Chapter 1. Storytelling

Our Iconic Image of Storytelling is a circle of young people around a campfire with an old man regaling them with a story. This image evokes warm and cozy feelings of pleasure and camaraderie. However, humankind did not actually develop storytelling as a leisure activity to while away the hours—storytelling evolved for serious purposes, as a necessary component in the development of human culture.

Imagine two kittens at play. One stalks the other, sneaking up from behind; he pounces and the two kittens roll over each other, batting and kicking. They’re so cute that we can’t help but laugh and envy the fun they must be having. It’s true that the kittens are having fun, but they’re not playing like this to pass the time ...

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