This page is our opportunity to share with you the progress we make in this exciting community project. There will be regular updates posted below with reports detailing what is going on, please visit again soon.
Monday 25th November 2019
A new postcard illustration arrived today for the story of "The Robber's Grave" (Chapter VII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories). Thank you Ed Fisher!
Saturday 23rd November 2019
The Young Storyteller of Wales Festival at Venue Cymru in Llandudno and a chance to show a display of the progress on the project so far. And an aopportunity to give away free bookmarks and pencils to unicorns and other participants and audience members.
Wednesday 20th November 2019
And tonight the shadow puppets hit the big screen for rehearsals.
Wednesday 13th November 2019
The Newtown Storytelling Club had fun tonight with shadow puppets.
Wednesday 6th November 2019
The Newtown Young Storytellers Club is now running again at full steam. Here is the latest report back from the Storytelling Tutor, Amy Douglas...
“The Newtown storytelling after-school club is now settled into its new home at Newtown High School. Surprisingly - and excitingly - it is being hosted by the art department - who have lots of interesting resources, a similar attitude to mess and moving furniture around and are really interested in the combination of improving arts skills, giving focus and inspiration for art, creative thinking, improving self-confidence and presentation skills as well as just enjoying listening to and telling stories.
We have a lovely mix of ages - from a few Y6 students coming in from primary schools up to Y9 (10-14 year olds).
Before half term we gave the students a copy each of the 100 word précis - a very useful tool - thank you! We wanted to give them a choice, but not ask them to read a whole book! We want them to hear the stories together, orally, rather than read them on their own, so the précis were perfect. We asked them to have a look through and see if there were any descriptions that caught their attention and that they would like to hear in full.
Today, although from the précised they wanted to hear 'The Robbers Grave', in the end it was The Magic Cauldron that they fell in love with and that they have chosen to work on.
Our plan is for all the students to work on the same story together in lots of different ways, giving them lots of options and following what catches their imagination. We are going to work with shadow puppets, hand shadows, drama, narration and word orchestras. We envision the story being told through all those media.
Next week we are going to focus on creating shadow puppets - so watch this space - hopefully we'll be putting up lots of photos of puppets in progress!
Hopefully soon we can share some photo of the drama games and telling with the kamishabai that they have already done...but we need photo permissions returned first!”
Saturday 2nd November 2019
Members of Llandudno Story Circle visited Mythstories museum at University Centre Shrewsbury and had a guided tour of the exhibits on display throughout the Guildhall Campus in Shrewsbury.
Thursday 29th October 2019
Fiona Collins, of Caffi Stori Llangollen, made the last site visit today to Llanymynech Hill to experience the views that were decribed in "Prince Voel and Gwendolen" (Chapter XIV - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
Sunday 25th October 2019
A new postcard illustration arrived today for the story of "Mac the Packman" (Chapter XII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories). Thank you Ed Fisher!
Saturday 9th October 2019
Today the Llandudno Story Circle set forth on their quest to recreate some of the tales from "The Enchanted Wood" to contribute to the final schools' resource.
Young talented storytellers leading the way to illuminating their heritage - respect due!
Wednesday 9th October 2019
Week three of the young storytellers club at Newtown High School and the guys are nearly ready to tell their first tales.
Friday 4th October 2019
Intrepid explorers Fiona and Carol went in search of the Fox's Leap from the story of the same name (Chapter XIII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
Wednesday 2nd October 2019
Week 2 - Numbers growing and Ideas flowing!
Wednesday 25th September 2019
The Young Storytellers Club is relaunched at Newtown High School with a very encouraging turn-out.
Thursday 12th September 2019
Another postcard design arrived today from illustrator Ed Fisher. This picture shows Llynclys Pool from the story "The Ogress" (Chapter V - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories)
Sunday 8th September 2019
Brownie points go to Suzanne Thomas for turning up this excellent bit of research.
Friday 6th September 2019
Another extremely successful Caffi Stori Llangollen excursion got to the heart of the story "The Robber's Grave" (Chapter VII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) in Montgomery.
Thursday 29th August 2019
Where better to learn Stagecraft than on a fantastic stage at Theatr Hafren. The second workshop "Storytelling for the Stage" finished with a great colaborative performance by all the participants. Thank you Tamar Williams for lighting the creative blue touch paper. It was an experience all will remember a long time hence.
Wednesday 21st August 2019
An image for "The Magic Carpet" (Chapter XVIII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) flew in today aboard a calf-skin rug, a little more magic from illustrator, Ed Fisher.
