Created on: (or last revised on??) May 10 1999
Music playing is:  Waltzing Matilda

swag of yarns - Australia’s National Storytelling Magazine

About June Read the magazine - sample from the magazine? How to subscribe to swag of yarns 
What is storytelling? Links
The alternative look
Aussie Bush Yarn1
Ausssie Bush Yarn 2
Interview with Neville Blampey
Interview with Francis Firebrace
Stories from other lands  Feedback form


More about June


About June 

My name is June Barnes (known as jb).

I am a professional storyteller. I am also the editor of swag of yarns; but that is an accident of the magazine’s birth. However, now that I am the magazine's 'illegitimate mother' I am rather enjoying the role especially now that we have an extended family to support us!

swag of yarns is Australia’s first storytelling magazine and began in 1997. Our aim is to unite people all over Australia through story, with a strong emphasis on encouraging the art of oral storytelling. Each issue has interviews with storytellers, articles relating to storytelling, stories from other lands, aussie yarns, book reviews, Australian folklore and much more. 

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What is storytelling?


Long long ago, before books, stories were  passed from mouth to ear by  a storyteller. The telling of the story created a magical  thread like delicate gossamer connecting person to person. 

By storytelling we mean oral storytelling. Storytellers use the skills of the oral tradition, relying on voice and memory to carry stories to  listeners.

In times past the storyteller’s role in the community has been one of respected
importance. The storyteller was the keeper of the culture, the educator, the carrier of news as well as an entertainer. Books can be a part of  storytelling but essentially story TELLING is telling the story without the use of the written word or, in the words of one young listener, telling stories from the face.

There is no script; no written word for the storyteller to follow. The words travel from the storyteller’s mind to the ears of the listener. In that split second journey the words and the story will be arranged according to the place and the people present at the time.

Sometimes the storyteller will not tell a story  he/she originally intended to tell simply because another story seems more appropriate to the time and place.  This is the magic of storytelling. The audience assists the telling of the story. The teller is the vessel that carries the story to the people. He/she gives the audience an experience unique to the present moment. She will probably tell the same story she tells you, on other occasions but the telling of the story will not be exactly the same. 

  The storyteller gives and with that giving, the storyteller receives.

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Read/sample of the magazine


Aussie Bush Yarn1 
Twice Bitten! 
swag of yarns summer 1997
There were these two pommies see. They reckoned they’d go bush. So they called in at the local pub to wet the whistle first. These were two skinny little pommies, with lily white skin and pretty pink cheeks. They walked into this pub, full of big Australian bushmen, their faces weathered and tanned from years in the bush. 

 So one of the Australians said, real friendly like, “So where ya’ off to, mate?” 

“We’re going bush, old chap. We‘d like to experience life in the wild, camp under the stars, that sort of thing,” said one of the little fellows. 

Glances were exchanged at the bar. 

“You blokes better watch out for them mosquitos out there. Mosquitos out there are as big as kookaburras they are. Nothin’ they like better than lily white skin and good English blood. Better watch out for ‘em mate.” 

“It’s the snakes you’ll have to watch out for,  mate. Snakes out there will kill ya’ in thirty seconds flat. Lie in the long grass waitin’, they do. They’re biggins too.” 

 “Yeah, too right, mate. Snakes out there are big. The other day Charlie was just about to cut up this log lyin’ on the ground. Big log  it was, enough for  ten, twelve sleepers, maybe. Just as he starts to cut into it, the bloody thing takes off! Big black snake it was!” 

And so the locals continued to give the pommies some sound advice on survival in the bush. After  a while the two pommies, Eric and Claude,  were their names, I think, took off across country with their packs. 

“Do you think that’s  true, Claude, about the snakes I mean?” 

 “I don’t think so, old chap. I do rather think they were just having a chuckle with us.” 

They did ,however  each pick up a stick, just in case ,and as they walked through the bush they were careful to peer into the grass  before taking too many steps. 

