Storytellers were not so uncommon at that time. They wandered through the villages aiming to attract listeners and get new apprentices for such noble art. Therefore, it was not only for being a storyteller that he distinguished himself in a unique way. What earned him fame and distinction was the kind of stories he told.
With great perfection, he wove stories that always began with palpable realities, stories from the visible world and daily life, from what was immediate to the eyes of his listeners: he would speak about crops, heritages, weddings, wages and many other social habits. But his stories would then point to a reality that was not so immediate, foreseeing new possibilities, digging up a whole new hope. It was as if those stories announced that reality is much bigger than what one can see; that there is History beyond stories of crops, heritages and weddings; that there is a way beyond blind alleys; that there is life beyond mere survival.
Many of his listeners delighted in his unusual stories, trying to absorb what they could from those stories and also discussing their meaning among them. Others, with excessive zeal for a small reality, one that they could comprehend and fully embrace, protested against the storyteller and wanted to silence him.
Thus, the crowd that followed him was heterogeneous and to all of them he would tell stories that often went somewhat like this: “The reality of which I speak is like a treasure hidden in a field…”
The storyteller exhorted his listeners to expand their understanding because the stories that he was telling required a renewed way of thinking so that they could be properly understood, experienced and applied. He compared his stories to new wine that cannot be contained in old wineskins, new cloths that cannot be patched on old garments, new software that doesn’t run correctly if the hardware is outdated.
He even said that, in order to understand the stories and the reality they disclosed, listeners should become like children. Children love stories: they live in a world of endless possibilities and they regard with much more simplicity and credulity those great hopes that adults deem unreasonable.
A conspiracy sprouted from the adults that were trying to silence him – a conspiracy that led to a death sentence and to an execution. They sought to put a full stop to the history of the storyteller, since his stories were becoming too inconvenient. However, without perceiving it, the supposed full stop of the story became the central point of History. For the one who masterfully told uncommon stories is also the one who masterfully writes History itself. The one who spoke of a way beyond blind alleys is also the one who inaugurates that way – or, in other terms, he is, himself, the Way. The one who talked about a hope great enough to exceed the mundane possibilities visible to the naked eye is also the one who brings such hope into the temporal reality.
As a kind of epilogue, the storyteller left us a great commission: “Go into all the world and tell the Story; don’t only tell it: live it. That way you will also make new stories and new storytellers.”
Storytellers are not so common at our time – it seems that our technocrat world tries to asphyxiate each and every story. However, besides the commission of the storyteller that still echoes across the centuries, it’s time itself that begs us to tell again his stories. Stories hold a hidden but great power even in the post-modern age characterized by massive doubt and deconstruction. Stories are able to surpass the barriers of suspicion, break in the walls of our cynicism and plant seeds of new possibilities in our skeptic hearts. Therefore, it’s time for us to frame our hope, our lives, our own stories in the greatest Story ever told, the Story that becomes History.