31 May 2014


A week ago most of the family gathered to celebrate a birthday. Between the end of supper and the serving of cake, Danny, whose birthday it was, got the notion to help entertain the youngsters by calling "Dial-a-story," a service of our public library.

You dial the number, and a recorded voice narrates a short story, usually a fable or quick fairy tale. We used to call up quite often as kids. Long before the days of speaker phones, we would pass around the receiver, then anchored to the wall, and take turns listening. Each week held a new story. All these years later, the Natrona County Public Library still provides the service, even still has the same number.

Anyhow, last week's story was "The Wishing Ring," a folk tale about a poor farm couple who come to possess a ring that could grant them one wish. Again and again deciding to save their wish for when they might need it even more, the couple eventually discover the value of working hard to achieve their goals. A quaint tale with a quirky ending. The kids enjoyed it, and it gave all us adults a chuckle. Danny certainly enjoyed it, laughing hardest of all. Then Danny--who, unbeknownst to me, has retained the habit, these many years, of calling the library to hear the weekly tales--proceeded to tell us her favourite tale of all: "Teeny-Tiny."

Danny had real trouble not laughing as she told the story, but she recounted each part, kept the repetition, and performed the voices perfectly, even though she had not heard it in ages. Again and again, she said she wished "Dial-a-story" would play it again some day.

My wonderful, thoughtful wife then proceeded to look it up on the web and found an audio version, care of the Weber County Library System in Utah. We all listened, Danny most earnest of all.

So, Danny happened to be granted a wish--however teeny-tiny--for her birthday.

Find out if your local library participates in "Dial-a-story." Call it up. Listen with family or friends. Share with a child. Support the service and help keep it going for years to come.

Just remember to "please, hang up  the phone."

Link to "Teeny-Tiny" and other spooky tales collected as "A Corpse Claims Its Property":

Link to "Google Books" giving a look at pages from original collections:
English Fairy Tales
Popular Rhymes & Nursery Tales

Link to "Teeny-Tiny" classic audio version from "Dial-a-story":
Teeny-Tiny - Audio - (from the Weber County Library System)

1 comment:

  1. It's amazing that dial a story brought back such wonderful memories for you and your sister. I always enjoyed the program as a child. It's also amazing that such a teeny tiny story made her so happy, and that she could recite word for word after 30+ years. Long live dial a story. May it not meet it's death at the hands of more advanced technology.