The beginning level of the progymnasmata instructs the growing writer in the art of narratives, fables, and proverbs.
Narrative, or narratio, is storytelling and is used by historians, poets, and rhetoricians to relate a series of events for a wide variety of purposes–to relate facts in order to persuade, to tell a story, or to bring to life an event from history.
Fables are short stories that convey a moral lesson, and these naturally follow the lessons on narrative. Aesop’s fables are well-known to many–The Town Mouse & The Country Mouse, The Ant and the Grasshopper, The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing.
Proverbs are short, pithy statements expressing truths that should be generally accepted, based on personal observations and experiences. According to Frank D’Angelo, the proverb “expresses a well-known truth or experience in striking form” designed “to urge the reader or listener to pursue a wise and prudent course of action and to turn away from foolish or imprudent behavior” (73-74).