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Date: Tue, 8 Dec 1998 23:27:32 -0600 (CST)
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From: mrmacf@aol.com (Michael Macfarlane)
To: sinclair@zilker.net
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Subject: Call for Stories: "Chicken Soup for the Celtic Soul"
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Please forward this message to anybody who might be interested.

Call for Stories:
Do you have a story, anecdote or article about your heritage for the proposed book "Chicken Soup for the Celtic Soul"? We are excited and delighted to be collecting stories for another in this wonderful series by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. This will be a book of heartwarming, motivational, and inspiring stories in any way related to things past, present and future connected to the Celts or Celtic culture, e.g. Scots, Irish, Welsh, Cornish, Breton, Manx and their descendants throughout the world.

Chicken Soup stories are about 1250 words long, this works out to be 3 - 6 published book pages.

What a Chicken Soup Story IS

It is an inspirational, true story about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Chicken Soup stories are personal and are filled with vivid images. In some stories, the reader feels that he or she is actually "there" in the scene with the people involved. Chicken Soup stories have heart...but also something extra...that element that makes us all feel more helpful, more connected, more thankful, more passionate, and better about life in general. Chicken Soup stories often end with a "punch"...creating emotion rather than talking about it. The stories should leave the reader with one or more of the following: Goosebumps or butterflies, heartfelt tears, an "aaaaah" feeling, a good belly laugh, or a more exalted reason to feel alive.

If your story is one of the 101 chosen, you will be paid US$300.00 If it is used or not you will retain the rights.

With over 30 million "Chicken Soup" books in print, this is an excellent opportunity to get worldwide attention to the stories of the celts!

Walters International Speakers Bureau
attn: Michael MacFarlane
P.O. Box 398
Glendora, CA 91740 USA
Fax: 626-335-6127
Email: Michael@macfarlane.org

Please forward this message to anybody who might be interested in contributing to this great book.

Le gach deagh dhurachdan
Michael MacFarlane (www.macfarlane.org)
(with Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen proposed, "Chicken Soup for the Celtic Soul")

Evokes emotion and engenders empathy from the reader.

Teaches a lesson by showing us the situation, not telling us what happened and what the lesson is supposed to be.

Gives the reader a clear picture of the characters in the story through vivid details.

Is believable.

Ends with a bang, not a whimper. 

Examples of a good Stories One from  Chicken soup for the Soul the other from Chicken soup for the Celtic soul.


A store owner was tacking a sign above his door that read "Puppies For Sale." Signs like that have a way of attracting small children, and sure enough, a little boy appeared under the store owners sign. "How much are you going to sell the puppies for?" he asked.

The store owner replied, "Anywhere from $30 to $50."

The little boy reached in his pocket and puIIed out some change. I have $2.37," he said. "Can I please look at them?"

The store owner smiled and whistled and out of the kennel came Lady, who ran down the aisle of his store followed by five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately the little boy singled out the lagging limping puppy and said, Whatís wrong with that little dog?"

The store owner explained that the veterinarian had examined the little puppy and had discovered it didn't have a hip socket. It would always Iimp. It wouId always be lame. The little boy became excited. "That is the little puppy that I want to buy."

The store owner said, "No, you donít want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, Itíll just give him to you." 

The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner's eyes, pointing his finger, and said, I don't want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and Iíll pay full price. In fact, Ill give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for."

The store owner countered, "You reaIly don't want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies."

To this, the little boy reached down and roIled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled lett leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and softly replied, 'WelI, I don't run so well myseIf, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!"

Example of a good Celtic Soul Story:

The Story Without End

The little boy stayed in his seat.  The stories were over,  the music had ceased. Audience  members came forward to ask questions or comment on my stories as they always do.  Except for the boy.  

