One of the oldest archetypes
; a character that is noted for his or her ability to tell tales, or at least their propensity to do so.
Sometimes the tales have a purpose in the main plot. At other times it is simply an interesting side excursion, perhaps to give the setting a feeling of depth.
Sometimes overlaps with Miles Gloriosus
and The Munchausen
. Could conceivably be made to overlap with Intrepid Reporter
. Possibly a reflection of Most Writers Are Writers
. Compare with The Bard
For the Jim Henson series, see here
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Anime and Manga
- Kitty Pryde in the classic X-Men issue "Kitty's Fairy Tale", made up a bedtime story for young Illyana Rasputin, casting herself as the heroine and other members of the X-Men as characters. Notably, Kitty cast Cyclops as a prince and Jean Grey as a princess cursed by the evil Phoenix, and gave the Scott and Jean in her story the Happy Ending their counterparts were denied.
- Lyssa Drak of the Sinestro Corps loves to tell stories of her fellow corpsmen, as she is the keeper of the Book of Parallax.
- DC had a number of these in their horror anthology comics, who would introduce and close out every story. Among them were Cain in House of Mystery, Abel in House of Secrets, Lucien the Librarian in Tales of Ghost Castle, and Death himself in Weird War Tales.
- Star Wars Tales had a story appropriately called "Storyteller". Far in the distant future, two young boys named Remoh and Otalp find the battered body of C-3PO. The droid entertains them with the tale of a hero named Luke Skywalker, who redeemed a darkened soul (Darth Vader) and freed the galaxy from the ultimate evil (Emperor Papatine). Raiders come, destroy C-3PO, and murder Otalp. Remoh finds Luke Skywalker's lightsaber inside C-3PO's remains. Greatly inspired by the droid's tale, Remoh vows to free his people from the tyrants who rule them, declaring, "There is hope."
- In The Black Thief and the Knight of the Glen, the thief saves the lives of his companions by claiming to have been in more danger than they were, and the knight gives him their lives, one by one, to get the stories. The last story recounts how he saved the life of a baby, and the knight's old nursemaid assures him that it's true and he was the baby.
- Conal Yellowclaw has the same plot, though he is the father of the men he's saving.
- Dilios, in 300, though according to the film's director Zack Snyder, he "knows how not to wreck a good story with truth."
- Ed Bloom, in Big Fish.
- Uncle Garth, in Secondhand Lions.
- Wendy, to a degree, in all adaptations of Peter Pan, but especially in the 2003 film.
- The Grandfather character in The Princess Bride.
- C-3PO, relating the heroes' story to the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, which actually justifies his presence in The Empire Strikes Back and Jedi's prologue: He had to witness the story to tell it later.
- In Tangled, Flynn off-handely mentions that he used to read to the younger children in the orphanage.
- Darby O'Gill in Darby O'Gill and the Little People.
- In Hercules (2014), Iolus' main role in the group is to spread tales of Hercules' great deeds, though he greatly exaggerates to make Hercules seem like an even bigger badass than he already is. For example, after Hercules defeated a gang of bandits who wear serpent masks, Iolus claimed he defeated a many-headed serpent called the Hydra.
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Religion and Mythology
- Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible, Jesus was known for illustrating religious points with parables.
- The Talmud has also has several examples.
- In Norse Mythology, Odin has charge over riddles and poetry and runes and the like.
- Anansi the Spider, who even challenged the gods (or Tiger, depending on the version you're reading) so that he would be considered King of All Stories.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Galliards perform this role for the Garou Nation. Through singing and storytelling, Galliards preserve legends from Garou history.
- Illyara, one of the six surviving Zmei (Wyrm dragons) collects stories of her siblings' achievements and shares them with anyone who asks.
- The opening number of the musical Once Upon a Mattress is sung by the Minstrel, who tells the story of the Princess and the Pea and explains the true story of the event to his audience.
- In the Back Story of Othello, this is how Othello won Desdemona.
Her father loved me, oft invited me,
Still questioned me the story of my life
From year to year, the battles, sieges, fortunes,
That I have passed.
I ran it through, even from my boyish days,
To th' very moment that he bade me tell it,
Wherein I spoke of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field,
Of hair-breadth ’scapes i' th' imminent deadly breach,
Of being taken by the insolent foe
And sold to slavery, of my redemption thence
And portance in my traveler’s history.
- Wendy in Peter Pan. The fact that she knows "lots of stories" is what makes Peter take her to Never Land in the first place, since the Lost Boys don't know any stories. In early drafts of the script, even the Indians listen in.
- From Disney Fairies: Spinner in the books and Lyria in the movies are Story-Teller talent fairies.
- Gerald from Hey Arnold! tells a lot of Urban Legends.
- Cherilee in the third generation of My Little Pony. The intro even spells it out for us: "I hope we hear a story from Cherilee!"
- This is Butch's entire shtick in Recess
- An episode of the X-Men animated series puts Jubilee in this role, recycling some elements from "Kitty's Fairy Tale". When she and a bunch of non-powered children are trapped in a cave, she cheers them up via telling them stories where she casts herself as an Action Girl, Gambit and Wolverine were her teammates, Professor Xavier was The Mentor, Magneto as the Evil Sorcerer, Cyclops as the Prince, Jean as the Princess...
- In The Brothers Grunt, the Poobah shares stories of the brothers' adventures and Grunt legends with the audience.
- Storytelling and oral tradition in general is historically extremely important in West African culture, to the point that one of the most iconic cultural characters from that area - Anansi - was known as the Lord of Stories. Griots or Djeli were professional traveling storytellers: revered figures in the community whose job was not only to collect stories, but to pass down all the history and culture of the places they visited.
- Scottish Clans will often have an official clan bard. In times passed this could be hereditary or perhaps a close relation of the chief. They would follow close behind the chief in battle to make sure the clan's glorious deeds were recorded. The clan's inglorious deeds were of course treated differently.