Fables, myths, parables: a writing prompt

If you’re an experienced English teacher, you know there are times during the year when students are too stressed to deal with heavy reading assignments.

This writing prompt, which draws on very short fiction pieces—myths, fables, and parables—gives students a break from long, heavy reading and also gives them a chance to do a bit of creative writing within an expository writing assignment.

Besides its utility as an ELA assignment, the prompt also suggests to students how they can recast an old story to better connect with their audience. That’s a useful seed to plant in students’ consciousness.

Here’s the writing prompt. Use or adapt as you wish.

Ancient fables, parables, and myths draw their power from the way they reveal truths about the way people behave. 

Select one famous fable, parable, or myth. In an informative/explanatory text, discuss why the story’s moral is relevant today. Prove that the story applies in the 21st century by writing a contemporary version of the story set in this year.

Format your text as a print document. Please keep your text to under [650] words.

Easily found fables, parables, and myths

Some myths, fables, and parables are available multiple places on the Internet. These include: 

  • the Midas myth,
  • Pandora’s box.
  • Dog in the Manger
  • Ant and the Grasshopper
  • The Boy Who Cried, "Wolf"
  • The Good Samaritan
  • The Prodigal Son

Two sources for less familiar parables: