Nyangara the Python
  • Dec 5, 2020 1:00 am
  • 56:50 mins

We often fear what we do not understand. This is natural, and most often, a good thing. However, there are times that fear drives us to do things that we shouldn’t, things that do more harm than good. It can be hard to know when we should fear and when we should seek understanding. Today’s collection of stories address the conundrum: when should we be afraid, and when should we seek to understand. The short answer is always seek to understand, even if it’s with caution. The long answer contains tales from Susi Wolf, Charlotte Blake-Alston, Margaret Read MacDonald, and others. We hope these stories both entertain and spark memories of your own to share with those you love. On today’s episode, enjoy the following: “Nyangara the Python” by Charlotte Blake-Alston from Bit ‘O This-Bit ‘O That (10:51) Charlotte Blake Alston tells traditional and contemporary stories from African and African American traditions. This story comes from the Shona people living in the eastern half of Zimbabwe. It is about a python named Nyangara, who has mystical powers of healing and a chief of a village that saves his life. In return Nyangara saves the chief’s life, but only if the villagers can get over their fear of a giant python. “Buddhist Travelers” by Susi Wolf from Peeling Life Makes Your Eyes Water (2:27) Susi Wolf is a storyteller with a background in zoology. While she tells animal stories very well, this one is about the wisdom of a buddhist monk. It’s a short story, but it’s one with a powerful lesson. “The Barnyard Birds” by Tim Lowry from SEVEN! World Folk Tales (7:59) When Tim Lowry began entertaining, he was too young to drive. He offered puppet shows for birthday parties, but he added a discount if you could give him a ride. Since them he has told many stories, and is nearing his 10,000th performance. This story, from his collection SEVEN! World Folk Tales, is a thriller for birds. The enemy: a killer cat who picks off the birds of the barnyard one by one, night by night. Every bird thinks they’re clever enough to keep watch, but only one actually manages to stay awake long enough to survive. “Mabela the Clever” by Margaret Read MacDonald from Fat Cat and Friends (6:26) Margaret Read MacDonald holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University and travels the world both telling and learning stories. Her tale “Mabela the Clever” follows a young, gullible mouse that gets invited to be part of a cool cat club. Most can probably imagine where this is going. Mouse, cats, we all know the story. But Mabela isn’t called clever for no reason. Gullible and young though she is, she also knows that she should listen to what her parents taught her to stay safe. “The Silver Branch” by Yvonne Healy from Blarney (14:42) Yvonne Healy moved from Ireland to the U.S. when she was just a child. She learned storytelling from a tradition-bearer for Ireland’s Gaelic League, her father. This story is about Irish wisdom, and how a king learned it. Sometimes it actually pays to be scared of things we don’t understand, or at least cautious. Radio Family Journal: "Spin Spider Spin" (4:55) In this latest entry in the Radio Family Journal, Sam reflects upon the preschool run by his family friends. More specifically he reminisces about some of the musical albmus for children that taught him to love animals and insects.