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,[need quotation to verify][page needed] although that is not a common restriction of the term. Parables such as the parable of the Prodigal Son are important to Jesus's teaching method.