Thursday 15th August 2019
Today "Storymaking", the first of two Stagecraft Myths and Legends workshops took place at Theatr Hafren in Newtown. Storyteller Tamar Williams skillfully guided the participants through the process of creating their own stories to perform. The workshop culminated with the newly born tales taking to the stage on the lips of the young tellers.
Above is one on the feedback forms. Quite a result I think you'll agree!
Wednesday 14th August 2019
Bangor University Story Soc. have been busy cutting The Enchanted Wood down in size. They have now accomplished the difficult task of reducing each of the eighteen stories to 100 words. Quite a feat!
To whet your appetite here is "Little Jack Red Cap" (Chapter XI - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) précised to exactly 100 words...
Once there was a gentlemanly little boy called Red Cap Jack who was the heir to the Penthryn family. He was so called because of the red cap he wore on the way to his school, Deutheur Grammar. Everyone loved him, except those who wanted his inheritance for themselves. They hired two men who attacked Jack on his way to school, killing him. But his soul began to haunt Rhysnant mansion, his former home. Eventually, conjurers gathered and sealed the mischievous ghost in a bottle, throwing it into a deep well in the grounds, where it rests to this day.
Friday 9th August 2019
An image for "Little Jack Red Cap" (Chapter XI - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) just in from illustrator, Ed Fisher.
Friday 2nd August 2019
An image for "The Magic Cauldron" (Chapter IV - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) arrived today from illustrator, Ed Fisher.
Tuesday 30th July 2019
A busy day filled with blocked footpaths and false dawns as we discovered that many buildings share a common name in the remote countryside south of Llanfair Caereinion.
However we now have much more clarity about the sites of three stories- "Mac The Packman" (Chapter XII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories), "Einion's Harp" (Chapter XV - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) & "The Magic Carpet" (Chapter XVIII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
Tuesday 16th July 2019
Illustrator Ed Fisher has come up with final illustration for "The Changelings" (Chapter II - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories). Tranquil Lynn Ebyr is disturbed by two splashes.
Wednesday 10th July 2019
Big thanks go to Sharon at Theatr Hafren for creating such lovely flyers for the Summer Workshops.
Saturday 6th July 2019
Fiona and Su from the Caffi Stori Llangollen group visited "The Field of Blessing" (Chapter X - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) and were not overly impressed by the site.
Fiona's update read..."The Blessing Field now looks rather boring and the back road to Aberhasep now goes through the middle of it, but I took photos of both halves. Let's see what Ed (the illustrator) can do with them."
Thursday 27th June 2019
Ed Fisher has been working his magic again with an illustration for "Melangell and her Lambs" (Chapter III - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
While the story title mentions lambs the saint's protection of a hare plays the major role in the tale.
Friday 14th June 2019
Later the same day the Caffi Stori Llangollen group visited the site of the sunken court, Llynclys Pool which features in the story "The Ogress" (Chapter V - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) and appreciated 'the quiet beauty of this magical spot'.
We must thank the Llynclys Hall Farm Shop for allowing the group to park and access the pool across their land.
Friday 14th June 2019
Pennant Melangell Valley resident Kate read the story of Melangell, "Melangell And Her Lambs" to Caffi Stori Llangollen’s intrepid story researchers (Chapter III - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories). Then the group left the Saint Melangell Centre to explore the church and see the shrine and then saw the Llan and the 2000 year old yews.
Thursday 11th June 2019
Illustrator Ed Fisher sent us the final illustration for "The Master Shoemaker" (Chapter XVII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories). Beautiful, isn't it?
Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Today we were emailed by local storyteller, Suzanne Tumnus who contacted us about the Story of "Dick the Fiddler". She's keen to add it to her repertoire after hearing about it from this project.
The new dissemination of the tales begins!
Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Illustrator Ed Fisher chose St.Myllin's Well as the subject for his illustration for "The Master Shoemaker" (Chapter XVII - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
Sunday 19th May 2019
Today Kevin went in search of Rhysnant Hall which, alas, is no longer there. However clues remain to its whereabouts and the existance of "Little Jack Red Cap" (Chapter XI - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
Saturday 18th May 2019
Kevin had no trouble finding the Taliesin plaque in Llanfair Caereinion when researching "The Magic Cauldron" (Chapter IV - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
However finding Wtre Wen and Plas Rhiwhiraeth involved travelling down some picturesque narrow roads and decoding Dez's slightly eccentric directions and map references.