Now, they came to a fence, an old wooden fence it was back in them days. Eric went over the fence first and Claude, well,  as he was hoisting himself up he heard a rustling  in the grass behind him.  He got a bit panicky like, remembering the stories about snakes hiding in the grass. In his haste to get over that fence fast, his boot got caught in the fence and came off . He was wearin’ black socks, sensible colour for the bush.. Then his big toe got caught in a knot-hole in the fence post. One leg had made it to the other side but the other was caught. 

 “Eric, quick, old chap. It’s a snake. It’s got me," he said as calmly as he could, but inside he was in sheer panic.* 

 “I say,” said Eric. “What rotten luck.” 

Eric was quick to his friend’s rescue. He spun around with his stick raised. He saw the dark head wiggling through the knot-hole and brought the stick down on it with all his might. Poor Claude let out an almighty yell! It could be heard for miles around. You’d never believe a yell like that could come from an Englishman.  Then he cried out to his friend. 

 “For pity’s sake, Eric, do something. It’s just bitten me!” 

 * * *
* most Aussies telling this yarn would use the expression pissin’ himself in place of in sheer panic
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Aussie Bush Yarn2 
What a Bummer
swag of yarns summer 1997

Two swaggies met up by the river one night. They decided to make camp together. They were catching fish and sharing their rations. Then after a bit they settled down by the fire with a pack of cards and the night wore on.  It was nearly midnight when one of these swaggies has to ‘go ‘. When you’re on the road and campin’ out and ya’ gotta go, well ya’ gotta go behind a tree and that’s all there is to it.  So he disappeared into the bush to find a suitable tree and his mate waited by the fire . This swaggie  came runnin’ back to the camp, swearin’ and cussin’ like nobody’s business, and tryin’ to hitch his pants up.

 “What happened,” his mate said.

 “I’ve been bitten! Snake, I reckon!” He added a few other words too.

His mate got the torch and held it close to the appropriate section of the other’s anatomy . Sure enough there were two puncture marks in the pink skin.

 “Quick,” he said. “ Lay down on ya’ belly. I’ll see to it.”

He got a razor from his bluey and set to work as quickly as he could.  He cut the flesh on the appropriate section of his mate’s anatonomy and sucked out the poison. Then he tied it up as best he could. He knew he was supposed to make a tourniquet to stop any poison from reaching the heart but he wasn’t too sure where to tie that tourniquet in this case. Anyway he did his best.

When his mate was comfortable he picked up a heavy stick from the ground.

 “I’ll see if I can find ‘im and kill ‘im,” he said.

Off he went into the bush with his torch and stick. After a bit he came back to the camp, laughing his head off. His poor mate wasn’t too impressed.

 “What’s the big joke,” he asked, not too pleasantly.

His mate held up a belt the other bloke had been wearing. It was one o’ them flash varieties he’d picked up from some gent at some stage. Well, the buckle had double prongs. It had   fallen off when the swaggie had pulled his pants down, and lodged on a small rock. That’s what  had bitten him. He’d sat on his own belt! And that was all he sat on for some time after that.

* * *
pommies:                   Australians’ affectionate  term for English people
wet the whistle:        quench one’s thirst
pub:                            licensed hotel, rarely used for accommodation,often used for drinking
bushmen:                  men who work  in the bush, cutting trees for firewood or the railways
biggins :                     big ones
sleepers:                    timber beams forming part of a railway track
swaggies:                   men who travelled Australia on foot in  search of work or  charity.
bluey:                          a rolled up blanket containing the meagre possessions of the swaggie
bummer:                      a fiasco, a disappointment
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Interview with Neville Blampey

I'm A Travellin' Man...
met a lotta people... told a lotta stories...
swag of yarns winter 1998

Not so long ago Neville Blampey was born in Perth. The family moved to the bush when Neville was around four years  old. He has vivid memories of  his school days in the bush. One more vivid than the others was the day Neville, as an innocent Preppie, was laid out on the table in the staff room. Apparently little Neville had visited the toilet block for the necessary release of fluid and had difficulty in zipping up his shorts. The reason for this was that his penis was caught in the zip! So the teachers had to find a safe method of separating the teeth of the zipper from his tender skin.

