Burning Brightly
New Light on Old Tales Told Today
  • Publication Date: June 15, 1998
  • ISBN: 9781551111674 / 1551111675
  • 304 pages; 6" x 9"

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Burning Brightly

New Light on Old Tales Told Today

  • Publication Date: June 15, 1998
  • ISBN: 9781551111674 / 1551111675
  • 304 pages; 6" x 9"

Burning Brightly is the first full-length book treatment of professional storytelling in North America today. For some years there has been a major storytelling revival throughout the continent, with hundreds of local groups and centres springing up, and with storytelling becoming an important part of the professional training for librarians.

In the book, Stone explores storytelling through storytellers themselves, while providing enlightening commentary from her own background as a storyteller. Included in her analysis are informative discussions of organized storytelling communities, individual tellers, and tales. Issues such as the modern recontextualization of old tales and the role of women in folktales are linked to individual storytelling accounts. Texts of eight stories that exemplify the approaches of the various storytellers are also included.

Burning Brightly will be compelling reading for storytellers—and for everyone who loves storytelling.


“This is a lively, well balanced and insightful book. Boldly combining the perspective of an “inquisitive folklorist,” the voice of a purposeful storyteller, and the fire of the “curious girl” of many a wondertale, Kay Stone’s book is a bright light guiding us down the contemporary Canadian and American river of stories. Readers of fairytale, teachers, storytellers, folklorists, librarians, and students of oral narratives and performance can all benefit from Stone’s careful and unpretentious analysis as well as the stories she lovingly presents.” — Christina Cacchilega, University of Hawaii-Manoa

“Scholarly yet accessible.” — The Globe and Mail

“Stone is uniquely qualified to write a study of the history, development, current status, and future trends of the storytelling movement. Readers … will want to add this important book to their bookshelves.” — The Story Bag

In Gratitude
Useful Terms
Foreword: The Path Into The Woods


  1. Folktales and Organized Storytelling
  2. Four Streams, One River: The Storytelling Revival
  3. Intentional Storytelling Communities
  4. Once Upon a Time Today: Tellers and Tales
  5. Social Identity in Organized Storytelling


  1. Creative Drama and Storytelling
    Text: “The Honest Penny” (Bob Barton)
  2. Old Tales, New Contexts
    Text: “The King of Egypt’s Daughter” (Joe Neil MacNeil)
  3. The Teller of the Tale
    Texts: “The Horoscope” (Marylyn Peringer)
    “The Three Feathers” (Stewart Cameron)
  4. Difficult Women in Folktales
    The Victims; The Victimizers
    Texts: “The Rosy Apple and the Golden Bowl” (Carol McGirr)
    “Snow White: A Reflection” (Marvyne Jenoff)
    “The Juniper Tree” (Susan Gordon)
  5. Burning Brightly: The Development of a Story
    Text: “The Curious Girl” (Kay Stone)

Conclusion: The Wedding Feast

Appendix I: Four Streams in the Toronto Festival of Storytelling
Appendix II: “The Curious Girl” in Print

Tale Types Index

Kay Stone is a widely-published professor of folklore at the University of Winnipeg, and an established storyteller.