Monday 13th May 2019 - '...later that day'
A little diversion took Fiona to Lynn Ebyr mentioned in the story "The Changelings" (Chapter IX - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories) as Ebyr Pool.
This is where a mother threw changeling babies and was rewarded by the return of her own children. Don't worry the changelings were rescued by the "a host of blue-trousered, blue-petticoated little goblins".
Monday 13th May 2019
Returning from a very early morning telling of Hafren's story at the source of the river on Plynlimon for radio, Fiona Collins, from Caffi Stori Llangollen, descended into Llanidloes to research some of the sites in the story "Dick The Fiddler" (Chapter IX - The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
On the right you can see Betty Brunt's Public House, now The Unicorn, and on the left is a view under the Market Hall. These were two places where Dick spent the fairy money he'd earned playing the fiddle. The market trader who took the crown as part payment for 'shirtings' was the one left with regrets and a plie of dust in his till, the change he gave paid for Dick's refreshments at Betty's Inn.
Sunday 12th May 2019
These photographs show the River Severn below Maid's Meadow or to use the Welsh names the Hafren below Dolforwyn.
This is where Hafren was thrown into the river to drown by Queen Gwendolen. She did not perish but was transformed into the Goddess of the river which bears her name (Chapter VIII "Hafren" from The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories).
Monday 6th May 2019
Fiona Collins from Caffi Stori Llangollen went to Llanfyllin to research the story of "The Master Shoemaker".
She took these wonderful views of the town, but on closer inspection there was no sign of the master shoemaker, Edward Wynn's workshop and no clues to its exact whereabouts. Nowadays Llanfyllin does not even have one cobbler's shop, how times have changed!
Tuesday 30th April 2019
To herald the first week after the Easter break there were two birthdays, so the session had to include cake.
And then it was down to work again with story scrolls.
Tuesday 9th April 2019
The last week of the first term.
The group have chosen their first stories from "The Enchanted Wood" and mapped out their story scrolls.
They'll mull over their tales in the Easter break and then get down to work in the new term rehearsing and telling in preparation for their first performance to parents and families in May.
Tuesdays 26th March and 2nd April 2019
To quote Amy, "The scrolls are made with wand wood left over from last weeks wand making so that the woods chosen will bring their protective/ inspirational/ creative/ intuitive properties to their scrolls and stories."
Friday 22nd March 2019
Illustrator Ed Fisher has been busy working on Grace Evans Cottage for the story "The Escape".
Tuesday 19th March 2019
.........Pot at the ready........collect those essentials........and give it a quick mix........next add those secret ingredients........and it's looking good........add those exotic extras........and stir vigorously for a year and a day!
You've got it, a pan full of inspiration ready to create a bard.
Yes, the students were perfecting the use of their magic cauldrons, bubbling over with words in this week's session.
Tuesday 12th March 2019
Amy introduced the group to "The Enchanted Wood" with the story "The Magic Cauldron".
The discussion led to spells, chants and incantations.
And can you imagine what a magic potion would look like after being boiled for a year and a day, even though it had been stirred throughout that time by 'Little Gwion of Llanfair Caereinion' (Gwion Bach) it must have looked like thick slime in the bottom of the cauldron.
The group made something very similar and then had to find words to describe it!
Tuesday 5th March 2019
Let's do this is Amy's words...
"We had great fun at the club this Tuesday - and welcomed a new member. Dez and Ali had introduced them to kamashabai and they came full of enthusiasm to show their friend and finish off their own kamashabai. They gave us a great performance and then they challenged Helen and me to have a go!"
Sounds like the group dynamic is building well. We'd like to have been flies on the wall!
The 1st week of March 2019
Bangor University Storytelling Society have pulled together a team of volunteers and are ready to make a start on 100 word precis' of all 18 stories in "The Enchanted Wood".
These brave and bold storytellers will pare down the tales to their bare bones, encapsulating all the key points of the stories and allowing them to be re-interpreted by younger tellers.
Thank you guys! Exciting times and stories will follow.
Sunday 3rd March 2019
Today the first research visit took place, with a group of volunteers from Caffi Stori Llangollen Storytelling Cafe meeting up with other project participants at Powis Castle. Our profuse thanks to the National Trust property who waived the entry charge to non-members and made extra facilities available on the day, they could not have been more helpful.
The group were looking for any information and details that might help illuminate the story of "The Hidden Treasure" which took place at the castle circa 1750. This was not as easy a task as you might imagine as the Castle has changed considerably in the last 250+ years.
