What are fables?

Fables are short fictional stories, in prose or verse, with didactic or critical intention frequently manifested in a final moral, and in which people, animals and other animate or inanimate beings can intervene. Basically, fantasy with a moral lesson. Anthropomorphism is perhaps the most recognizable trait associated with fables.

What is anthropomorphism?

Anthropomorphism: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics : humanization. Personification is giving human qualities, feelings, action, or characteristics to inanimate (non-living) objects. For example: The window winked at me.

Types of fables

There are many different types of fables. Specifically, you can find 7 different ones, which are the following:

  • Animal Fables. They are the most common, where relationships are established between animals, humans, gods … but really the protagonists are the animals. In many of them they have human traits, such as the fact that they speak, think, etc. and they are put in situations that are more common to people than to animals.
  • Human fables. They can also occur, where, in this case, human beings are the protagonists of the story and those who tell what happens to them. In this case, humans are related to other humans, animals, gods, inert beings … In reality they are not limited to other characters.
  • Fables of the plant kingdom. As with the previous ones, in this case the protagonists are plants and, as with animals, they are also given traits more focused on humans (such as talking, moving, thinking …).
  • Mythological. In the case of this type of fable, you will meet deities protagonists, that is, they will be powerful gods who, either give lessons with their wisdom, or they themselves learn something from others, be they animals, humans, other gods, etc.
  • Inert things. Whether objects or things, these too can be part of fables. In this case, an example might be the Tin Soldier, an inanimate toy yet telling a story.
  • Agonal. These are not well known, but they are another type of them. They refer to opposing characters, that is, there is a protagonist and an antagonist and the end of the fable leads us to reward those who do well and punish the other. In this case, it is not so important who the protagonist is, but what happens and especially the final lesson, in terms of rewarding the good and punishing the bad.
  • Etiological. This type refers to those that refer to historical situations. In this case, the characters themselves are not as important as the events they relate in a way that helps the story to be known but in a more entertaining way.

Here’s an example of a fable.

The Sun And The Wheel Of Time

by Alice Eaglefeather

The Sun was sick, he forgot how to shine. He refused to burn, taunted by his memories. Every word they said made him just a little bit darker. Until they blew out the fire within. Suddenly, there was no light at all.

‘What do they want from me?’ The Sun shouted in despair. ‘They only love me because of what I do for them. I give them my light, my heat. They don’t love me for me.’ 

The wind panicked and became a mighty hurricane. The destruction was immeasurable. Undignified, too ugly to relive. The Earth almost crashed into Mars, and the Moon went void of course. Confused and crying.

The Sun wandered the dark infinite universe until it heard a whistle. Mild and pleasant the melody spoke of peace. The Sun was intrigued and overcome by curiosity, so he followed the music. As he got closer the sound of the spinning wheel got louder. A steady, consistent beat. So consistent it sounded sweet and joyful. 

The Sun asked the Wheel of Time ‘Why do you spin for them? They only love you because you spin for them. They don’t love you for you.’

‘I don’t.’ Said the Wheel.

‘Yes, you do. There you are. Spinning as we speak. How can you do this day in and day out?’ Asked the Sun.

‘No, I don’t spin for them.’ Answered the wheel. ‘I spin for me, I spin because I can. I spin because I love being the Wheel. Because I love the sound of my own heartbeat. Don’t you love being the Sun?’ 

He did, and that was enough. A spark lit up the Sun’s blaze. Now, it was bright enough for him to find the way back home. Winds of hope traveled the globe, a new Moon embraced the skies. Jupiter heard the news and hurried home to welcome the Sun. Soon the Sun felt flames burst through his skin. It felt so good to shine. 

‘When will you rise?’ Asked the Wheel.

‘Tomorrow.’ Answered the Sun.

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