Pumpkin Appreciation Society: Hodja No. 7

It’s Fall here in Washington State.

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It’s so good  to be out walking as the leaves drift from the trees and carpet the ground. It’s not just leaves dropping…

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There are pumpkins sitting everywhere in all shapes, sizes, and forms.

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Late one autumn afternoon, Hodja lay resting under a shady walnut tree. He had been working in his vegetable patch all day. He unwrapped his turban and a cool breeze sprang up to soothe his glistening bald head . He slowly breathed to the rhythm of the swaying branches above, marvelling at that majestic trunk and branches soaring above him.

“How stout and strong you are! ” he whispered to the tree. Spying the many nuts that would soon be harvested, he then wondered ” Why did God give you such paltry nuts?” Casting he eyes over his watered garden, he spied the rampant, spindly vine,  with glowing pumpkins ready for picking. “Why don’t you have large fruits like pumpkins? You could take the weight! You deserve larger bounty.”

Just then, one walnut dropped and hit him hard on the forehead. Rubbing his brow he looked up at the sky and said, ” Forgive me. Thank you for letting me know.”  He put on his turban and bent to pick from the spreading vine. Praising such a wise god, he carried the pumpkin home to his wife, shifting it from arm to arm, as he walked cheerily home.

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Photos and text by Meg. This Hodja story is adapted from the many versions I have read eg in

Downing, Charles. (1965) Tales of the Hodja.

Kelsey, Alice Geer. (1958) Once the Hodja

What do you mean you’re a storyteller?

IMG_7243I was taken aback at this question. I can rattle off the Scots proverb as someone who tells selected stories to listeners … eye to eye, mind to mind, and heart to heart.

Holding all the stories that I have ever heard … to put that energy into the present one I’m telling, to entertain a particular audience.

I carry stories inside me. They make a growing list.

I have to get better at thinking on my feet and responding to a question like this … with how I feel at the time.

Mostly I’m in a warm, ordinary place connected with a story – the one that I’m working on is usually working on me, as the teller.

I do a lot of walking and take my time.

Being a storyteller is an ongoing journey towards every telling.

Then I give it away.

Today I’m heading to a storytelling festival and when I looked at my elephant-shaped, perpetual calendar, not only did it show the day I leave, but also the day I return! I hope to think about storytelling like an elephant … and never forget!