In traditional Acadian society, storytelling is an important part of social diversion. Acadians seem to possess a knack for telling all kinds of magnificent and imaginary stories and many storytellers are adept at keeping their audience on the edge of their seats for hours on end. Every wood camp and every village get-together has its story teller.
In addition to master story tellers who often perform in public, every family has its own tradition where stories are passed on to children by their parents and grand-parents. These persons then acquire the art of narration by observing those who master the art in public settings. Master storytellers develop their own style and may end up performing in public settings, while others will prefer to share their stories with loved ones without necessarily resorting to special effects such as dramatic or comedic style.
Today, the folklore archives of the Université de Moncton’s Centre d’études acadiennes in New Brunswick contain approximately 1,000 Acadian stories. Other major depositories are the folklore archives at Université Laval in Québec, the Canadian Centre for studies on traditional culture at the Canadian Museum of Civilizations in Ottawa, Ontario and the French Newfoundlanders Study Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland. In spite of the important tradition of storytelling in Acadie, only four compilations have been published to date.
The transmission of stories has been greatly affected by the development of electronic means of entertainment such as television. In Acadie, as elsewhere in the western world, stories are no longer part of a living tradition. Yet, while in some areas storytellers have all but disappeared, there are still many in Acadie. One of the main reasons for the survival of the art of storytelling is probably because of the importance of the forestry industry in Atlantic Canada.