On the August 16th, I went to Mannington Hall in Norfolk for their fairy tales and fables day. As part of this event, I did some storytelling for families and also gave a talk about the history and context of fairy tales for adults. All in all, it was a wonderful day and I am so grateful I was given the opportunity to take part. Mannington is a beautiful, historic estate, with a little garden by a stream which was a perfect location to tell stories in the sun.
I told three of my favourite stories: Norwegian fairy tale ‘White Bear King Valemon,’ Giambattista Basile’s ‘Petrosinella,’ and a Baba Yaga story based on the one in Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales. All three were very well-received; I don’t think many people had heard them before, which made me glad I chose them. My favourite moment was after telling ‘White Bear King Valemon,’ when one family went rushing out to the front of the house to look under the bridge for the troll-hag!
Inside the hall, Lady Walpole and I put together a display of fairy tale books from both of our collections. They received a lot of attention, especially after I gave the talk. It was lovely to see people engaging with them and discovering new stories. One sweet woman also came up and told me that I had inspired her to tell more fairy tales to her grandchildren, and to be more creative with them. I smiled and thanked her, and inside I was melting with joy. Such a small thing, to tell a story. But such a big difference it can make to someone’s life. I made up my mind then and there to do more events like this.
In the room next to our display there was a fabulous children’s book stall run by Norfolk Children’s Book Centre, selling a selection of children’s and YA fantasy literature. Outside in the gardens, a hidden trail of adorable metal fairies made by the talented Baron Tremain at Wolterton Forge led visitors on a treasure hunt.
Local hospices came and set up stalls in the gardens, too. In total, over £300 was raised to support them. Fairy tales and helping charity – what a great combination! Thank you to Lord & Lady Walpole for organising and hosting this event, and to everyone who came and generously supported it.