Fable, it's story elements, and quality characteristics

Fable is a short story. It usually has animals as characters with real life all age problems, setting is every time, and has a moral (lesson or theme about what is wise or right and wrong) as a theme.

Most famous are Aesop's Fables .

Quality characteristics by story elements


  • Characters are usually animals, very few, animated, inanimate, personified or anthropomorphic (have human characteristics).


  • Place is anywhere and everywhere.
  • May be imaginary.
  • Time is anytime or no time, but real times.


  • Real life all age problems.
  • Very simple, though interesting.
  • Thought provoking to didactic.


  • Wise message or idea implied or stated for societal or personal benefit.


  • Casual every day.
  • Sometimes like a parent passing on wisdom to a daughter or son or wise person to a learner.
  • Events are accurate, but not necessarily real life.
  • Dialog, artifacts, feelings, are from the real world and described accurately.


  • Reflection of human strengths, frailities, weaknesses, or imperfections.
  • Reader is lead to new insights and/or understandings.

Point of View

  • Often third person narrative. However, could be first.

Arnold Lobel has some modern day fables in this illustrated book.


HomeLiteracy, media, literature, children's literature, & language arts

Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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