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About Aaron Shepard’s

More Than a Match

For more treats and resources, visit Aaron Shepard at www.aaronshep.com.

Copyright © 2003, 2005 Aaron Shepard. All rights reserved.

Here is background info for my story, with special interest for storytellers.—Aaron

You might find the story about this story as interesting as the story itself.

Before I ever started in storytelling or children’s writing, I wrote this short fable inspired by an even shorter dream. Thinking it somehow important, I sent it to several magazines at once, in hopes of publication. But since it barely related to what I was writing at the time, I thought it would be fun and fitting to send it under a pen name, with no return address. My very first gift of story.

One of the magazines I sent it to did publish it—as a children’s story, which surprised me. And so, “The Giant Who Was More Than a Match,” under the name Aaron Piper, appeared in Friends Journal in 1984.

I was glad to see it published, but since I hadn’t connected it to myself, I heard no more about it and assumed it had been forgotten. Meanwhile, as a children’s author, I made some basic changes to the story and tried to publish it as a picture book. When I developed my Web site, I posted the new version with its changed title.

Fast forward almost two decades. In 2002, while living in the Los Angeles area, I received an email from a Los Angeles storyteller, Penny Post, asking for permission to tell the story. She said she had tracked me down after hearing the story performed twice—once recently and once ten years ago—but she gave no details. I assumed she was talking about the newer version on my Web site. I didn’t understand how anyone could have known it ten years ago, but I thought no more about it.

Finally, a few months later, I attended the first Los Angeles World Storytelling Festival and met Penny as well as Sarah Saulter, another storyteller who was telling the story. Maybe you can imagine my shock to learn that the version they had heard was the original (more or less), and that one of the tellers was the renowned Ed Stivender, and that he had actually recorded it! What’s more, that he had been searching for me for 20 years and telling about that as a preface to the story!

My identity had finally been revealed when Penny asked the help of a librarian, who found my revised version on the Web with a keyword search. To tell the truth, when I learned of all this, I was almost sorry to have been discovered, since the mystery made a much better story than its solution. But now that the secret was out, I figured I might as well go public.

So here at last is my fable, now restored closer to its original form but with a good deal of improvement in the details—and with my own name on it.

P.S. If you’d like to compare this with the original, it was reprinted in Lighting Candles in the Dark, a 1992 anthology from Friends General Conference. And Ed’s recorded version, called “The Wise One”—with only small changes from my original story—is found on his 1990 tape Once . . . and on his 2001 CD And Once Again . . . .

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