Once upon a time there was monkey who kidnapped the princess and married her, was my favorite story.
And though I found it absurd that a monkey could actually kidnap a princess and marry her (and then force her to sell watermelons in the city) I found it amusing as well.
I grew up on stories, funny, brave, absurd, scary. Some made me laugh, some scared the hell out of me, some made my eyes moist but most of them stayed with me.
Everyone in the family was ready with a story. We were a lot of cousins across all age groups and we all huddled together whenever we met up. We all had stories to swap. We would be awake all night sneaking in food and candies and raiding the kitchen in the middle of the night for more. That it was a challenge to not get caught is another story in itself.
But most of all I remember the stories my grandma told me while tucking me in. They had no books in her time and most of the stories were either hear-me-downs or spun on the moment.
I would look forward to bed time because I could enter with my grandma a wonderful world of myriad colors full of alluring music and psychedelic characters. I could choose to be who I wanted in that world.
Today we have an explosion of books, cds, dvds and the internet is full of stories but somehow I feel the stories you hear growing up are the ones that give rise to the creative theories you give birth to, the world you build for yourself, the garden of escape where the birds sing all year round.
The stories they shape your fear, define your fortresses, color your fantasies, outline your personality.
The stories never die they live on from generation to generation and the princess was rescued by the guard who went to buy a watermelon and the monkey was thrown into dungeons and everyone lived happily ever after.