PO Box 109 Toronto
NSW 2283
Ph 02 4959 7741

Types of Story

by Helen McKay and Berice Dudley

There are many different types of stories. The most important consideration when choosing a tale to tell is whether you like it enough, to tell it with enthusiasm. Stories should communicate to you, a need to be told.
Some of the different categories of stories available to storytellers are: —

Fable - a short moral story not based on fact, using animals as characters, such as, Aesop’s Fables – The Fox and the Grapes, Lion and the Mouse and others.

Fairytale – The best-known would be Grimm’s fairytales, about imaginary folk, such as elves, giants, witches, gnomes, and fairies. Closer to home is Mary and the Leprechaun, by Irish-Australian writer, the late John Kelly.

Folk tale – a traditional story, in which ordinary people gain special insight, transforming them and enabling them to overcome extraordinary obstacles. See The Magic Orange Tree & other Haitian Folktales, by Diane Wolkstein.

Legend – a story based on the life of a real person, in which events are depicted as larger than life, for example, The Stories of Robin Hood, or King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Myth – a story about gods and heroes, explaining the workings of nature and human nature. See Psyche and Eros, or Inanna, by Diane Wolkstein.

Parable – a fictitious story told to point to a moral, for example, The Sower and the Seed, from the New Testament, of The Bible.

Personal story – a life story from your own or your family’s experience; such as, Streets and Alleys, by Syd Lieberman.

Religious story – an historical and philosophical story, based on a particular culture and religious persuasion; for example, The Story of Lazarus, from the Bible.

Tall tale – an exaggerated story, often humorous. Fishing stories, Australian Bush stories, see The Loaded Dog, by Henry Lawson.

Traditional tale – a story handed down orally, from generation to generation, such as the Polynesian stories – Maui, and The Coming of the Maori.
From About Storytelling – Published by Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, Australia — ISBN 0 86806 593 5 – by Helen McKay and Berice Dudley © 1996