The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

Home      About      Contact      Terms      Privacy

Quotations about
Storytelling & Stories

      "Mummy, will you tell me a bedtime story that will send a cold chill down my spine? And sit beside me afterwards till I go to sleep?"
      "What else are mothers for, darling?" ~Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside, 1939

The child began reading favorite stories of magic to the river, believing the tales would be carried to someone in need. ~Dr. SunWolf, @wordwhispers, tweet, 2014,

I think we don't learn early enough in life the true value of things. Even words, it seems to me, should have value. One ought not to squander them. Talk for talk's sake never meant anything to me. That is probably why I became a good listener, although I must have learned something of it from my Indian friends. Indians never talk. They know how futile argument is. The story-teller is listened to, respectfully and silently, because he is expert testimony. ~George A. Dorsey, Young Low, 1917

Myths are stories about people who become too big for their lives temporarily, so that they crash into other lives or brush against gods. In crisis their souls are visible. ~Anne Carson, Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripides, 2006

For the story — from Rumpelstiltskin to War and Peace — is one of the basic tools invented by the mind of man, for the purpose of gaining understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories. ~Ursula K. Le Guin, 1970

Scarce any tale was sooner heard than told;
And all who told it added something new,
And all who hear'd it made enlargements too,
In ev'ry ear it spread, on ev'ry tongue it grew.
~Alexander Pope

It is said that the first storyteller crept at night to listen to the gods talking in their sleep — so each tale collected contained the breath of gods. ~Author unknown

Those who tell the stories rule the world. ~Author unknown

It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. ~American Indian saying I might as well stop right here in the beginning and start my story — if I have one. Which truly I have not in the right and exciting sense. The things to be hereafter told, even if boiled down to a paragraph, would never be judged readable enough to be given space in the columns of a county newspaper. But, you see, it's my  story, and that makes me want to tell it. ~Marion Hill, The Toll of the Road, 1918

Any story should be this way. It should feel like pulling something burning out of yourself. There you find what you are devoted to. ~Craig Childs, March 2019, Bean Tree Farm, Tucson Mountains, Arizona, Introduction to Virga & Bone: Essays from Dry Places, 2019

      I didn't go to the worlds of story to be reminded that on a dark road your anger and your cruelty pace just behind you, daring you to turn your head, unless you let them travel safely within you.
      The books I loved best were... the ones that started in this world and took you to another.... I wanted there to be a chance to pass through a portal, and by doing so to pass from rusty reality with its scaffolding of facts and events into the freedom of story. I wanted there to be doors. If, in a story, you found the one panel in the fabric of the workaday world that was hinged, and it opened, and it turned out that behind the walls of the world flashed the gold and peacock blue of something else, and you were able to pass through, that would be a moment in which all the decisions that had been taken in this world, and all the choices that had been made, and all the facts that had been settled, would be up for grabs again: all possibilities would be renewed, for who knew what lay on the other side?
      And once opened, the door would never entirely shut behind you either. A kind of mixture would begin. A tincture of this world's reality would enter the other world... while this world would be subtly altered too, changed in status by the knowledge that it had an outside. ~Francis Spufford (b.1964), The Child That Books Built: A Life in Reading, 2002  [an "extended love letter to children's books" —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

      A winter twilight deepens into night.
The firelight glows and at my feet a little maid
Doth sit. As when the heavens display the northern light,
Shine her expectant eyes and, when her hands are laid
In mine, full well I know she waits a tale to hear;
The end perchance a sunny smile, perchance a tear...
~Harry Potter, "The Knight of the Pierced Heart," In Thy Heart's Garden, 1917

A song ain't nothin' in the world but a story just wrote with music to it. ~Hank Williams (1923–1953)

Faith! he must make his stories shorter,
Or change his comrades once a quarter...
~Jonathan Swift, 1731

