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The aunt is a nameless character that Suki does not offer a description of. She accompanies her two nieces and a nephew on a train ride. She is not very good with the children. All the kids are fairly small and their aunt is unable to capture their interest. She she has troubles answering their questions regarding their surroundings, so she decides to tell them a conventional moral story that fails to entertain them. When a unknown man points out the flaws of her story, she challenges him to tell a better one. The children do indeed enjoy the man's story more, however the aunt finds it improper. The aunt is a rather flat character, posing as a conventional authority figure.
Cyril is one of the three children that are being accompanied by their aunt in the carriage. Except the main character of the story within the story, he is the only character in The Storyteller that actually has a name. Cyril is the one, who keeps annoying his aunt with questions that she finds hard to answer, which then lead her to tell the boring story.
The Small Girl
The bigger of the small girls listens to the aunt's story and challenges its ending. Afterwards she declares it was the stupidest story she as ever heard.
The Smaller Girl
At the beginning of the story the smaller of the small girls starts to recite 'On The Road to Mandalay', more precisely the fist line for the poem. When the aunt starts telling her story the smaller girl listens for a while, but she quickly loses her interest and starts to recite again. On contrary, when the bachelor is telling his story, the smaller girl listens attentively and at the end declares, that even though the beginning was bad (because of its similarity to the aunts story), the ending was beautiful.
The bachelor is a man who just happens to be in the same carriage as the rest of the characters. He observes the aunt and the children and he cannot escape their conversation. After the aunt finishes telling the children her story with no success at keeping them quiet, he points out her story's flaws. As a result of that, he is challenged to tell a better story. The bachelor's story starts of similarly as the story of the aunt, however it develops into less moralistic and more realistic tale. The story does not finish with happy-ending as in the case of the aunt, and it shows that being good is not always rewarded. The children find this story more entertaining and they also appreciate its realness.
Bertha is a character of the story within the story, told by the bachelor. She is a 'horribly good girl' who received three medals for her goodness. When the Prince of the town hears of Bertha's excellent behavior he decides to reward her. He allows her to take a walk in his gardens, where normally no children are permitted. Bertha enjoys her reward until the point when a wolf comes into the park to fetch himself some dinner. Bertha hides behind a myrtle bush and almost manages to escape, however, the clicking of her medals against each other gives her away and the wolf eats her at once. Bertha is a stereotypical good girl, but she is the only character that undergoes certain development throughout the story. When she is hiding behind the bushes she thinks to herself that hadn't she been so good, she have been safe in the city.
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The bachelor's story was like a breath of fresh air to the children. For once they felt a bit of realism that was dangerous yet enticing. I think the story took the regular themes and morals to a different place. The girls "goodness" and vanity...
The situation would be an aunt traveling with her nieces and nephew and trying to entertain them as well. The children are already bored, a boredom that only increases as the storytelling goes on. In this work, Saki is making fun of stories that...