It is not surprising that the stories scattered so profusely through the Bible, the Apocrypha, and the Talmud, should be mostly moral tales. They were told in order to illustrate a theological or ethical contention or law, to glorify the race or nation to which the teller belonged, to attract and hold the interest of the listener. All of them were related by Jews, and all, even the parables of Jesus, bear the imprint of the Oriental imagination. The stories of Ruth and Susanna, from the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, are the earliest examples in this little group of Biblical tales. Ruth is the type of story that could easily be expanded into a novel, while Susanna conforms more exactly to the modern conception of what a short story ought to be. These two have been chosen from a great storehouse of prose narrative, which was designed in the first place to appeal to simple-minded shepherds and tradespeople.
In the New Testament we find among