One of the choice bits of fathering is telling fairy tales in the heel of the evening when the tireless legs have begun to drag a little and the running tongue pauses a bit in its outpouring. Here is fun and sly gleaning of lore and guide posts to pleasant roads and a hint of fine taste. A good story cries out to be told and the art of listening needs to be cultivated as much as the greatly desired gift of telling. ~Angelo Patri, 1924

[S]tories are not just stories but also survival tools. ~Robin R. Bates, How Beowulf Can Save America: An Epic Hero's Guide to Defeating the Politics of Rage, 2012,

FREDDY:  Tell me a story, grandma.
GRANDMA:  What kind, dearie?
FREDDY:  One that I have to eat cookies to listen to.
~Life, 1922

Reason #7 for reading folktales: They remind us that sometimes the blessings and the curses get all mixed up. ~Dr. SunWolf, @WordWhispers, tweet, 2019,

'Tis the same old story all through; devils and demigods, radshas and rishies, Noah's ark and Excalibur. That sort of thing might go on for ever. ~Flora Annie Webster Steel (1847–1929), "Râmchunderji"

The best of the old stories spoke to the listener because they spoke not just to the ears but to the heart as well. ~Jane Yolen

As to the other tales contained in this work, and, indeed, to my tales generally, I can make but one observation. I am an old traveller. I have read somewhat, heard and seen more, and dreamt more than all. My brain is filled, therefore, with all kinds of odds and ends. In travelling, these heterogeneous matters have become shaken up in my mind, as the articles are apt to be in an ill-packed travelling-trunk; so that when I attempt to draw forth a fact, I cannot determine whether I have read, heard, or dreamt it; and I am always at a loss to know how much to believe of my own stories. ~Geoffrey Crayon (Washington Irving), "To the Reader," Tales of a Traveller, 1836

"A Fable," said the merry Æsop, with a twinkle in his witty eyes, "is a fictitious story about nothing that ever happened, related by nobody that ever lived. And the moral is, that every one is quite innocent, only they must not do it again!" ~S.J. Adair Fitz-Gerald (1859–1925), The Zankiwank & The Bletherwitch, 1896

"Always remember," the storyteller told the wide-eyed children, "once-upon-a-time in a tale also means Now." ~Dr. SunWolf, @wordwhispers, tweet, 2012,

These were, in general, ancient inhabitants of that region; born, and bred there from boyhood; who had long since become wheezy and asthmatical, and short of breath, except in the article of story-telling; in which respect they were still marvellously long-winded. ~Charles Dickens

Fantasies, visions, hallucinations or whatever we call those irrational powers that illuminate our inner life fascinate me. I'm particularly intrigued by the creative intelligence that scripts our dreams. And I love how this dramatic energy finds its way to the page, into the one form that most precisely defines who we are: story. ~A.A. Attanasio

You might enter this story by the stage door. ~Munson Havens, Old Valentines: A Love Story, 1914

Wine is a magician, for it loosens the tongue and liberates good stories. ~A Book of Old Songs, Healths, Toasts, Sentiments and Wise Sayings Pertaining to the bond of Good Fellowship, 1901

Writing a story allows us to play with our imaginary friends when we are adults. ~Dr. SunWolf, @wordwhispers, tweet, 2015,

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~Maya Angelou

Bedtime stories are a doorway to dreams. ~Terri Guillemets

Time, the earth, and death are living things, as stories are — so long as other living things exist to feed them, and for them to nourish in their turn. ~Robert Bringhurst, 1995, Introduction to The Dreamer Awakes by Alice Kane

All stories end in death, and he is no true storyteller who would keep that from you. ~Ernest Hemingway, as quoted in A. E. Hotchner, The Good Life According To Hemingway, 2008

...I can set down a story... ~William Shakespeare, Sonnet LXXXVIII

Fully understanding spoils the story — the best are always translucent. ~Terri Guillemets

"Happily ever after" depends on where we choose to end the story. ~Author unknown

This story is ended and the typewriter closed. ~Jane Hillyer, Reluctantly Told, 1926

Home      About      Contact      Terms      Privacy

published 2006 May 15
revised 2016, 2021
last saved 2024 Apr 20