In July 2016, Story Teller was mentioned in a beautiful way by journalist Ramona Aly in the Pause for Thought segment of Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show. Here’s the transcript of what Ramona said.
Lying there at the back of my wardrobe, in a corner dusted with cobwebs and secrets is the little case made with faded green fabric. Inside the case waiting to come to life is an ogre who yearns to be golden, a humble mango seller who becomes a haughty princess, and a flying four-poster bed. These are just a few of the wondrous stories from the Story Teller magazines, a series that for a while was all the rage back in the 80s.
My brother and I would wait for what seemed like an eternity but was in fact for only two weeks for this little pack of magic to be posted through our letterbox. Each magazine came with a cassette tape attached to the cover and to this day I remember the joy I felt on hearing the “Ding!” on the tape, telling us to turn the page. These stories filled my little head with wonder and my little heart with butterflies and even though I’ve not turned the pages or played the cassettes for nearly 30 years, they’ve always been a part of my life journey. They stirred my imagination and moved me through different worlds, even though physically I did not move an inch. Yet they took me beyond myself.
Faith does the same thing for me: it takes me beyond myself. It makes me think of greater things, of different worlds, of the beyondness of things. The Koran shines brightly with a variety of stories: stories of noble prophets, of people from ancient times. They’re stories that paint our human story, of courage in the face of fear, love that defies oppression and the faith that the storm will pass. Humans without stories are like birds without wings, like a river without water, like a tree without bark. When you take stories away, you strip away the very essence of what it means to be human.
Stories are my oxygen and it’s the Persian poet Hafiz who really got this back in the 14th century when he said, “Be kind to your sleeping heart, take it out into the vast field of light and let it breathe.” I breathe stories like I breathe my faith. It’s what keeps me going, what inspires me, what enriches my life. That is my story.