The Storyteller

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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.

For the Jim Henson series, see here.

Examples of The Storyteller include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • 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.

Fairy Tales

  • 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.



Live-Action TV

Oral Tradition, folklore, Myth and Legend

  • 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.


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.

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Theopholous Dumedd of Girl Genius.
  • Koark from Order of Tales. The eponymous Order is devoted to telling and preserving tales; Koark is the last of their kind.
  • Fuschia in Sinfest. When she leaves Hell, the damned notice that storytime is come and no story has.

Western Animation

  • 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. When she and a bunch of non-powered children are trapped in a cave, she cheers them up via telling them stories where she cast herself as an Action Girl, Gambit and Wolverine were her teammates, Professor Xavier was The Mentor...

Real Life

  • 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.