My children and I tried to convey the common sense wisdom of the Old West in this story about a traveling salesman who understood that weak-minded, gullible, and greedy people make the best customers.
This summer, my family and I were invited to Medomak Family Camp near Washington, Maine, to present a series of storytelling workshops. I gave workshops to both kids and parents, teaching them how to start a storytelling tradition in their own families. We had fun creating spontaneous stories together, drawing on experiences that happened that week in camp.
On Wednesdays at camp, families are free to take a day off to explore the sights and scenery of Maine. The next day back at camp, in my workshop for seven, eight, and nine year olds, we made up the following story about our adventures during everyone’s day off. It was a big hit that night at evening campfire!
Take a story or folk tale your own parents told you as a child—and make it new.
"The Old Dead Horse" is just such a story from my family. My mother claimed she adapted the story from a joke she heard at a holiday cocktail party. Over the years, she must have told it to me a hundred times, embellishing it a little with each telling. I never got tired of hearing it, and it still makes me laugh each time I tell it to my own children.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Charley. Charley was a good fellow, but folks didn’t consider him too smart…