As you can see from the smiles in the photograph alongside a great day was had by all and a good quantity of background material was amassed.
Tuesday 26th February 2019
A special session for half-term invited families to dicover "The Wonder of Wands".
The raw twig is all important, each tree holds different magic. Which wood would you choose?
The decoration is where the skill comes through, personalising your own wand to magic forth a story or two.
The magic continues with another club session next week.
Tuesday 19th February 2019
Week three and Dez & Ali from Mythstories descended upon the group for the session.
It all started with the story of a Russian biscuit, which led to comparisons with the Gingerbread Man.
A towel origami elephant introduced an African tale of the Queen of the Cats.
Then there was the thorny problem of how to turn an origami cat puppet into a jungle cat, a leopard and a lion.
A Welsh story in a Japanese story biox (kamishibai) led to paticipants telling a similar tale heard from Amy, and then a group telling of a selkie story.
And finally making a shoebox kamishibai to tell the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. BUSY DAY!!!
Tuesday 12th February 2019
Week two of the young storytellers club at Newtown Library was a voyage of discovery.
Runes, scrolls, seals - lots of hands-on fun.
Tuesday 5th February 2019
And the young storytellers club at Newtown Library begins...
Building a bionic storyteller who has it all; first thoughts.
Saturday 26th January 2019
To mark the opening day of National Storytelling Week Amy was at Newtown Library again to deliver free storytelling showcase and taster session open to all.
While the stories flowed over the two days she posed a good many tricky riddles. She was delighted to receive a few new ones too, which she'll add to her already extensive repertoire.
Here are two from Newtown pupils for you to try... I am planting dead trees, why? ... I have no wings, but I can fly - I have no eyes, but I still cry - Who am I?
(answers at the foot of the page)
Friday 25th January 2019
Amy Douglas was in Newtown Library today performing to visiting groups from Hafren Junior School & Treowen Primary School.
We'd like to thank Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council for funding these library taster sessions to show pupils what to expect from the after school Storytelling Club which will begin at the library on Tuesday 5th February at 4.00pm.
Thursday 17th January 2019
Storytelling Tutor, Amy Douglas was busy today enthralling pupils at Abermule Community Primary School in the morning and pupils at Penygloddfa Primary School in the afternoon.
There were stories and riddles to tempt the young people to become members of the Newtown Library Storytelling Club. We are counting down the days until the first meeting, which will take place in just 19 days time.
There are more taster events to come too, with a Storytelling Day at Newtown Library for visiting school groups on Friday 25th January and an open session for children, again at Newtown Library, at 11.00am on Saturday 26th January.
We'd like to thank Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council for funding the taster sessions taking place in their council area.
Tuesday 8th January 2019
Fiona Collins from Caffi Stori Llangollen has been very busy devising and arranging excursions to the story sites for club members so they can photograph and research the lie of the land and the pertinent topographical features.
In the course of her web study of the locations she came across a web page about Ysgafell Farm and Cae Bendith (the Field Of Blessing). It was a reprint of an article and accompanied by a line drawing of the Field of Blessing (above right).
Comparing and contrasting this illustration with the drawing by J. R. Lloyd Hughes from "The Enchanted Wood" will give us crucial clues to locating the field itself during the site visit.
Monday 17th December 2018
Monday morning is always in need of something different. And this Monday morning Caersws Primary School got a taster session from Storytelling Tutor Amy Douglas.
There were riddles to ponder and stories of awe and wonder.
Leaflets were left to publicise the launch of the storytelling club at Newtown Library on 5th February 2019.
Having savoured the flavour let's hope we've won the hearts of a few recruits.
Thursday 6th December 2018
This morning we received a telephone call from a gentleman responding to the article about the project featured in the County Times. It asked, "Do you remember this book?"
Suffice to say that he did, and fondly! As a pupil at Aberhafesp Primary School in 1959 he had enjoyed the stories from "The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories", and could still recall them to this day.
His daughter had read the book at Newtown High School many years later, and now he was looking forward to sharing the stories with his grandchildren.
Our conversation also allowed me to get much closer to identifying the site of "The Field Of Blessing" at Ysgafell farm near Newtown, and also allowed me to trace this image of some preserved ears of corn from that miraculous field. The photograph appeared nearly 300 years after the ears flourished in, yes, you guessed, The County Times.
Wednesday 5th December 2018
We're delighted to say that now the team is complete for the Newtown Library Storytelling Club with the appointment of Helen Kozich as the Club Facilitator.
