Sean Buvala, Storyteller & Author

Articles, Blog, MoreThanSpeaking

Keep Moving Forward, Take Action: Wisdom of Folktales

Sean Buvala


Hey everybody, Sean Buvala from Small Tooth Dog Publishing or Sean Buvala from I’m not quite sure which hat I’m wearing tonight.

This evening I’m speaking to you who may be home in quarantine who may be thinking, “Oh man, it’s all over. I don’t know where I’m going I don’t know what I take, what’s going to happen next? Things are out of my control.”

I work with the people that I work with, whether it’s this elite level coaching stuff that I’m doing or it’s just one on one conversations with my fellow artists, entrepreneurs, fortune 500 people, whatever that thing happens to be. And I tell you those things not to say, “look at everybody I’ve talked to,” but rather to say that I understand who I’m talking to tonight, which is a lot of different people that may be looking at the world and saying, now what do I do? Now what? What happens?

And as a storyteller, I look at folktale fairy tales, those types of sacred tales of the world and I say, “What do these things teach us?” Because they are vessels to teach us. What do these stories teach us when things go bad and we think we are no longer in charge? I think of stories like the Cinderella stories, which are often thought of as, “Oh poor Cinderella, she’s helpless and I hope the little mice come to fix her.”


In reality, in these stories, Cinderella takes much more charge of what’s going on when she can’t go to the ball, when the sisters treat her bad, the mother treats her bad and they abandon her. Rather than sitting at home crying on a step, “Oh no, the world is bad, I have no future,” she goes out to the grave of her mother. There at the grave of her mother, there’s a tree growing out there and she looks at that tree and she says, “Shake and shiver a little tree silver and gold send down to me.”

Whenever she needs anything, a dress, shoes, whatever she needs she asks for these things. She takes a proactive stance. She goes and finds the source of what she needs and the source may feel really unusual.

“Shiver and shake little tree silver and gold send down to me.” That’s a story that sticks in my head. We take action and we go find the source that we need.

The Name of the Helper

Rumpelstiltskin’s stories are like this, the name of the helper stories, where in order for the princess to not lose her baby she has to guess the name of the helper. She guesses and she guesses and she guesses. She gets one more chance, but rather than risk one more chance with “I wonder what’s going to happen to me,” she gets some spies together and they go out into the world to find the little man. And one of them finds the little man dancing around a fire and he’s singing, “Oh, she’ll never guess my game! I’m Rumpelstiltskin, that’s my name.”

The spies report back to her so that when he comes back the next day, she can say, “Well, your name is Rumpelstiltskin.” And what she does in that moment, because she took charge and she did what she needed to do, she gets to keep her baby. She gets to keep her life as she knows it. She gets to stay where she’s supposed to be. She gets what she needs because she took the action to get it.

And how much of that (proactivity) is where we need to be right now in the midst of all of the stuff that’s happening in the world? None of this that I’m saying diminishes the amount of actual danger that’s out in the world. None of it diminishes the amount of sacrifice that’s being made out there in the world, especially by those people who are in the healthcare industry.

Nothing I’m saying diminishes them, but rather I’m saying to you, what is the focus of where we (you) go now? So whatever the work is that you’re doing,: you’re writing, you’re speaking, you’re telling stories, you’re running your own company. The stories of the world say take action, find the unusual place, the tree growing in the grave, “silver and gold send down to me.” Find those things and take action from that.

Moving Forward

So that’s my thoughts for the evening in my messy office and with my squeaky chair and my out of focus camera.

Shiver and shake little tree silver and gold send down to me.

What can you do to move forward this week, no matter where the world is going? What can you do to move forward this week? So those are my thoughts.

I’m Sean Buvala from the Small Tooth Dog Publishing Group. I’m Sean Buvala from Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. Okay, thanks. Talk to you later. Have a good week.

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