the Tejas Storytelling Association. Elizabeth Ellis, artistic director of the festival, said this year the association brought in some of the nation’s finest storytellers.
“We always bring in the best, and we always showcase some of our own because Texas tellers are just as good, if not better, than what you will find anywhere else,” Ellis said in a recent interview.
Next year, the association has big plans to kick off the 30th anniversary. Association officials said it is amazing and remarkable that a storytelling festival can last more than three decades.
And that’s something to be celebrated, they said. Next year’s celebration will continue to be held in March.
For additional information about the festival, visit www.tejasstorytelling.com or call 940-380-9320.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.