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SOS: Searching Out Stories/Info about Teamwork
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers,
Teachers and Librarians

SOS: Searching Out Stories and Information about Teamwork
Advice, Comments and References from Storytellers, Teachers and Librarians
(excerpts from Storytell posts plus original research)

Book titles, movie titles and online links are in blue and underlined. Click on them to get more information.
Story and song titles are in quotation marks.
To retell any stories, obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material is not in the public domain.
Posts are added chronologically as they are received by Story Lovers World.

1) How about The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship: A Russian Tale? That's a great team!!

2) The first story that comes to mind with teamwork is the Russia folk tale "The Turnip," Pleasant de Spain's telling from Twenty-Two Splendid Tales to Tell From Around the World, Vol. 2 (American Storytelling), it's also in several other retold by several others as "The Enormous Turnip," or "The Great Big Enormous Turnip," also variations with "The Carrot" and "The Pumpkin." Unbeknownst to the harvester it (turnip or carrot) grows and grows and grows until it's huge but grandfather can't pull it up, gets help from grandmother, additional help from mother, then sister, brother, dog, cat, mouse and beetle. (Since I don't include father, I have him working in town, For fourth graders you could work on characterizations for a group telling/acting out the story, The beetle makes the difference, and the turnip comes up, grandpa fell on grandma, etc., I have the beetle run out of the way just in time to avoid being a squished bug. Then they all carry it int o the kitchen and plop into a pot of boiling water. Cooperation, and working together (team work), the smallest contribution (beetle) makes the difference, etc.

3) There is an Anansi story that I have never told, but it's very popular—about his six sons and the gifts each has and uses to get Anansi away from the fish. In one version they end up arguing about who did the most imp. job so they can get the gift of light. But, I've heard others where Anansi is just happy that they all cooperated in bringing him home.

How about "Gaura Devi Saves the Trees." It's in Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories, Storytelling, and Activities for Peace, Justice and the Environment. One little girl sees men about to cut down the trees above her village in the mountains in India.This would be devastating to the village lasting after the snow melts. She runs to get the people and only women and children are left. They run up and hug the trees and the woodsmen can't cut the women and children down so they leave. See how one person in a community makes a difference. All ages love this story and I love telling it.

5) Query

I'm gathering stories for a Fortune 500 corporate presentation on "team building." (sales executive audience). I've been researching and working on this for several weeks and have found many stories. Now I would like to tap into the lists vast and diverse bank of knowledge and ask (y'all) for some recomendations.
Anyone have any story ideas that just "rise" to the top of the barrel??
Anyone have any participation story ideas that might work??

** points to consider **
How people can bring uniqueness to a team
How people must look beyond their own expertise and utilize specialized resources available to them
How a team effort is more effective
David Joe M. 4/19/06


a) That got me started thinking - How about all those stories with the various companions with special talents? The version I tell is Vera Aardema's which is set in Mexico and is called "The Riddle of the Drum." Prince Tuzan is going to the palace at Tizapan to guess what the head of the drum is made from and marry the princess Fruela. On the way he meets and invites to go with him Corin-Coran, the Runner; Tirin-Tiran, the Archer, Oyin-Oyan, the Listener, Soplin-Soplan, the Blower and Comin-Coman, the Eater. Each has his part to play in the various tasks set by the King.

I've heard an Irish version called "The Small Men of Deeds" and I believe Laura Simms published another version from the Caucasus titled "The Ears of the Eyes in the Heart" in the latest issue of Parabola magazine.
Judy S. 4/19/06

b) There is a story out there called "A Bundle of Sticks." I've seen various versions, but have used one from a very old children's picture book that was sitting uncirculated because it didn't have pretty illustrations.

Three brothers were to create the finest woven rug for a princess
They each had a special talent they thought made the difference--one had the touch with dyes, another with pattern design, another with the actual weaving
Of course, each wants the prize for self, so tries to work alone
Wise father just watches their frustration
Finally has them gather up sticks, which they do
Has each break one singly, which of course is easy
Then has them bundle the sticks together, try again
Brothers work together, make glorious rug, gain the favor of princess and prize money

The picture book version was set in the middle east, perhaps Turkey. I'm sure Ms. Precious will show up shortly with many specific links and references, but this is a start!
Gwyn C. 4/19/06

c) "The Fool and the Flying Ship" comes forward -- as does "The Three Aunts," who get the girl out of spinning and other chores.
Mary G. 4/19/05

d) Well, maybe not the barrel but how about the jug? The story of "Ten Jugs of Wine" from Sweet and Sour: Tales from China might work.

Here is one, very short version:
Story Arts | Stories in a Nutshell | "Ten Jugs of Wine"

It is certainly about responsibility to one's community. Also, the Philippine Folktale "The Parts of the House Argue," found in Wisdom Tales from Around the World (World Storytelling) by Heather Forest, might work as well. It speaks to everyone being part of the whole.

And to give you a sneak peek, I found this site while researching for my Stor E Telling column in the upcoming July/ Auguust issue Storytelling Magazine. It is chock full of resources, take a look. Although it is geared towards parents and teachers, I am sure you will find lots of useful information and stories to springboard off of for your upcoming venue:

Learning to Give
Be sure to bookmark this fabulous site! Lesson plans, complementary folktales, and parent resources to involve students in philanthropy and serving their communities.
Karen C. 4/19/06

Created 2003; last update 9/24/09

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