Bringing you comedic folktales from somewhere on the road. Act!vated Stories is presented by Act!vated Story Theatre a national touring theatre troupe for children and their families. Join us for a family friendly story and travel tales.
Published: Mon, 15 May 2017 21:51:24 +0000Summary: The Shadow Builders is one version of the legend of Karagöz and Hacivat (pronounced KAR-a-gerz and HA-jee-vaht), the beloved characters of Turkish shadow puppet plays, supposedly based on real individuals. According to this version of the story, they wer..
Published: Mon, 24 Apr 2017 02:24:27 +0000Summary: No, it's not a sequel. It's not a fractured fairy tale. It's not something that we just made up. It's part of the original Three Little Pigs that normally gets omitted -- you might say that people are accustomed to hearing the Reader's Digest version. T..
Published: Sun, 19 Mar 2017 21:10:48 +0000Summary: Old Joe and the Carpenter is a moralistic little yarn about two neighbors who are initially friends, but get into a small quarrel that escalates into full-scale estrangement until a wise stranger intervenes. The story is set in the Appalachian region of ..
Published: Mon, 27 Feb 2017 23:44:09 +0000Summary: The Robin is a nature origin story from the Inuit people (commonly called Eskimo) of the far north. We thought it would be appropriate for the end of summer and the first hints of spring. We come to you from Mesa, AZ. Having spent the past month in Arkan..
Published: Sun, 22 Jan 2017 15:05:30 +0000Summary: Aladdin and the Lamp is one of the many popular tales from the collection commonly called The Arabian Nights, though its more proper name is The Thousand and One Nights. It's an anthology of many folktales from many countries, and going back many centur..
Published: Sat, 24 Dec 2016 19:15:30 +0000Summary: The Mouse Princess is one of those tales about someone being transformed into an animal and then trying to be transformed back again. It's somewhat similar to The Frog Prince except -- well, it's a princess instead of a prince and a mouse instead of a fr..
Published: Tue, 29 Nov 2016 19:03:43 +0000Summary: The Frog and the Sky Princess is a story from Angola in Africa, about a frog and a princess that involves the lead character successfully completing tasks to prove his worthiness to obtain a prize – in this case the hand of the princess in marriage. Yes..
Published: Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:16:59 +0000Summary: Savitri is a tale from the Mahabharata, the national epic poem of India, written about 2500 years ago. It's somewhat similar to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, except things are reversed: it's the wife who goes to rescue her husband from death, an..
Published: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 20:12:12 +0000Summary: The Hen Is in the Mountains is a sibling tale, one of those in which (spoiler alert) the youngest of the brood succeeds in overcoming obstacles where his or her older siblings failed. (e.g. Cinderella or The Flying Ship) It also involves a girl marryin..
Published: Wed, 24 Aug 2016 17:21:53 +0000Summary: The Bottomless Cup is one of those stories about people getting gifts from elves, fairies, or other supernatural critters, and using those gifts foolishly or negligently. In some cases, the gift is a set of wishes rather than dishes – usually three of ..
Published: Sun, 24 Jul 2016 22:50:22 +0000Summary: The Lady Of Stavoren is a tale that has been told for centuries, in dozens of variations. Stavoren, on the coast of The Netherlands, is now a village of fewer than 1000 people. But 1000 years ago, it was a major seaport. Then during the Middle Ages, a san..
Published: Thu, 23 Jun 2016 23:02:24 +0000Summary: The Krakow Pigeons is a story from Poland that supposedly explains why the people of the city of Krakow have so much respect for pigeons, those nasty, pesky, obnoxious little -- oops, those birds which many people revile. It tells how a medieval prince n..
Published: Tue, 24 May 2016 23:25:02 +0000Summary: The Three Heirs is a tale from Germany, in the tradition of worldwide sibling rivalry yarns. As usual in these stories, the youngest brother gets the best of his older siblings; even though they are older, bigger and stronger, and consider him a simpleton..
Published: Mon, 25 Apr 2016 02:23:26 +0000Summary: The Crab Prince is a little-known story from Venice
that has many similarities to the better-known Frog
Prince. Like that story, it makes use of two themes common to
many folktales: transformation of humans into animals (a tradition
dating back at least ..
Published: Fri, 25 Mar 2016 19:30:09 +0000Summary: The King’s Ring is a story from Italy, which we’re not coming to you from, but would have been a couple of months ago. So before telling you the story, we’re telling you about half of our time in Italy (we’ll do the other half next time). This inc..
Published: Mon, 15 Feb 2016 20:21:16 +0000Summary: The Quackling, from France, is an odd fable in which not only is the main character a talking animal, but it's taken for granted that inanimate objects can talk as well. It involves quite a suspension of disbelief, even to the point that in the original s..
