Storytelling is an ancient form of entertainment that has influenced almost all other forms. It may be delivered directly to a small listening audience or it may be a component of any piece that relies on a narrative, such as film, drama, ballet, and opera. Stories remain a common way of entertaining a group that is on a journey. Chaucer's stories in his literary work The Canterbury Tales are an example of how stories were used to pass the time and entertain an audience of travellers or pilgrims. Even though journeys can now be completed much faster, stories are still told to passengers en route in cars and aeroplanes either orally or delivered by some form of technology. The power of stories to entertain is evident in one of the most famous onesЧScheherazadeЧa story in the Persian professional storytelling tradition, of a woman who saves her own life by telling stories. The connections between the different types of entertainment are shown by the way that stories like this inspire a retelling in another medium, such as music or games. For example, composers Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Maurice Ravel and Karol Szymanowski have all been inspired by the Scheherazade story and turned it into an orchestral work. The Magic of Scheherazade is an innovative video game based on the tale. Stories may be told wordlessly, in music, dance or puppetry for example, such as in the Javanese tradition of wayang, in which the performance is accompanied by a gamelan orchestra or the similarly traditional Punch and Judy show. Epic poems, such as Homer's Odyssey and Iliad tell such gripping stories that they have inspired countless other stories in all forms of entertainment. Collec
ions of stories, such as Grimms' Fairy Tales, have been similarly influential. This collection of folk stories was originally published in the early 19th century, became iconic and had significant influence in modern pop culture which subsequently used its themes, images, symbols and structural elements to create new forms of entertainment. Some of the most powerful and long-lasting stories are the foundation stories, also called origin or creation myths such as the Dreamtime myths of the Australian aborigines, the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, or the Hawaiian stories of the origin of the world. These too are developed into books, films, music and games in a way that increases their longevity and enhances their entertainment value. The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer at the end of the 14th century. The tales (mostly written in verse although some are in prose) are presented as part of a story-telling contest by a group of pilgrims as they travel together on a journey from Southwark to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. The prize for this contest is a free meal at the Tabard Inn at Southwark on their return. After a long list of works written earlier in his career, including Troilus and Criseyde, House of Fame, and Parliament of Fowls, the Canterbury Tales was Chaucer's magnum opus. He uses the tales and the descriptions of its characters to paint an ironic and critical portrait of English society at the time, and particularly of the Church. Structurally, the collection resembles The Decameron, which Chaucer may have read during his first diplomatic mission to Italy in 1372.