I first learned about The Endless Story from Phyllis Malandra, a fine person I was married to for a number of years; she learned it from her mother. Over years of performance, it developed into a participatory show closer.
Boys and girls, I only have a few seconds left, and I am going to take these few seconds and teach you.... the longest story in the Universe!
You may think this show is all fun and games, but you are in school! And this is an educational program! And there will be a test! And you will be graded on that test! And that grade will go on your permanent record! And your permanent record will follow you around for the rest of your life!!! So, you better pay attention.
It goes like this:
It was a dark and stormy night.
All the robbers were sitting around in the cave
And the Chief of all the robbers, turned to his second in command, and said
"Jake, tell us a story."
And Jake said
"All right, boss, I will. And it goes like this:
It was a dark and stormy (etc.)" "
[I vary it by giving the Chief something like a Brooklyn accent, and Jake gets one to match. "It goes like dis!" Then the next time, Jake sounds a little like Ray Hicks. "Hit was a dark an stormy night." Then the next time, a comic Dracula: "Yake!" "It voss a daaaark undt storrrmy nigggghhhht" Beyond that, there's no laughs for me, so I conclude, after the pause]
"You all know how it goes, now, right? Here comes the test-- we're gonna do it together: It was a dark and stooormy night...."
[Then we do it together to the pause, and I say]
" That's not the end of the story, obviously. The story never ends-- that's why it's the longest story in the universe. But storytelling HAS to end SOMEtime-- ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, that IS the end of this storytelling." (big bow.)
During discussion about Sea Stories on the mailing list Storytell, somebody contributed their version of the above tale. The "robbers" were "pirates." A bunch of us chimed in, including a Chinese student, living in Manhattan. His contribution was as follows:
There is an unending story from China is very familiar with it. I would like to share you all.
"Once upon a time, there was a mountain. There was a temple on the mountain. There was an old monk and a little monk in the temple. One day, the old monk told the little monk a story :'Once upon a time, there was a mountain. There was a temple on the mountain. There was an old monk and a little monk in the temple. One day, the old monk told the little monk a story...' "
I heard of the beautiful story when I was a little girl. My little friends and I often told the story each other for fun. When I tell the story now, it reminds my wonderful childhood ...
Have a good day! Lai, Xiaohong.
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