I am a ďCeltic seanchai,Ē a traditional storyteller.  I often tell stories to large crowds composed of every age, race and religion.  I am delighted when people approach after the performance, but never more so than when children come forward.
I  find that children are sometimes afraid to approach me  in a crowd of so many adults with so much to say, I often smile, or wave, or crook my finger.  The boy responded to none of those.
Stories hold a special magic for children.  I have seen whole gymnasiums of middle-schoolers grow silent, lean forward, stare in open-mouthed astonishment when a story captivates their attention.  Because I am also a teacher with more than twenty years of experience, and because I taught middle school forseveral years, I know that anything which captures the high hormonal attention of a middle-schooler is close to miraculous.
Middle-school looked to be about the right age for the boy.  He was perhaps 11 or 12 years old, a little chubby, with light brown hair, cut in one of those shave bottom /bowl top haircuts.  He wore a faded white t-shirt and jeans.  He never left his chair during all the post-performance chatter, but watched the proceedings with great solemnity.

When all the adults had finished, I looked up again.  He was gone.Feeling slightly disappointed, I gathered my cloak and  baudran and made my way toward the door. He stepped in front of me at the back of the auditorium, clearing  his throat.
"There's something I need to say," he began.
"Yes."  I had known that, after all.
"Your stories are good."
"Thank you," I answered, "but they are not my stories.  I only carry them.They are very old."

He cleared his throat again.

"Well, then, there's one that I need to know if it would be all right if I tell . See, my brother, he's only five.  He's sick.  At home.  He couldn't come tonight.  But I thought if I could tell him one of the stories he might feel better.  He's only five, so I'd have to simple it down a little, but I could tell him more and more as he got older.  Would that be all right?"
Moved by the sudden outpouring, I nodded at his obvious need.
"Which story would you like to tell?" I asked.
"The one in the blue stone."

I carry a small deerskin pouch filled with stones when I tell stories; the bag is a most sacred gift from a beloved sister storyteller of Shoshone, Huron, Irish heritage.  Sometimes when there are children in the audience, I like to spill the stones into a small square of cloth and let a child in the audience "choose" a story.  The blue stone had contained the story of Finn MacCool  (proper Irish spelling Fionn Mac Cumhail), warrior of ancient Ireland, who studied with old Finegas the wizard. 

Now Finegas had been waiting all his life to catch the salmon of knowledge.  At last he had done so, when along came Finn.  By accident, Finn tasted, just once, of the salmon.  But in that single taste was all the knowledge of the world.  Disappointed that Finn had tasted the fish first, the old wizard nonetheless realized that his role was clear; he was to become Finn's teacher, a most sacred calling   (though this storyteller/teacher may have some prejudice in that area).

Before this night, I had never given away a storytelling stone.  But the face of the boy was so avid, the need to tell the story to his brother so strong, I spilled the pouch into my hand and selected the blue stone.  I returned the other stones to the pouch then lifted his chubby palm upward.  I placed the stone in his hand;  it shimmered in the light, iridescent blue and green,replete with possibilities.
The boy regarded it with intense solemnity.

I realized that what was passing between us was sacramental.  

Somehow I think the boy already knew that.
I placed my hand against his cheek.
"I give you the gift of the story," I said.

"I promise to tell it right," he said.  He sighed with what seemed like relief, smiled for the first time, closed his hand around the stone, walked away.
I walked outside into the dark night.  I recognized the gift the boy had given me so suddenly and completely that I leaned against the wall to ncontemplate it.  
Somewhere, a hundred years from now,  a storyteller  will take out a little pouch. From it, he or she will shake an iridescent   blue stone. A circle of children will gaze at the holder's palm.

"We don't know who it came from," the teller will begin. "It was given to your great-great-great grandfather by a storyteller, one of the old ones long gone.  But there is a story hidden inside the stone, a story of magic and of learning and of knowing the secrets in the world.  We will tell it to you now, just as it was told to us.Ē  

"Fado, fado; long ago or longer...."
Tell on, young master storyteller.  Tell on. 
This old wizard thanks you for sharing in the feast.

By: Julienne Osborne-McKnight


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