The Host and the Storyteller.
Richard the storyteller was invited by a noble family. The distance was about a hundred miles from his village. When he reached the host’s house, his clothes were covered with dust from the journey. He refreshed himself, and changed clothes. The host gave him a room to relax and rest for the night. The next day, after a good night's sleep, he put on his silk gown and ceremonial robe. Then he savored some fruit brought to him by the servants. After that he closed the door to prepare himself quietly for the nightly performance. The storyteller knew the host well from his past visits. The host was so rich that every respected family wanted to be seen with him. His closest entourage had been informed for a few weeks about the arrival of the storyteller. His name was well known and he had a great reputation.
In the evening, the large living room was slowly, slowly filling up with dignitaries and friends from many places. Every one of the guests was patiently awaiting the host’s and his wife’s appearance. The hostess was still very weak after giving birth. Many friends had not seen the hosts for quite a while and were eager to see the wife after a long period of time. Everyone had come mainly to see and to be seen by the others. Once in a while the audience stood up to greet a well-known person and his wife, as they entered the house. Many knew the storyteller from his various performances. When a famous guest approached the door, they signaled the storyteller to enter first. He would enter through the large interior door.
The room was well decorated with flowers. This created a magnificent festive atmosphere. After a while, the lady of the house finally appeared and the sound of the applause produced a sense of solemnity. The storyteller welcomed the lady with a faint smile and as he tried to kiss her hand, as the custom was, the lady reacted immediately with a gesture and said:
"My dear Richard, I missed you and I missed your stories." Richard the storyteller smiled graciously and responded:
"My lady, it is an immense honor for me to be called again to your lovely and charming home and it will give me great pleasure to share my favorite story with you and your guests." The lady smiled for the first time since a few months. A breeze of life blew into the host’s soul. His face lit-up, the guests sensed this new air. The lady seemed to remember the time when she was young. The entourage praised her with applause:
"God bless this family!" The host greeted his entourage. Then he called Richard the storyteller to sit next to him, which was not usual in that time, but he wanted to give special attention to his guest, according to the custom. Richard chatted a while with him, then he let him go to his place. Richard’s small stage was made up of a white chair, which was draped with red silk. It was on the other side of the room, facing the host couple and the family and was ready for the storyteller.
The noise from the audience was suddenly cut short. The lady of the house made a sign to Richard to sit down. Then another signal! This time, with a blink of his eye. The splendid room was now entirely quiet. One could sense that the noise in the air came to a sudden halt. A complete silence took over. The guests waited for Richard to commence. The host’s face brightened up. He remembered Richard from the time when his old mother was still alive. Richard too recalled clearly the wedding of the couple when he was there for the last time and he remembered the charming old lady. Richard furtively glanced at the hostess. She was gracious and charming. Many nice couples were invited for this unique event. The guests’ eyes were directed towards the host and his lovely wife. She was well dressed and had a wonderful and elegant appearance. The storyteller began his story.