A collection of stories most of which evolved and grew in the classroom through constant retelling to groups of students in answer to their persistent plea Sir, please tell us a story. Subsequently, they were put down on paper following the technique of the storyteller rather than that of the storywriter.
A story that is told depends for its success as much on the skill of the teller as on the beauty of its content. The success of a written story depends entirely on the way the writer has ordered the words. The oral story is simple and direct with a clear-cut beginning and end. It tends to be emotive rather than cerebral. The written story, freed from the limitations imposed by the oral tradition tends to be more sophisticated and fluid. It is more intellectual both in form and content.
The difference between the two kinds of stories was further sharpened when William James' stream of consciousness theory was adopted by storywriters all over the world. Actions and characters were made subservient to minute delineation of thought. Nothing ever 'happened' in these stories and though they made beautiful reading they were not stories that would bear telling.