Published: Tue, 22 Dec 2015 17:28:16 +0000Summary: It isn’t really a holiday story, but The Gifts Of Wali Dad from India (or is it Pakistan?) seems appropriate for the occasion, with all of its generous gift-giving. Collected by famed folklorist Andrew Lang, who heard it from a British army officer stat..
Published: Sun, 15 Nov 2015 16:46:14 +0000Summary: The Troll and the Shoes is one of those stories about racing in which (as in The Tortoise and the Hare) the hero wins by means of some skill besides sheer speed -- i.e., determination, imagination, knowledge, and/or (as in the present case) trickery. Th..
Published: Fri, 25 Sep 2015 19:14:41 +0000Summary: The Two Storks is a transformation-into-an-animal yarn from what is now Iraq, though it hasn’t always been called that. It takes place in the city of Baghdad, which has been called that for just about as long as anyone can remember. Like certain other t..
Published: Wed, 19 Aug 2015 13:02:22 +0000Summary: Vasalisa and Baba Yaga brings together two characters from Russian folklore who each appear in several other stories. Vasalisa is a sort of Russian Cinderella/ Hansel and Gretel, and Baba Yaga is the nasty old witch/ogre who lives in the deep dark forest ..
Published: Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:25:51 +0000Summary: The Fairy Palace, a story from China, is one of those quest stories about going on a trek to retrieve or obtain something of great value. It also features another common motif: someone with extraordinary skill in weaving, spinning, or sewing. And it reall..
Published: Thu, 25 Jun 2015 16:48:13 +0000Summary: The summer is racing along at a rabbit's pace, so it's a good time to bring you "The Tortoise and the Hare", popularized by the Greek slave Aesop, who told a great many fabulous fables. In later centuries, many similar stories sprang up in many cultures a..
Published: Sat, 23 May 2015 19:17:42 +0000Summary: It's just like our last story, only very different. "The Story Spirits", from Korea, examines the traditional theme of an individual who wants to keep stories all for himself—and thereby demonstrates how important it is to share them with everyone.
Published: Sat, 25 Apr 2015 05:46:36 +0000Summary: Anansi and the Story Box is a tale from Ghana in Africa, about the legendary spider-man hero of the Ashanti tribe, and how he brought stories to the world. It bears certain similarities to the Greek myths of Pandora and Prometheus, and includes a plot poi..
Published: Mon, 16 Mar 2015 01:44:46 +0000Summary: The Four Puppets is a story from the country traditionally called Burma, but now known as Myanmar. We bring it to you from Dublin, just in time for St. Patrick's Day. Okay, so it's not Dublin in Ireland, but Dublin in California, back in the San Francisco..
Published: Fri, 20 Feb 2015 23:35:27 +0000Summary: The Snake and the Frog is a trickster tale from the Island of Andros in the Bahamas. It's similar to many Anansi stories, and for good reason: Anansai the spiderman, according to legend, made his way from Africa to the New World to comfort and inspire sla..
Published: Sun, 18 Jan 2015 02:00:16 +0000Summary: The Soothsayer is a tale from Persia (now Iran) about a poor and somewhat innocent laborer who finds a golden opportunity to advance himself, largely through taking advantage of chance occurrences. As with The Bremen Town Musicians, his conquest of his ..
Published: Wed, 03 Dec 2014 14:13:14 +0000Summary: The Legend Of Slappy Hooper is an American tall tale, suitable to accompany our belated wish that you had a great observance of the American holiday Thanksgiving. You will notice certain similarities to better known American tall tales like Paul Bunyan, P..
Published: Mon, 27 Oct 2014 19:49:26 +0000Summary: A classic Greek legend/ myth about one of the most horrifying creatures of all time, arriving just in time for the haunting season. She was defeated by a hero who learned to "think outside the box" before that expression was even trendy.
We come to you fr..
Published: Fri, 26 Sep 2014 14:25:14 +0000Summary: From Scotland comes The Two Sisters and the Hag, one of many versions of this story found in many countries, contrasting how good behavior is rewarded and how bad behavior is punished.
We come to you from New Rochelle, NY, site of our most recent performa..
Published: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 23:25:56 +0000Summary: The Monkey's Heart is a little fable from India about a crocodile that tries to trick a monkey into supplying its heart for a strange snack. There is a similar story in China in which a dragon rather than a crocodile is the villain.
We come to you from N..
Published: Sun, 20 Jul 2014 15:42:15 +0000Summary: "The Precious Cow" is a little-known fable from Africa about the importance of valuing strong family ties above material wealth. As we point out, it offers a bit of a twist to the "rule of three", a common characteristic of many popular folktales.
Published: Mon, 23 Jun 2014 19:23:15 +0000Summary: The Golden Spinning Wheel is a story from the country formerly known as Bohemia, and then Czechoslovakia, and now The Czech Republic. The story is the subject of a picture book by Lisl Weil in which musical notes are printed across the page along with ill..
