The episode opens with the arrival of the Paku leader - called the Tetrach - to participate in negotiations concerning a land dispute which Sisko is to mediate. He receives his first surprise when the Tetrach, Varris Sul, turns out to be a teenage girl. Meanwhile, O'Brien is trying unsuccessfully to get out of a medical mission to Bajor in order to avoid spending time with Doctor Bashir. We then follow the two separate story lines.
On the flight to Bajor, Bashir annoys O'Brien by asking him whether he annoys him and trying to buddy up with him. They arrive to find an apparently serene village, though the locals assure them that the place is in extreme jeopardy because a single inhabitant is sick. The old man is the villages Serrah - Storyteller. The Serrah is the only line of defence against the Dalrock, a creature which attacks the village on five consecutive nights each year.
Back on the station, things don't start well. An old treaty indicated that the border of Paku land was set by the course of a river. Unfortunately the Cardassians diverted the river by some twenty kilometres - the Paku claim that the border has moved with it, the other claims that the original path still marks the boundary. Quark disrupts the proceedings by arriving with a tray of drinks and insulting Varris. As she storms out, Nog spots her and is smitten. He and Jake visit the girl and try and get to know her by taking her to see the wormhole open.
At the village, the Serrah manages to pull himself out of bed to face the Dalrock, which doesn't register on O'Brein's tricorder. The Serrah defends the village by calling to the rest of the inhabitants, telling them that they have the strength to fight it off - which seems to produce an energy beam from the villagers to drive the creature away. Unfortunately the Serrah collapses halfway through the attack and the Dalrock begins to rain energy bolts down on the village. Under the Serrah's direction O'Brien rallies the villagers and they drive the creature away. The Serrah dies just as the Dalrock vanishes, and the locals proclaim O'Brien as the new Storyteller.
On the station, negotiations continue to go badly. Sisko attempts to convince Varris to give up her claim to the extra land but she remains intractable, saying that she is ready to die for it. Both Jake and Nog continue to chase Varris, unaware of who she is. When she describes her plight to Nog - in very general terms - he tells her to look upon it as an opportunity to get something from the other side. Later Nog swipes a control rod from Quark, and talks the others into using it to steal Odo's bucket from security. But the sneaky Ferengi secretly fills it with oatmeal and throws it all over Jake, who is horrified at the prospect of being covered with what he thinks is a sleeping Odo. Unfortunately, Odo catches them in the act. Varris accepts responsibility for the incident, admitting that she wanted to learn more about Sisko through Jake. She claims she has come up with a compromise which will settle the dispute.
Meanwhile, Bashir enthuses about how interesting their situation is, much to O'Brein's irritation. Julian is clearly enjoying the Chiefs discomfort as the locals ply him with gifts - including an offer of several young women - and insist that he brings his family to live in the village, claiming that he has been sent by the Prophets. O'Brien decides to discover just what the Dalrock is and destroy it once and for all. He tries to talk to the old Serrah's apprentice, but the man attacks him with a knife. After a short struggle O'Brien disarms him. The apprentice says he attacked him because O'Brien is not the true Serrah - he is. The Serrah only chose O'Brien in order to punish his apprentice because he was unable to defeat the Dalrock. It turns out that the Serrahs use a fragment of an Orb of the Prophets to both create the Dalrock and fight it off in order to unify the village. O'Brien offers to allow the apprentice to become the Serrah, but the village leader refuses to accept him.
That night the Dalrock arrives, and O'Brien is less than spectacular in his attempts to control it. Bashir tells the apprentice that the old Serrah must have chosen O'Brien in order to test his dedication. The apprentice steps in and rallies the villagers to fight off the cloud, after which they accept him as the true Serrah. O'Brien and Bashir go on their way.
On the station, Varris agrees to stick to the old boundary in return for free trade concessions. The episode wraps up with Odo grabbing Nog and Jake to make them clean up the security office and O'Brien loosening up a little around Julian.
Looking through the top 5 lists, it's pretty clear to me that DS9 has many fewer 'dud' episodes than TNG did. And those episodes which do count as duds aren't nearly so bad as TNG's worst efforts - DS9 has never produced anything like "Shades of Grey" or "The Child", so I feel a little unkind listing five not-so-bad episodes above. However, something has to be the worst and The Storyteller is far from being a good episode.
The worst thing about the Storyteller is the basic silliness of the premise. It's very hard to take the whole business of the Serrah and the Dalrock seriously, although all those involved in this part of the episode do try their best with the material. The acting is fair all round, nothing inspired but nothing awful either. Special effects are reasonable enough, and there are no really massive nits.
All in all, a typical DS9 dud - nothing really awful, just uninspiring and boring.