the most popular types of syrian story structures [are] the gissa (story), the hikaya (tale), and the hudutha (episode).
their purpose on the most explicit level is didactic - that is, to teach lessons in morality and social values or simply to inform about the ways of the world. the stories are presented as serious narratives that are true enough to life so that they might have happened without resort to miraculous or superhuman intervention. in general, this approach means that the actors are human, or, if animals are the main characters, that they behave in a way consistent with reality; that is, they don’t talk or otherwise behave as human beings.
a number of conventions and formulae are found in the narratives. many are based on the didactic device of repetition…a common device in arabic, as in english, is to present a point in three repetitious actions…some of the tales appeared in rhyming verse.
[syrian fairy tales] differ from the usual arabic literary tradition. in general, arabic prefers an elaborate, embellished plot, replete with florid descriptive passages. but instead, the narratives appearing here are usually composed in a spare, restrained style that outlines only the critical elements of the plot…detail is used only when the plot requires elaboration of a point to make a conclusion more plausible.
post 862 of an infinity-part series