Page last updated at 06:57 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Storyteller takes tales on tour

By Wena Alun Owen
BBC news

The central building on the site is a round-house

If you did not know it was there you would never find it.

Cae Mabon is at the end of a very, very long winding track at Fachwen, above Llyn Padarn, at the foot of Snowdon.

It is made up of a cluster of 'eco-friendly' structures with a gushing stream drowning out any modern-day noise, and is the home and inspiration of storyteller Eric Maddern.

He is about to leave this green oasis to take his 'What the bees know' show out on the road on a tour around Wales.

Mr Maddern will be walking, cycling and horse-riding his way around.

Bee-keeper Mr Maddern sees the demise of the creatures as a barometer of what humans are doing to the planet.

"Bees are thought by some to be a divine gift, yet now they are endangered, leaving hives on a massive scale," he said.

"It is not a simple question of why it's happening, a virus, pesticides... it is a metaphor for what we're doing to the planet," he added.

Cae Mabon has been developed as an 'eco-retreat' by Mr Maddern who bought the property 20 years ago.

Story-telling

It is used by schools, groups, and individuals who hire it for various events and workshops.

Eric Maddern

An oral story still has the greatest power to engage, although some people still call it the poor man's cinema

Eric Maddern

Whatever the reason for the visit, "people go away feeling better".

The tour around Wales will start off on Wednesday with a walk to Croesor near Beddgelert, and the idea is that the stories told each night will develop as the tour goes on.

Mr Maddern hopes that people who come to listen to him will be "inspired and moved to think about their lives in this consumer-driven society".

"That people will realise that friendship and being creative is more important."

Despite the range of hi-tech 'story' opportunities available in modern life Mr Maddern believes "nothing beats the spoken word".

"An oral story still has the greatest power to engage, although some people still call it the poor man's cinema."

While on tour he will visit village halls, theatres and cafes.

Admitting he is not as fit as he could be before he sets off, physical tiredness, and possibly the weather might not be the only hazards he faces.

In a twist worthy of inclusion in one of his own stories, part of the walk takes him up Cadair Idris, near Dolgellau, where legend has it that anyone who stays overnight is found in the morning either "dead, mad or a poet".

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