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Grade 5 - English Language
3.22 Genres: Myths and Fables

Myth: A myth is a story with a purpose. A myth is a sacred story that explains the origins of the world or how the world and the creatures in it came to be their present form. The active beings in myths are generally gods and heroes.

Fable: A fable is a brief story, in prose or verse, that features animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities), and that illustrates a moral lesson. Fables are used to help us understand human nature and human behavior.

Directions: Read the following stories. Determine which one is a myth, and which one is a fable. Write a fable or myth using the descriptions given above to guide you in your writing.

The Fox and the Goat

A FOX one day fell into a deep well and could find no means of escape. A Goat, overcome with thirst, came to the same well, and seeing the Fox, inquired if the water was good. Concealing his sad plight under a merry guise, the Fox indulged in a lavish praise of the water, saying it was excellent beyond measure, and encouraging him to descend.

The Goat, mindful only of his thirst, thoughtlessly jumped down, but just as he drank, the Fox informed him of the difficulty they were both in and suggested a scheme for their common escape. "If," said he, "you will place your forefeet upon the wall and bend your head, I will run up your back and escape, and will help you out afterwards." The Goat readily assented and the Fox leaped upon his back. Steadying himself with the Goat's horns, he safely reached the mouth of the well and made off as fast as he could.

When the Goat upbraided him for breaking his promise, he turned around and cried out, "You foolish old fellow! If you had as many brains in your head as you have hairs in your beard, you would never have gone down before you had inspected the way up, nor have exposed yourself to dangers from which you had no means of escape."

Moral: Look before you leap.

Souls for Every River

Jvelto loved his daughter Abebi, goddess of oceans and rivers, above all his children. Abebi was spirited, fun-loving and very beautiful. She was also very trusting, and one day she was tricked into selling her soul to a demon. Jvelto was furious, and beat the demon savagely. But he stopped himself from killing the creature, for that would not have saved Abebi´s immortal soul. Instead, the Oceanlord asked his cunning brother Torodin to strike a deal with Othniel, to whom the demon owed its allegiance.

Torodin did as Jvelto asked. He succeeded in freeing Abebi´s soul. In return, for the rest of eternity, Jvelto would turn over to Othniel a number of souls equal to every body of water in the world times seven.

As a result, it is said that each river and ocean must claim at least seven lives every year, so that Jvelto can pay his debt to the Soultaker.


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