"How many of you have heard the story about the three billy goats?" Waller asked the crowd. Hands shot up. "Ahah, I see. Well, I don't know if you've heard it like this," he said with a mischievous grin.
"Once upon a time there were three billy goats who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was 'Gruff,'" he said while walking back and forth, pointing to the wide-eyed children. "On the way up was a bridge over a stream they had to cross; and under the bridge lived a great ugly troll, with eyes as big as saucers, and a nose as long as a poker …"
Waller told the story with an animated voice and dramatic gestures.
Afterwards he said, "I think part of it is that you can get lost in a story and bring the audience with you. Stories take you to other places and times. Everybody loves a good story."
Waller often finds that people associate book reading with storytelling. "This is not a book reading. Get outside the box," he said, adding that this personal style of storytelling is an ancient tradition that is slowly dwindling in our
"The purpose of Delta Weavers is to promote oral story telling in our community," said Marian Ferrante, a group founder. "The joy in it is when I present the story, then receive a positive response from an audience of all ages."
Ferrante energetically told a few stories, including one in which she used scissors to cut paper as a visual demonstration.
"We share a moment that is special. I am proud of Delta Weavers and how we offer positive family time," she said afterwards.
"I love it. When I taught, reading was such a wonderful thing to do with children," said storyteller Joyce Blakely, adding that the eye contact with an audience is powerful. "It is neat to tell a story with nothing between you and your audience."
Blakely told several stories with a charming, soft voice, much like the tone of voice a grandmother might use.
"This was good," said Dada Mitchell, 10, whose favorite story was "The Tailor," told by Ferrante. "This is really great and especially young children about the age of 3 would just love this."
For more than 20 years, the Delta Wordweavers have provided this annual event at Chichibu Park in early September. For more information about upcoming events, visit www.bayareastorytelling.org, e-mail Marian Ferrante at email@example.com or call