storytellerMy career as a wildlife veterinarian and storyteller has taken me to many countries for work on a wide range of species. Work with those species has given me the opportunity to share stories, mainly using my own experiences. I enjoy weaving African and other folktales into these accounts and I try to move seamlessly from one to the other, often using the cue line “A long time ago, when animals all talked the same language”. Many stories can be directly related to modern-day events and make fine examples of a different world view. Some are just plain fun.

It is not everyone that has had the great good fortune to be able to share accounts of having soldier ants up their shorts, pregnancy checking a lion, giving an enema to a rhino, bottle feeding a very young elephant or seeking medical advice from a shaman from the Tsaatan reindeer herding culture in the mountains of Mongolia. Many audiences specifically ask me to share the stories with pictures from my collection of something like 20,000 images. This storytelling technique was used in the Middle Ages in Europe, where it was known as Cantastoria and in the Orient where itinerant Kamishibai storytellers used picture boards to accompany their events.

I have been a member of the Storytellers of Canada : Conteurs du Canada for a few years and one of the highlights of the summer season is to attend their annual convention. Spellbinding stories take up the three days, and one will hear anything from traditional folk tales, to ghost stories and personal accounts and much more.storyteller2