I can haz storiez?
February 16, 2011 6:25 AM   Subscribe

What are the best stories you know? Any kind of stories, written or unwritten. (Examples: the story of the founding of Australia, as written in the book The Fatal Shore; Orpheus and Euridice; Matty Groves (the folk song); [interesting stories here]).

I got really into/excited by the Anais Mitchell album Hades Town, written on the story of Orpheus and Euridice, and I was thinking about trying to do something similar. But then I was trying to think of some particularly interesting stories.

Regardless of music projects, I'd be interested in hearing your favorite stories. They could be short or monumental. Please do not recount the entire story here, but a short synopsis and an idea where to get more info would be great.

Here's an example: The story of Cape Breton music as told by Cape Bretoners (an area in Nova Scotia) is that at the height of Scottish violin/fiddle music as played by highland Scots, England evicted thousands of catholic Scots, many of whom landed, with their fiddles or memories of the music in Cape Breton, where they continued to play the music in the style they had developed in Scotland. In the meantime, in Scotland, the music became much more classical and less daring. The two cultures were separated for several hundred years, and when, in the 60s musicians began to visit each other again, it was the Scottish fiddle players who came to Cape Breton to relearn how to play music in the old style.

Now that was how it was told to me, not interested in discussing its historical veracity, to me it's just an interesting story.

Anyway...share away if you would. Books/songs/myths etc all welcome.
posted by sully75 to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Elma Turl (A twofer here)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:31 AM on February 16, 2011

A young man was quarreling bitterly with his father. He grabbed his father, dragged him out of the house, and into the orchard outside - quarreling all the while. Finally the old man said, "Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree."

I told that story to my father in the years before he died. He thought it a wise tale.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:43 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not sure if this is the kind of thing you're looking for, but the brave founding of the Principality of Sealand by Prince Paddy Roy Bates, is one of my favorites stories of indomitable courage, and madness.
posted by raztaj at 8:19 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

not sure where i heard this--or who wrote the original story:

a man is walking the streets of jersuleum. he looks up and is surprised to see death looking at him. he's even more alarmed because death is surprised to see him.

so he gets a horse and rides all day and night to demascus, and arrives there the next morning--an impossible journey. the first person he sees is death, waiting to take him.

"but i saw you in jersuleum yesterday--that was where you were to take me!" the man cried.

"that's why i was so surprised." death responded. "i knew i was going to take you here today."
posted by lester at 10:10 AM on February 16, 2011

Sealand's history always struck me as a good (true) story.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:22 AM on February 16, 2011

The fisher king, as told in the movie of the same name. (The story as told in the movie isn't all that close to the versions of legend. I prefer the version told in the movie.)

Joshua Norton, the first and only Emperor of the United States. A somewhat fictionalized version can be found in Neil Gaiman's Sandman #31, "Three Septembers and a January," which appears in the "Fables and Reflections" collection.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:34 AM on February 16, 2011

Earnest Shakelton - He 'failed' to get to the South Pole but the lengths he went through to rescue his men and keep them safe boggle my mind.

Also, this, Amos and Boris by William Steig. In fact, almost anything by William Steig.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

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