A parable is a succinct, didactic story, in prose or verse, that illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. It differs from a fable in that fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters, whereas parables have human characters. A parable is a type of metaphorical analogy.
Some scholars of the canonical gospels and the New Testament apply the term “parable” only to the parables of Jesus. Parables such as “The Prodigal Son” are central to Jesus’s teaching-method in the canonical narratives.