Neville’s family eventually moved back to Perth but Neville didn’t stay put for long.

"I took my camera and headed down south with the surfies. I was always the long winded story/joke teller and my tales kept me up late at night and in bed too long in the morning to catch the early morning waves.

Listening to stories was not such a big part of my youth though reading certainly was, especially Greek and Roman mythology. I had an old Nanna who always gave me a classic for my birthday and for Christmas. Travelling was when I first began listening to stories. In the houses that I stayed there were always lots of travellers and at night we would tell stories of where we had been and the adventures on the way.

My travelling took me away from Australia when I got a job as a teacher on board the 60ft schooner, Patanella. The owners of the boat had two kids and I was their tutor. We sailed around the world. Along the way I learned stories. For instance in the Seychelles I learned stories from the locals. The local guys took me to a graveyard and showed me a three metre tall obelisk—the grave of the giant that lived on the island. The islanders were mostly unemployed. They took me all over the island where we could walk. We climbed mango trees and walked through the jungle. Stories were a natural part of these expeditions.

Later I left the yacht and went to Israel where I met my wife, Anke. We shared a big house with fourteen people from about twelve different nations. Every continent was represented in this house. It was a terrific place to sit and talk to people and a great place for stories. Anke was in the house at the time but she went off to South America and I went to Scotland.

While I was in Scotland I became involved with a youth group and was asked to read stories to the kids. I wasn’t able to find a story I liked so I told The Tin Soldier by Hans Christian Andersen. It must have been okay because I was invited back to tell each week and I became the regular storyteller there.

Anke and I had been writing to each other and we met up at various places and then I went to Holland and we got together. I returned to Australia after around eight years.  I had been out of teaching for so long I decided to get work as a welder as I thought my chances of getting a teaching position were pretty remote. One day I got a call from the Education Department asking if I would like to open a school in Jamieson  Western Australia. My wife was still in Holland but she agreed to join me in Jamieson. This was quite an introduction to Australia for Anke. After arriving in the country we went to Jamieson and arrived there in the middle of the night. It was pitch black! We just went to sleep in the caravan. In the morning we were approached by some of the local Aboriginal people. One of them yelled out—Snake! He pointed to the ground to where a snake lay right near Anke. It was her first time in Australia and of course she was frightened. The Aboriginal people thought it was a great joke. They knew all along that it was a dead snake! After that they often teased us about the frightening snake!

In Jamieson we often heard stories from the people there. On Friday afternoons we’d head for the bush with the kids and some of the women of the tribe hunting for kangaroo. We took the billy and the camera. The pictures we made into books.

I began to tell stories here to encourage the children to write. These were children whose parents had come straight out of the bush.  The school had been closed for nine months and our job was to get the kids back to school. The building had been wrecked and they weren’t really interested in going to school. I used story to introduce the kids to reading and writing in English. I told stories like Rumplestiltskin, Rapunzel, The Tin Soldier and acted them out making them funny. The kids loved them. We also used the photographs from our travels. We’d show the photographs and tell stories about them. The kids got to know us and they would tell us stories in return and their language skills developed.

Jamieson was a wonderful experience and our first child, Zoey was born there. After two years we went to the Cook Islands where we stayed for two years. Our youngest daughter was born there—on the kitchen floor.  I couldn’t find the doctor and the midwife arrived just in time to catch the baby.

Now we are back in Perth and I have joined the Storytelling Guild here. I always wanted to tell stories and I was amazed when I saw the public storytelling. After I had done a couple of workshops I found myself telling stories in public. Telling stories is a buzz. Most of my stories have been for primary school children but I am now also interested in telling personal stories.

