Bag of Jewels by Sarah Percival

The title of this CD could not be more apt – it truly is a little gem! Sarah Perceval has carefully selected nine traditional tales from countries such as Africa and Korea to illustrate nine virtuous qualities

The title of this CD could not be more apt – it truly is a little gem! Sarah Perceval has carefully selected nine traditional tales from countries such as Africa and Korea to illustrate nine virtuous qualities: “to discover the ‘gems within’,” as she puts it. Sarah specialises in stories of faith and sacred matters, and these examples are certainly a reflection on the work she does as a storyteller.

Each story is told simply and fluently, and she has carefully crafted each telling to celebrate a particular virtue. In the Portuguese “Stone Soup”, for example, an old man gives a stone to a young boy and, in this simple act, there is an exchange of wisdom and knowledge between the generations. This story also illustrates the virtue of communities working together in times of hardship. Sarah tells the tale very clearly, making the message all the more powerful .

As well as being enjoyable, the diverse origins of these stories makes them representative of the universal qualities of humankind. Some of my favourites were “The Bag Of Jewels”, “This, Too, Shall Pass” and “The Theft of Smell”. Each story ended with wonderfully played extracts of viola music, composed and played by Carolyn Sparey-Fox. I felt this was very apt and gave the CD a sense of peace and well-being.

This CD will appeal to families, schools and children up to the age of 12. But even an adult listener such as myself will enjoy it, so I would certainly recommend this to anyone looking for stories of wisdom.
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