Distinguishing Fable from Parable

Fable vs Parable

From a young age, we are exposed to fables and parables through our grandparents’ storytelling and children’s books. Although we may think we understand the differences between these two types of stories, it can be difficult for many to articulate the distinctions. Both fables and parables are brief tales that convey a moral or message to the reader or listener, often touching on universal truths, virtues, or concepts. This article will explore the differences between fables and parables.


A fable is a short story that features talking animals or forces of nature and imparts a moral lesson to the audience. Usually, the moral is presented at the end of the story to ensure the reader or listener learns from it. Aesop’s fables are the most renowned globally, although Jatak Kathayein from Buddhism and Panchatantra, written by Vishnu Sharma in Hinduism, are also popular. Even epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata include fables that serve as valuable moral lessons for people today.

Fables typically feature talking animals, plants, and other inanimate objects, as seen in well-known examples like The Fox and the Grapes and The Ant and the Grasshopper.


A parable is a brief story that teaches a moral lesson through human characters only. These stories are derived from real-world situations, reflecting the challenges and struggles people face. Parables also often have spiritual undertones. The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal Son are two famous parables from the Gospel. The term “parable” originates from the Greek word Parabole, meaning comparison or analogy. Parables provide guidance on navigating real-life dilemmas by examining the actions and behaviors of the characters within them.

Key Takeaways

  • Both parables and fables are short stories that convey moral lessons, but parables exclusively feature human characters, while fables are known for talking animals, plants, and even supernatural forces.
  • Fables take place in an imaginary world, whereas parables involve real humans facing real-world problems.
  • Parables often have a spiritual or religious aspect, while fables generally do not touch on religion.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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