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Interview with Francis Firebrace

   Francis Firebrace
   Australian Aboriginal Storyteller
   swag of yarns autumn 1998

Francis Firebrace, storyteller of the Yorta Yorta people has entertained audiences all over Australia as well as America, Scotland, New Zealand and Asia. He has inspired audiences in Alaska, The Yukon and British Columbia. He has performed with the Sydney Youth Ballet and at the Sydney Opera House. In 1997 Francis appeared at the world renowned Scottish International Storytelling Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. At the National Storyfest in Sydney last year he kept audiences spellbound.  In January this year he was part of  the biggest Australia Day Party outside Australia in Vietnam. Yet when he was a boy he was overwhelmed by people in groups of more than ten!

You see Francis was brought up in the bush and it wasn’t until he was seven that the family moved to the “big smoke”. That is, they moved to the township of Euston with a population of approximately 300. He was born out of wedlock to a white mother. His father was Aboriginal and his mother was still legally married to another man.

“There was talk of  killing my father when they saw me because I was dark and they knew.” says Francis. “My father and  mother ran away at midnight in a horse and sulky. They followed the river for around 250 miles  We lived in the bush  in a tent until I was around 3, then a house with a dirt flour till I was 5. Then we moved to Euston. At that stage the largest group of people I had ever seen was about 9 or 8 so I was spellbound when I saw all these people in the town. I started  school when I was 7. I had a hard time because I was one of the only Aboriginal kids there. I had to fight a lot. I didn’t know any different so I figured it was pretty normal. I grew up wanting to be white. I’d look in the mirror and cry because I wasn’t fair skinned like everyone else. That was sad but it was part of my learning and it gives me compassion for other people. I left school when I was 14. I was bright but I wasn’t interested much in traditional schooling.

I went droving. My father was a rabbit trapper and we used to catch kangaroos with snares and things. By the time I was 21, I owned my own droving plant. I was also married to my first wife and  we had started a family. We used to travel around in a wagonette. When I was 21 I rode a horse from Gunnedah to Narrabri to join a cattle drive and I went to Queensland. My wife joined me later, with my first daughter Terri. That was a long time ago.

I was a stockman until I was 28. Then I went to Canberra  and became a film maker. In 1976 I won the International Moomba Film Festival. People did not know I was Aboriginal, I used to keep that quiet because it wasn’t popular then.

I had five children with my first wife. I lost my daughter, Lorri, when she was 23, with cancer. I stopped the film I was working on. I thought I’d go back to it another time. I never did go back. I sold my house, bought a boat and went to the Whitsunday Islands  and became an entertainer.

This was a turning point for me, when my daughter died.I let go of my material values and suddenly I found my freedom. By letting go of the past I opened the doors to the future. Living on a boat for 11 years you learn to look at this incredible society in which we live. I realised I’d been one of those fools chasing monetary gain and possessions. I changed my outlook. I also started telling stories and I found the tourists were very interested. When I came down to Sydney I started to tell  stories to some kids who were drinking and smoking grass, you know, and they related to them.

Then teachers heard  me and I was approved by the Education Dept. of NSW to tell stories in NSW Schools and that kicked me off. I’ve never looked back.

I tell stories to speak the truth in an entertaining way so that people hear it and before they know it the seeds are planted. Story is the most natural, the most powerful, the most spiritual way to connect with people. I can help to make a better world for children and for other people.

The lyrebird story I tell which comes from the Blue Mountains is a story of equality. It’s about the abuse of power.  The lyrebird teaches the frog to sing. The frog got big headed and tried to sing down the moon. Of course the moon ignored him and he sang louder and louder until eventually his voice went. That’s why the frog can only croak. But the lyrebird, who was willing to share his power, still has his beautiful voice and still sings in the Australian bush to this very day.

I’m a travelling storyteller. My stories are not just from the Yorta Yorta. I get them from all over, we swap stories with one another. I learned some from the full bloods in the Northern Territory when I was droving. Some of my stories are from my father. For instance Jerri Jerri, the Willy Wagtail. My father was always nervous of him. Jerri Jerri is mischievous and he brings trouble. He gets as close as he can, listens to what you are saying and then off he goes, carting yarns all over the place. My father would throw something at them to frighten them away but he wouldn’t hurt them. He used to tell me not to hit them because if you do there will be big trouble.

