Myths and legends are stories that explain historic or natural occupancies in the world. Originally recounted through oral tradition, myths were eventually written down into short stories. Fables and folktales, on the other hand, offer a moral or lesson. The fable is a short story usually written in a simple form, though it can also be created in verse. Myths and fables can often be associated with children’s books, but they are for adults too! The following will help you clear up the difference between fables, myths, and parables.
What is a myth?
Mythology is a collective account of myths. Typically, the word “myth” evokes thoughts of ancient cultures, such as ancient Greek or Norse mythology. Many times myths help to explain the unexplainable or how things came to be. For example, the mythological Greek god Apollo carries the sun across the sky in his chariot. This would explain to ancient Greeks why the sun appears to move across the sky. The mythological Norse god Loki is another example. Loki is described as a trickster and was often blamed for mishaps or disasters in a Norseman’s life. The myth is also attributed to more epic stories such as the Mesopotamian The Epic Gilgamesh, which is used as a way of explaining the creation of the world and humankind.
What is a fable?
Often the fable makes use of animals as the central characters, though personification can also be extended to inanimate objects such as trees or rocks. Still, the objective remains the same, which is to teach the reader or listener a lesson of some sort. Aesop (circa 620-560 BC) is perhaps the most well-known writer of fables and one of the most prolific—this Greek slave has around 200 fables attributed to him. An example of a modern fable is George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which satirizes totalitarianism through the use of farm animals.
What is a parable?
The fable should not be confused (though it often is) with the myth or the more closely related form of writing, the parable. The parable usually has a moral maxim as well, but the content deals with the real world.
Are you writing myths, fables, or parables? Writer’s Relief is a submission service that helps creative writers conquer the submission process. Check us out!