I have been writing short stories all my life - sometimes in ballad or verse formats, but also as straight-forward prose. I like to see myself belonging to the old minstrel trade, passing on news, gossip, tales of heroes and heroines, etc. The good thing about short stories, from a teller, writer, listener or reader's pointo of view, is that they are short. Obviously. But their brevity doen't mean they need to lack content. A good story teller should be able to say much in a few words. And, if done well, there is beauty in such economy - as with a good joke well told.
Many of the stories in these collections were written to be read or sung aloud which, to my mind, is the best way for tales to be told. Long before the invention of visual symbols made on clay, stone, paper or papyrus, humans recounted their experiences verbally. Often, no doubt, accompanied by dramatic gestures and sounds. It is also certain these narratives were embellished as they passed on so that after a while fact and fiction became blurred. But ‘fact’ is not always the same as ‘truth’, for many a wise word is wrapped up in mythical garb to make it more entertaining or memorable. With this is mind, though I have indicated the non-fiction pieces, I hope readers will approach all these tasty tales with an open mind.