All my stories are selected for their meanings and positive messages.The only way to make change is to go out there and give people another view of life. That's what I do through my stories, my paintings and my philosophy.’

Francis gives credit to writer, Donni Hakanson. Her support and encouragement was the main force behind his initial success as a storyteller.Through London publishers, Eddison Sadd, Francis and Donni have collaborated on an exciting new project this year, a new concept called Oracle Of The Dreamtime. The cards, similar in concept to tarot cards, will feature Francis’ stories and art, as well the work of other Aboriginal artists. They will be available in Australia, America and other countries this year.

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Stories from other lands

The Goose Girl
A German Folktale
   swag of yarns spring 1998

German immigrants contributed much to the development of the Australian Nation. After 1851 many disillusioned Germans left their country and and a large number of them tried their luck digging in the Australian goldfields. German artist and naturalist, Ludwig Becker, produced some of the earliest sketches of life in Bendigo. Many of Bendigo’s beautiful, historic buildings were designed by Germans,Wilhelm Vahland and Jacob Getzschmann, after they had given up their efforts to strike it rich in the goldfields.

It was the migration of German people to South Australia which resulted in the development of  the famous vineyards of Barossa Valley. German geologist, Johann Menge, foresaw the great possibilities of the area. “I am quite certain that we shall see flourishing vineyards and orchards and immense fields of corn throughout all New Silesia.” German settlers began many of the well known vineyards in the Barossa Valley. In 1850 Joseph Seppelt migrated from Germany and from his first failed crop (of tobacco) eventually grew the famous Seppelt wines.

In Germany on November 11 each year the people celebrate St. Martin’s Day. German children parade the streets, singing songs and carrying bright paper lanterns of different shapes and sizes.

Born in 316 Martin was a loyal Roman soldier of Christian faith. It is said that on meeting a poor beggar one freezing cold winter’s day, Martin cut his thick coat in two and gave one half to the beggar. The beggar turned out to be none other than Christ himself. Martin then chose to give up his role as a soldier and devote his life instead to Jesus. He became a monk. When it was proposed that he become a bishop he did not feel he was holy enough to accept and hid himself in a flock of geese. But the geese cackled and gave him away and so Martin became a bishop after all. In many places the goose is sacrificed on November 11 in honour of St. Martin.

Once upon a time there was an old Queen who had a beautiful daughter. When she grew up she was betrothed to a Prince who lived a great way off.

When the time drew near for the Princess to be married and to depart into the foreign kingdom, her old mother gave her much costly baggage and many ornaments, gold and silver, trinkets and knick-knacks and, in fact, everything belonging to a royal trousseau, for she loved her daughter dearly. The Queen also sent a waiting-maid, who was to ride with the Princess and hand her over to the bridegroom, and she provided each of them with a horse for the journey. The Princess’ horse, Falada, was able to speak.

When the hour for departure drew near, the old mother went to her bedroom and, taking a small knife, she cut her fingers till they bled. Then she held a white cloth under them, and, letting three drops of blood fall into it, she gave it to her daughter, saying,

“Dear child, take great care of this cloth. It may be of use to you on the journey.”

Mother and daughter took a sad farewell of each other. The Princess put the cloth in the front of her dress, mounted her horse and set forth on the journey to her bridegroom’s kingdom. After they had ridden for about an hour the Princess became thirsty and said to her waiting-maid, “Please dismount and fetch me some water in my golden cup.”

“If you are thirsty,” said the maid, “dismount, lie down by the water and drink. I am not your servant any longer.”

The Princess was so thirsty that she got down and bent over the stream. As she drank she murmured:

“Oh, Heaven, what am I to do?” And the three drops of blood replied:

If your mother only knew
Her heart would surely break in two

The Princess said nothing about her maid’s rude behaviour. She quietly mounted her horse again. They rode on their way for several miles. The day was hot, and the sun’s rays beat fiercely on them. The Princess soon became thirsty again. When they passed another stream she called out to her maid, “Pray get me a drink in my golden cup,” for she had forgotten her maid’s rude words.

