From: “Richard Marsh”
Date: Sun, 3 Sep 2017 22:34:52 +0100
Heather Forest’s Storytelling in the Classroom has a useful page of very short tales for novice tellers to practise on, though they may be too short for the intended use.
Many of the Panchatantra and tricking the devil tales should be about the right length.
Here’s one from my A World of Tricksters.
Spain, Ecuador, Portugal, Middle East
Marta sent her husband, Martín, to the market to buy eggs. He found that he had only enough money for five. When he arrived home he said:
“Marta, boil these eggs – three for me and two for you.”
“Ah, no,” she said. “I get three and you get two.”
“But I’m the one who went to the market and brought them home. I get three.”
“And I’m the one who is cooking them. I get three.”
The argument continued while the eggs boiled. Finally, Martín said, “If I don’t get three, I’ll leave.”
“Go ahead and leave. If I don’t get three, I’ll die.”
“Go ahead and die, then.”
Marta fell to the floor and lay as if dead.
Martín knew that she was spoofing.
“Good. Now I get all five.”
“Three for me,” Marta whispered.
“Well, I’ll just have to make a coffin and tell our neighbours that you’re dead and ask them to help me bury you.”
He built a coffin and placed Marta in it, and then went to announce her death to the neighbours. Four of them carried the coffin to the cemetery. Martín walked alongside, wailing and sobbing, “My poor Marta. What will I do without her? If only she had agreed that I get three and she gets two.”
“Three for me,” came the voice from the coffin.
They arrived at the cemetery and lowered the coffin into the grave.
“This is your last chance,” Martín whispered to the coffin.
“Three for me,” she answered.
Martín started to nail the lid on the coffin. Marta suddenly leapt out of the grave, shouting, “All right. You can have three.”
The neighbours thought she was really dead, and they took to their heels in fright. Marta and Martín walked back home and sat down at the table with the five eggs on a plate between them. Marta took one and started to eat it.
“I have to admit you made a beautiful coffin for me.”
Martín started to eat his first egg.
“I have to admit you were a beautiful corpse.”
Marta ate her second egg.
“Weren’t the neighbours funny they way they were frightened?”
Martín ate his second egg.
“They’ll have a story to tell their grandchildren.”
Marta suddenly screamed and pointed behind Martín. When he turned to look, Marta grabbed the last egg and popped it into her mouth.
“And three for me,” she said triumphantly.