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Storytelling Quotes

Compiled by Aaron Shepard


For more resources, visit Aaron Shepard’s Storytelling Page at
www.aaronshep.com/storytelling

Copyright © 2002–2004 Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and shared for any noncommercial purpose as long as no text is altered or omitted.


“The television knows many stories. But the storyteller knows me.

—African villager, as related by Ron Evans

* * *

“Trust me, I am telling you stories.”

—Jeannette Winterston, The Passion

* * *

“You have to understand, my dears, that the shortest distance between truth and a human being is a story.”

—Anthony de Mello, from One Minute Wisdom

* * *

“There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.”

—Ursula K. LeGuin

* * *

“The tale is often wiser than the teller.”

—Susan Fletcher
(as Marjan, in Shadow Spinner)

* * *

“‘Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.”

—Philip Pullman
(1996 Carnegie Medal acceptance speech)

* * *

“Words should be weighed, not counted.”

—Jewish folk saying

* * *

“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”

—Barry Lopez
(as Badger, in Crow and Weasel)

* * *

“Story is the vehicle we use to make sense of our lives in a world that often defies logic.”

—Jim Trelease

* * *

“Of course it’s true, but it may not have happened.”

—Patricia Polacco’s grandmother

* * *

“People who don’t have stories in their cultures go nuts.”

—Rafe Martin

* * *

“To hunt for symbols in a fairy tale is absolutely fatal.”

—W. H. Auden

* * *

“Woo the muse of the odd.”

—Lafcadio Hearn

* * *

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

—Arthur C. Clarke

* * *

“You see, I was one of those people who do not believe in enchantments. And because of that, I must suffer to be enchanted myself, and to be chained and push this millstone around.”

—Richard Kennedy
(as the Chained Lady, in “Crazy in Love”)

* * *

“That’s the trouble with you sad-city types: a place has to be miserable and dull as ditchwater before you believe it’s real.”

—Salman Rushdie
(as Blabbermouth, in Haroun and the Sea of Stories)

* * *

“It makes your mind pop.”

—Laura Simms

* * *

“Telling the proper stories is as if you were approaching the throne of Heaven in a fiery chariot.”

—Baal Shem Tov
(as quoted by Steve Sanfield)

* * *

“God made man because he loves stories.”

—Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlev
(as quoted by Steve Sanfield)

* * *

“The destiny of the world is determined less by the battles that are lost and won than by the stories it loves and believes in.”

—Harold Goddard
(The Meaning of Shakespeare)

* * *

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

—G. K. Chesterton

* * *

“Australian Aborigines say that the big stories—the stories worth telling and retelling, the ones in which you may find the meaning of your life—are forever stalking the right teller, sniffing and tracking like predators hunting their prey in the bush.”

—Robert Moss, Dreamgates

* * *

“Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.”

—Anne Watson

* * *

“We can never know truth, but some stories are better than others.”

—Aaron Shepard