But the waiting-maid answered her mistress more haughtily even than before, “If you want a drink, you can dismount and get it. I do not mean to be your servant.”

The Princess was compelled by her thirst to dismount. Bending over the flowing water, she cried, “Oh, Heaven, what am I to do?” And the three drops of blood replied,

If your mother only knew
Her heart would surely break in two

And as she drank, leaning over the water, the cloth containing the three drops of blood fell from her bosom and floated down the stream. In her anxiety the Princess did not even notice her loss, but the waiting maid had observed it with delight. She knew that now she could do as she wished with the Princess, for in losing the drops of blood she had become weak and powerless.

When the Princess tried to get on her horse again, the waiting-maid called out, “I will ride Falada.” To this too, the Princess had to submit. Then the waiting-maid commanded her harshly to take off her royal robes and to put on her common ones. Finally she made her swear by Heaven not to say a word about the matter when they reached the palace, lest she be killed on the spot.  Falada observed everything and took it all to heart.

The waiting-maid mounted Falada, and the real bride mounted the other horse, and so they continued their journey till   they arrived at the palace. There was great rejoicing over their arrival, and the Prince sprang forward to meet them. Thinking that the waiting-maid was his bride, he lifted her down from her horse and led her upstairs to the royal chamber.

In the meantime the real Princess was left standing below in the courtyard.

The old King, who was looking out of his window, beheld her in this plight, and it struck him how sweet and gentle she looked. He went at once to the royal chamber and asked the false bride who it was she had brought with her and left standing in the courtyard below.

“Oh,” replied the bride, “I brought her with me to keep me company on the journey. Give the girl something to do, that she may not be idle.”

The old King said, “She can help Curdken, who looks after the geese.”

Soon after this the false bride said to the Prince, “Dearest bridegroom, I pray you grant me a favour.”

“That I will do,” he answered.

“Then have the horse I rode here killed, because it behaved very badly on the journey.”

But the truth was she was afraid lest the horse should speak and tell how she had treated the Princess. When the news came to the ears of the real Princess she went to the slaughterer and secretly promised him a piece of gold if he would kindly hang Falada’s head on a large gate, through which she had to pass night and morning with the geese.

The man said he would do as the Princess desired and the next day he chopped off the head and nailed it firmly over the gateway.

When she and Curdken drove their flock through the gate early the next morning, she whispered as she passed under the gate.

Oh, Falada,’tis you hang there

and the head replied:

If your mother only knew,
Her heart would surely break in two.

Then she and Curdken drove the geese out into the country. When they reached the meadow where the geese fed she sat down and unloosed her hair, which was of pure gold. Curdken loved to see it glitter in the sun and wanted very much to pull out a few of the hairs.

Then the Princess spoke:

Wind,wind, gently sway,
Blow Curdken’s hat away;
Let him chase o’er field and wold
Till my locks of ruddy gold,
Now astray and hanging down,
Be combed and plaited in a Crown

A gust of wind blew Curdken’s hat away and he had to chase it over hill and dale. By the time he returned the Princess had finished combing and curling her hair and his chance of getting a lock was gone. Curdken was very angry and would not speak to her. They herded the geese in silence till evening and went home.

The next morning, as they passed under the gate, the girl said;

Oh, Falada, ‘tis you hang there,

and the head replied;

If your mother only knew
Her heart would surely break in two

Then she went on her way till she came to the meadow, where she sat down and began to comb out her hair.

Curdken ran up to her and wanted to pull a lock from her head, but she called out hastily:

Wind, wind, gently sway,
Blow Curdken’s hat way;
Let him chase o’er field and wold
Till my locks of ruddy gold,
Now astray and hanging down,
Be combed and plaited in a crown.

A puff of wind came and blew Curdken’s hat far away and he had to run after it. When he returned she had finished putting up her golden locks, and he could not get one.

That evening when they came home Curdken went to the old King.

