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The Short-Story (без автора)

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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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