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An old storyteller tells European folk tales to his sarcastic dog.


3,535 ( 283)




1989   1988   1987  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
 The Storyteller (9 episodes, 1987-1988)
 Storyteller's Dog / ... (9 episodes, 1987-1988)
 Giant / ... (3 episodes, 1987-1988)
David Greenaway ...
 Badger / ... (3 episodes, 1988)
Robert Tygner ...
 Badger / ... (3 episodes, 1988)
Alistair Fullarton ...
 Death / ... (3 episodes, 1988)
 Badger / ... (3 episodes, 1988)
Diana Payan ...
 Miller's Wife / ... (2 episodes, 1988)
Robin Summers ...
 Jailer / ... (2 episodes, 1987-1988)
Michael Kilgarriff ...
 Lion / ... (2 episodes, 1987-1988)
Peter Marinker ...
 Devil / ... (2 episodes, 1988)


A variety of European folk tales are retold in nine new stories. A soldier captures Death in a magic sack. A fearless young man sets out to learn to shudder. A boy with a destiny that frightens a tyrant is sent on an impossible task that will see him wed the princess, or dead. A storyteller must spin tales to stay alive. A woman bears a hedgehog-child who grows up to live alone in a castle until he does a king a favor and gets the princess's hand in return. A princess must keep silent while she works to free her brothers from an evil spell. A princess runs away from wedding her father and disguises herself as an ugly forest creature. A young boy must overcome a heartless giant. A princess searches the earth for her stolen bridegroom. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

28 April 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jim Henson's The Storyteller  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(9 episodes) | (9 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The number "3" features in every episode of the series:
  • The Soldier and Death - The Soldier helps 3 beggars and is rewarded each time. He also captures 3 geese the first time he uses the magic sack and later has of a family of 3 (wife, son, and Soldier).

  • Fearnot - Fearnot comes from a family of 3 (father, brother and Fearnot) and was tricked by 3 bullies early in the story. It takes 3 encounters before he finally learns how to shudder (encountering the swamp creature, the half-demon in the castle, and the thought of losing his sweetheart).

  • The Luck Child - Lucky survives 3 attempts on his life by the wicked King (thrown over a cliff, sent to the castle with a letter instructing the queen to kill him, and being sent to the Griffin's lair).

  • A Story Short - The Storyteller loses to the Beggar 3 times while playing dice. He loses his money, his wife and his own self.

  • Hans My Hedgehog - The Princess, after marrying the Grovelhog, learns he sheds his quills each night and she has to keep it a secret for 3 nights in order to break the curse. When she fails and he runs away, she searches the world and wears out 3 pairs of iron shoes in the process.

  • The Three Ravens - After the Princess's 3 brothers are transformed into ravens, she has to keep silent for 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days to break the curse. She also gives birth to 3 sons after marrying the Prince, and speaks 3 minutes before noon (happening to call out 3 times) on the appointed day.

  • Sapsorrow - Youngest of 3 daughters, Sapsorrow commissions the making of 3 dresses to stall the arranged marriage with her father. She then wears those 3 dresses on 3 different nights to woo the Prince.

  • The Heartless Giant - Youngest of 3 princes, Leo tries to find the Heartless Giant that he released. On the way, he helps 3 animals (bird, fish and wolf) who later aid him. When Leo tries to find where the Giant's heart is hidden, he finds out on the third try.

  • The True Bride - Anja completes 3 tasks given to her by the troll (with the help of the Thought Lion). The Lion also gives her 3 walnuts with gifts hidden inside to barter with the Trollop.

See more »


The Storyteller: [opening lines] When people told themselves their past with stories, explained their present with stories, foretold the future with stories, the best place by the fire was kept for... The Storyteller.
See more »


Referenced in In Their Own Words: Jim Henson (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

The best
19 January 2001 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

This is the best television series for children (and adults) ever. John Hurt is a great actor, with many excellent performances over many years, but he was born to play the storyteller. The scripts for almost every episode are superb pieces of craftsmanship, and the productions run the gamut of the emotions, being alternately funny, sad, happy, exciting, and always hauntingly beautiful. It is hard to pick a best episode from so many excellent contenders, but "The Soldier and Death", with its timeless pathos, is unbeatable. It is a series to watch with your children, over and over again.

32 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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