“I refuse to herd geese with that girl any longer. She does nothing but annoy me all day long,”  he said.

He told the King how the Princess spoke and how she behaved.

The next day the old King secretly followed them when they took the geese out. He observed all that Curdken had reported to him, with his own eyes. In the evening when the goose-girl returned he called her aside and asked her why she behaved the way she did.

When she refused to speak he said to her:

“Well if you cannot tell me, why don’t you confide your troubles to the old iron stove over there.”

Then he went away, leaving her alone. The Princess crept over to the stove and began to pour out her sad little heart.

“Here I sit, deserted by the whole world, for I am a King’s daughter. A false waiting-maid has forced me to remove my own clothes and has taken my place with my bridegroom.”

The old King, standing outside at the chimney, heard her words. He ordered her dressed in royal apparel. She looked exceedingly beautiful. Next he summoned his son and told him he had a false bride and the real bride stood before him.

The young Prince rejoiced when he saw her beauty and learned how good she was. A banquet was prepared and everyone was invited. The bridegroom sat at the head of the table, the real Princess on one side of him and the waiting-maid on the other. The maid did not recognize the Princess in her glittering garments. When they had eaten and were merry, the King asked the false bride to solve a problem for him.

“What,” said he, “should be done to a person who has deceived everyone?”

He related the story of the Princess and the false waiting-maid and then said:

“Now what sentence should be passed?”

 The false bride answered, “Such a person deserves to be put naked into a barrel lined with sharp nails, which should be dragged by two white horses up and down the street until she is dead.”

And that is exactly what they did to her! The young Prince married his real bride, and both reigned over the kingdom in peace and happiness.

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swag of yarns is a quarterly, 32 page magazine. If you are interested in subscribing but are not familiar with the magazine we are more than happy to send you a complimentary copy of a back issue.

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More About June
june barnes (jb) storyTELLER
Always a storyteller! June’s ability as a storyteller was always evident. Her primary school teachers nicknamed her 'Enid Blyton'.

As a teenager June’s stories were published in the New Idea (Popular Australian National Magazine) and other journals but life’s journey drew her away from her passion until 1990 when she joined the Storytelling Guild of Australia (Vic Branch).

When not telling stories June runs storytelling classes for primary school children. She is the editor of swag of yarns, Australia’s National Storytelling Magazine.  June is also a well known educator and speaker with the Kumon Institute of Education.

June has extensive experience in storytelling with adults as well as children and has told at a great variety of venues including schools, business conferences, Dymocks Book Stores and other retail outlets, Government House, Victoria, The Sheraton Towers Ballroom, ABC Radio, Telephone Storyline, Women’s Refuge, Festivals, The Royal Melbourne Show, Melbourne Moomba Festival, Storytelling Cafes and Conferences.  She is featured on the audio tape, Mystery and Mayhem, produced by the Storytelling Guild of Australia (Vic Branch) Inc. June was the winner of the storytelling contest at the 1997 Gold’n’Grape Festival in Heathcote, Victoria.  But storytelling has won June many prizes.

“On one occasion I was telling a personal story at a National Trust Luncheon and a lady in the audience showed great surprise and throughout the story made suppressed sounds of amazement and joy. This was not, to my disappointment, in response to my expertise as a storyteller. It turned out that she recognised some of the names in the story I was telling and as she listened she realised I was one of the long lost cousins she had been searching for in order to fill in the missing pieces of the family history.”

“The greatest prizes are the delightful ones people give me when they tell me how much a story has meant to them. Often the story has helped them in some way. The children, of course, are wonderful prize givers. Recently my telephone rang and when I answered it I heard a small voice at the other end.”

“Did you come to Albion Park Primary School?” the little girl asked.

“Yes,” I answered.

“I liked your stories. I liked the one about the dog but I liked all your stories.”

                                          “Wow!That’s a Gold Medal!”

                                                         * * *

                                            To contact June for bookings or further information:
                                             Snail Mail
                                             PO Box 235, ALBERT PARK VIC 3206, Australia


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