Endless Stories – May 2020

Endless stories are perfect for any occasion: long car trips, waiting in line at the grocery store or the doctors office, standing in line at the passport office, and best of all, at bedtime!

What is an Endless Story? It’s a story that has no end.  Often, at the end of an endless story, we find ourselves right back at the beginning of the story. So we tell it again. And again we find ourselves right back at the beginning of the story and we tell it again. The result of this repetition might be laughter, frustration, impatience, or even a calming and lulling effect, resulting from the rhythm of the words.

An endless story can be a short rhyme, like the traditional:

Pete and Repeat went fishing.

Pete fell in. Who was left?


Pete and Repeat went fishing. etc.


It was a dark and stormy night. The captain said to the mate, “Tell us a story.” And the first mate began, “It was a dark and stormy night.”


Once there was a girl who asked her father,

“What’s a silly question?”

And her father replied:

“Once there was a girl who asked her father,

‘What’s a silly question?’

And her father replied:


My favourite kind of Endless Story is one that is also a Finger Play.  One of my favorites can be found in This Little Puffin, edited by Elizabeth Matterson.  Not only is it a wonderful finger play story, but it is also endless!

Long ago I took a workshop from American author and storyteller Lynn Noel at The Toronto Storytelling Festival. She said, “The body remembers what the head forgets.”

We have found this to be true.  Adding a patterned and repeated physical component to a story helps it stick! After playing Tom Thumb a few times, you will probably find it stuck in your head, ready to use at the drop of a hat.

The hours of isolation we are all experiencing this spring, everywhere around our world, have offered us all an opportunity to discover, especially those who are home with children.  That is, when we can muster up the energy.

Here is a little story I wrote recently: it’s endless and a rebus.  I hope you enjoy it and I hope you will make up some new stories together with your family during the pandemic.