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Margaret Mary Martin loves sharing a tale or two with anyone willing to listen.
Margaret Mary Martin loves sharing a tale or two with anyone willing to listen. - Facebook

Hoping to preserve the art of storytelling


Margaret Mary Martin loves to spin a yarn.

The Lord’s Cove woman says the art of storytelling is “in her blood.” 

Margaret Mary Martin’s father, Richard Hennebury. - Photo contributed by Margaret Mary Martin
Margaret Mary Martin’s father, Richard Hennebury. - Photo contributed by Margaret Mary Martin

“I grew up with stories,” she said. “Rich Hennebury, my father, he was known as the storyteller for here (Lord’s Cove) they’d come to the house just to listen to Daddy tell stories.”

Martin recalled how for entertainment the family would often gather around the kitchen table to listen to her father tell stories.

“Whether or not they were truth, lies or whatever we don’t know," she said.

Hennebury's reputation as a storyteller grew beyond Lord's Cove.

“Daddy used to visit relatives in Lawn … the house was packed full just so they could listen to him.”

Martin recently started sharing the stories she heard from her father in a Facebook live post entitled “Tales from Lord’s Cove."

"It just started off as something to do, and a bit of fun,” she explained. “Most people like that touch of home, especially the people from away. People likes listening — I don’t know why.”

She started the post on Facebook as a way to share the history of the community with others.

Martin said growing up, storytelling was an essential part of the community.

“All these stories we grew up with we took for granted, but they’re the fabric of the community, they really are, “she said. “The stories are of the people who made this community, who brought life to it, and some of it is really funny, some of it’s very interesting.”

Martin has often shared stories from the community with tourists who have shown an interest in learning more about the people and history of the area.

“It brings stuff to life,” she said.

Martin—who to date has done four installments of stories—said there are still more tales to come.

“Bootlegging stories, haven’t even started on them.”

— Margaret Mary Martin

“There’s been a lot of interesting things happen in this little community, a lot,” she said. “Bootlegging stories, haven’t even started on them.”

Art of storytelling

“It’s a lost art form,” said Martin of storytelling. “The art of talking to people and carrying on a good conversation is gone, or it's going to be gone.

“People don’t talk to one another like they used to. People sit down across the table from one another and they’re on cell phones, it’s true.”

Importance of storytelling

Storyteller and author Dale Jarvis said storytelling is an important way of keeping culture and tradition alive.

“Stories let us peek into the past, while at the same time transmitting ideas into the future for the next generation,” Jarvis said in a message to The Southern Gazette. “They root us in our place and culture, yet also allow us to better understand people who are different.”

He added that it also sparks creativity, expands our horizons, improves a person’s vocabulary, and teaches listening skills.

“It is an ancient human skill, and one we need even more today in our rapidly changing modern world.”

Martin’s favorite story

Margaret Mary Martin shared her favorite story with The Southern Gazette, it came from when her father left to fight in the war:

“When Daddy left to go to war, a French man in Montreal all had made fun of him because (he) had wool one-piece long-johns and up there they had bought clothes,” she explained.

Martin noted that when the French man who had been making fun of her father and another Newfoundlander went to sleep, her father stole two pairs of the man’s store-bought underwear.

“He dyed it with the jam that he was after bringing with him from Gran, partridge berry and blueberry jam. So when he got up the next morning he had a nice set of red underwear that he said came from St. Pierre, and the other fella had a blue set, and all it was, was buddies (the Frenchman’s) own underwear that (Daddy) was after dying with the jam.”

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