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Encyclopedia > Myth, legend, fairy tale, and fable

The words myth, legend, folklore, fairy tale, and fable are used interchangeably in common speech to refer to short stories that are not literally true but do contain non-literal truth in the form of a lesson or inspiration. Similar terms include anecdote, parable, and fairy stories. In the academic circles of literature, religion, history, and anthropology, these terms are important jargon to identify and interpret stories more precisely. Image File history File links Wiki_letter_w. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Not every story will fall into exactly one category. Some stories belong in multiple stories and some stories do not fit in any category.

Contents

Simple comparison

This table is a brief comparison and oversimplifies some points.

Name Literally true Supernatural elements Anthropomorphism Allegorical Teaches a moral Length
Myth Debatable Usually Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Any length
Legend Sometimes Usually Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Any length
Fable Never Always Always Always Always Short
Anecdote Often Never Never Never Never Short
Parable Never Never Never Never Always Short
Apologue Never Always Sometimes Always Always Short
Fairy tale Never Always Sometimes Sometimes Somtimes Any length
Folklore Sometimes Always Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Any length

More traditional systems for analysing language divided linguistic expressions into two classes: literal and figurative. ... Look up Supernatural in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An anthropomorphic character; a cat ascribed human characteristics. ... An allegory (from Greek αλλος, allos, other, and αγορευειν, agoreuein, to speak in public) is a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than (and in addition to) the literal. ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... Look up Myth in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up Legend in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For a comparison of fable with other kinds of stories, see Myth, legend, fairy tale, and fable. ... An anecdote is a short tale narrating an interesting or amusing biographical incident. ... // A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. ... An apologue (from the Greek: απολογος, a statement or account) is a brief fable or allegorical story with pointed or exaggerated details, meant to serve as a pleasant vehicle for some moral doctrine or to convey some useful lesson without explicitly stating it. ... A fairy tale is a story, either told to children or as if told to children, concerning the adventures of mythical characters such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, giants, and others. ... Folklore is the body of expressive culture, including tales, music, dance, legends, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, customs, material culture, and so forth within a particular population comprising the traditions (including oral traditions) of that culture, subculture, or group. ...

Fable

Main article: Fable

A fable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that features animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities), and that illustrates a moral lesson (a "moral"), which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim. For a comparison of fable with other kinds of stories, see Myth, legend, fairy tale, and fable. ... Digimon, the only known animals. ... Divisions Green algae Chlorophyta Charophyta Land plants (embryophytes) Non-vascular plants (bryophytes) Marchantiophyta - liverworts Anthocerotophyta - hornworts Bryophyta - mosses Vascular plants (tracheophytes) †Rhyniophyta - rhyniophytes †Zosterophyllophyta - zosterophylls Lycopodiophyta - clubmosses †Trimerophytophyta - trimerophytes Pteridophyta - ferns and horsetails Seed plants (spermatophytes) †Pteridospermatophyta - seed ferns Pinophyta - conifers Cycadophyta - cycads Ginkgophyta - ginkgo Gnetophyta - gnetae Magnoliophyta - flowering plants... This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedias deletion policy. ... Galunggung in 1982, showing a combination of natural events. ... Anthropomorphism, also referred to as personification or prosopopeia, is the attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects, animals, forces of nature, and others. ... Trinomial name Homo sapiens sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Humans, or human beings, are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens (Latin: wise man or knowing man) under the family Hominidae (the great apes). ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... If something is explicit, it generally leaves nothing to the imagination. ... This article needs cleanup. ...


A fable differs from a parable in that the latter excludes animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as actors that assume speech and other powers of mankind. // A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. ...


Parable

Main article: Parable

A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. It differs from a fable in excluding animals, plants, inanimate objects, and forces of nature as actors that assume speech and other powers of mankind. // A parable is a brief, succinct story, in prose or verse, that illustrates a moral or religious lesson. ... Prose is writing distinguished from poetry by its greater variety of rhythm and its closer resemblance to the patterns of everyday [[speech. ... Verse is a writing that uses meter as its primary organisational mode, as opposed to prose, which uses grammatical and discoursal units like sentences and paragraphs. ... A moral is a one sentence remark made at the end of many childrens stories that expresses the intended meaning, or the moral message, of the tale. ... Religious is a term with both a technical definition and folk use. ... For a comparison of fable with other kinds of stories, see Myth, legend, fairy tale, and fable. ... Look up Mankind in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Apologue

Main article: Apologue

An apologue is a brief fable or allegorical story with pointed or exaggerated details, meant to serve as a pleasant vehicle for a moral doctrine or to convey a useful lesson without stating it explicitly. It is exactly like a parable except that it contains supernatural elements, often the personification of animals or plants. An apologue (from the Greek: απολογος, a statement or account) is a brief fable or allegorical story with pointed or exaggerated details, meant to serve as a pleasant vehicle for some moral doctrine or to convey some useful lesson without explicitly stating it. ...


Anecdote

Main article: Anecdote

An anecdote is a short tale narrating an interesting or amusing biographical incident. It may be as brief as the setting and provocation of a bon mot. An anecdote is always based on real life, an incident involving actual persons, whether famous or not, in real places. However, over time, modification in reuse may convert a particular anecdote to a fictional piece, one that is retold but is "too good to be true". Sometimes humorous, anecdotes are not jokes, because their primary purpose is not simply to evoke laughter, but to reveal a truth more general than the brief tale itself, or to delineate a character trait or the workings of an institution in such a light that it strikes in a flash of insight to their very essence. An anecdote is a short tale narrating an interesting or amusing biographical incident. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Sir Thomas Malory wrote the most famous fictional biography of the Middle Ages with Le Morte dArthur about the life of King Arthur. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into List of French phrases used by English speakers. ... A joke is a short story or series of words spoken or communicated with the intent of being laughed at or found humorous by either listener/reader or performer/writer. ... Purpose in its most general sense is the anticipated aim which guides action. ...


 
 

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