Mankind has always loved to tell stories and to listen to them. The most primitive and unlettered peoples and tribes have always shown and still show this universal characteristic. As far back as written records go we find stories; even before that time, they were handed down from remote generations by oral tradition. The wandering minstrel followed a very ancient profession. Before him was his prototype-the man with the gift of telling stories over the fire at night, perhaps at the mouth of a cave. The Greeks, who ever loved to hear some new thing, were merely typical of the ready listeners.In the course of time the story passed through many forms and many phases-the myth, e.g. _The Labors of Hercules_; the legend, e.g. _St. George and the Dragon_; the fairy tale, e.g. _Cinderella_; the fable, e.g. _The Fox and the Grapes_; the allegory, e.g. Addison's _The Vision of Mirza_; the parable, e.g. _The Prodigal Son_. Sometimes it was merely to amuse, sometimes to instruct. With this process are intimately connected famous books, such as "The Gesta Romanorum" (which, by the way, has nothing to do with the Romans) and famous writers like Boccaccio.
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