Published: Tue, 20 May 2014 19:13:49 +0000Summary: "The Woman Who Flummoxed the Fairies" from Scotland is a sort of trickster tale, a type of story in which a seemingly helpless individual triumphs by his (or in this case her) wits. It's also a cumulative story, meaning that it involves repetition, as new..
Published: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 00:52:29 +0000Summary: Our story this month is "How the Kangaroo Got Its Pouch", an Australian nature myth. Since it deals with kangaroo mothers and how they acquired the ability to carry their young around easily, we thought it would be a suitable story for Mothers' Day, whi..
Published: Thu, 20 Mar 2014 06:17:00 +0000Summary:
From Norway comes this classic story about a princess who was very charming except that she had no sense of humor. This tale is rather unusual in that it's both a Rule Of Three story and a cumulative story.
Rule Of Three refers to the three-part struc..
Published: Sun, 23 Feb 2014 20:27:17 +0000Summary: The Tichborne Dole is a legend from England that may be true or based on true events. It supposedly occurred around 1150, and may explain the origin of a yearly custom in Hampshire, England, in which the aristocratic Tichborne family gives flour to the po..
Published: Wed, 15 Jan 2014 23:32:00 +0000Summary: The Tar Baby is a classic African-American story from slavery days, inspired by a similar story from Africa, presented especially for Black History Month (February).
Read along script
The Tar Baby is a trickster tale about the Rabbit (often called Brer Ra..
Published: Mon, 23 Dec 2013 23:41:00 +0000Summary: Winter has officially begun. And in honor of the season of Christmas trees, hot chocolate, ice skating, and heavy traffic at the mall, we bring you a story about winter – and summer – from the Acoma tribe of Native Americans in New Mexico. More specif..
Published: Fri, 22 Nov 2013 00:50:00 +0000Summary: "The Crocodile, The Zebras and the Hyena" is a story that we adapted from a traditional tale related by Likua Kambembe, an African storyteller. He's a member of the !Xun (We dare you to try to pronounce it) Council of Elders, and helps direct the Kulimatj..
Published: Sun, 20 Oct 2013 04:27:00 +0000Summary: From Uganda comes this tale about how two jungle critters who were once friends became foes, and in the process tells why frogs have no tails and why lizards have puffy cheeks. It seems appropriate because like the frog and the lizard, we recently swung o..
Published: Mon, 16 Sep 2013 21:41:00 +0000Summary: "Talk", from Ghana in Africa, is a cumulative tale (meaning that phrases are repeated and added to as in "The House That Jack Built") about what happens when inanimate objects start to talk. For one thing, you feel like you're in a Disney movie. But also,..
Published: Tue, 20 Aug 2013 21:35:00 +0000Summary: From Jewish tradition somewhere in Eastern Europe comes this charming and inspiring tale about... well, charming and inspiring tradition. As popularized by the picture book of the same name by Phoebe Gilman, this story tells of a gift made by a grandfathe..
Published: Thu, 18 Jul 2013 01:32:00 +0000Summary: "The Lion and the Three Cows" is a fable from Afghanistan – the first Afghani story we've ever presented – about discord and mistrust, standing together versus falling alone. We come to you from Virginia, where we're doing a return engagement at 4 lib..
Published: Mon, 17 Jun 2013 21:58:00 +0000Summary: "Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears" is a story from Africa that explains this little mystery. Perhaps knowing why they do it will make it a little more tolerable this summer, but we doubt it. This is an example of a cumulative tale, which means the plo..
Published: Wed, 15 May 2013 23:36:00 +0000Summary: It's a sneak preview of Tops and Bottoms, one of our new stories for the upcoming season, and aren't you lucky to be hearing it now? Hailing from Scandinavia, this is a variation of a popular tale in many cultures, including the Southern U.S., where it wa..
Published: Mon, 18 Mar 2013 00:48:00 +0000Summary: In honor of the Cherry Blossom Festival and Frog Month (you do celebrate that every year, don't you?) we bring you "The Two Frogs", a fable from Japan. We come to you from Holbrook, Arizona as we make our way back to the West Coast. Along the way, we visi..
Published: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 17:05:00 +0000Summary: "The Farmer and the Werewolf" is a tale from Ireland, a country that traditionally has spun many yarns about such supernatural and sometimes frightening critters. The werewolf in this tale, however, is not an entirely vicious monster; he’s also a human ..
Published: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 17:37:00 +0000Summary: "The Girl Who Married a Snake" is from Bhutan, an Asian country that borders China and India. The tale bears a certain resemblance to the Frog Prince story types common in Europe, except that even when the good guys live happily ever after, the story cont..
Published: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 13:49:00 +0000Summary: "The Long Winter" is an appropriately seasonal tale from the Dene tribe of Canada. The Dene tribe is often called the Slavey tribe, because they were sometimes enslaved by their enemies, the Cree. Similar to our popular Zuni story we call "Coyote and Eagl..