Helen is an accomplished visual artist and creative educator and her skills will complement Amy's storytelling prowess perfectly. Dez was meant to photograph the first working meeting of the team today but got carried away making the spicy sweet potato and pasta soup so instead we're featuring his favourite image of Helen's artwork, "Little Wind Goddess" which forms part of the MOMA, Machynlleth Collection.
After much productive plotting and planning we're looking forward to launching the club in February.
Thursday 29th November 2018
As luck would have it Gwyneth from the Llanfair Institute popped in today and we were able to quiz her about the locations of two of the stories in The Enchanted Wood.
Thanks to Gwyneth's local knowledge we've managed to pinpoint Wtra Wen (White Lane) Inn where Mac the Packman came to no good end.
Also the whereabouts of Plas Rhiwhiraeth where the sound of Einion's harp rang about the house is no longer a mystery to us.
We're really looking forward to a field trip to Llanfair Caereinion with the Llangollen Caffi Stori crew. You never know we might track down the hall of Little Gwion who spent a year and a day stirring Ceridwen's magic cauldron.
Tuesday 13th November 2018
Newtown Library is just the right place for the new storytelling club; warm, friendly, full of spaces for break-out sessions and room for a group workshop, all the local history reference books, a marvellous collection of old maps in the Trysorau Maldwyn and, most importantly, librarians Maureen and Kate.
We got together for a planning meeting and decided to start the club next February, Tuesday February 5th 2019. Maureen, Kate and Amy will be running a special storytelling day for schools on Friday 25th January and Amy will also be telling stories at the library's community morning on Saturday 26th January 2019.
Saturday 10th November 2018
at Young Storyteller of Wales Venue Cymru, Llandudno...
We met up with Story Circle, Bangor Storytelling Soc. and members of Llangollen Caffi Stori to get to know each other and pass on exciting stuff like photo release forms and volunteer timesheets.
Much more excitingly we were delighted when Jacob Williams, chair of Bangor University Stortelling Society and a Mythstories trustee, won the title Young Storyteller of Wales 2018.
Wednesday 31st October 2018
We are delighted to announce that storyteller Amy Douglas has accepted the challenge of becoming the Young Storytellers' Tutor for our new Young Storytellers club in Newtown.
Amy has been a professional storyteller all her working life. She has a life-long love of the stories of the mid-Wales border area and a track record of working to prepare young contestants for the Young Storyteller of the Year competitions.
Friday 26th October 2018
The press release is issued announcing the grant...
Do you remember this book? It was commissioned by the Montgomeryshire Teachers’ History Committee and given out to pupils in Montgomeryshire’s schools in 1947 as part of their lessons in local history.
Now Mythstories, a museum of myth and fable based in Wem, has been awarded a grant of £29,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to lead a team of volunteers who will be using the folktales in this book to create a resource more suitable for today’s classrooms.
The volunteers include members of Llangollen’s Caffi Stori, children at Llandudno’s Story Circle and students from Bangor University Storytelling Soc.
Key to the project’s success will be a new club for young storytellers which will start in Newtown in the New Year. ‘We are looking for young people, about 10 – 13 years old, who enjoy stories and would like to learn how to tell them.’ says Ali from Mythstories. ‘They will be trained by a professional storyteller at a weekly after-schools club at Newtown Library. The library also houses the Trysorau Maldwyn and the apprentice storytellers will also be guided in researching these documents to add authenticity to their stories. We will be using lots of arts and crafts techniques to help the stories flow. And later in the year we will be running workshops in stage performance for young people at Theatre Hafren’. The project will create an on-line resource, including films of the young storytellers telling their versions of the tales.
‘Thanks to a Community Grant from Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council over the next few months there will be storytelling performances in local schools to recruit members for the storytelling club’.
If you are a young person who would like to be involved in the project – or an older person who has memories of ‘The Enchanted Wood and Other Stories’ by A J Bailey Williams that they would like to share; please contact Mythstories. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07969 541552.
These stories are Montgomeryshire’s stories and now’s the time for Newtown’s young people to step forward and preserve these stories for generations to come.
Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF in Wales, said: “So much of our local history is woven into people’s reminiscences and experiences. The Montgomeryshire Folktales project will capture these elements of our shared history that is in danger of disappearing as it slips out of human memory. Thanks to National Lottery players, HLF is able to support such projects that conserve people’s contribution to their heritage.”
Riddle answers - 1. I am building a fence. - 2. A raincloud.