(9/21/02 10:12:37 pm)
| try this|
some say a fairytale is about fairies. Some say a fairy tale is about anything magical that happens to humans, in which case contemporary magic realism would be considered fairytale, as would perhaps apparitions. A fairytale often has characters who do not have names. They are "a boy," "a woman," "a man," etc.
some say mythos is about Gods, their lives, their creations, their concerns, and their interactions with mortals. The Gods are seldom if ever anonymous. They have names, attributes, etc. Tiamat, Ares, Venus, Sekmet.
some say fables are moral stories; that they are very short in length, that they often revolve around animal rather than human characters. Their names are Crow, Raven, Fox, etc.
You did not ask, but there are also legends, which are stories about humans who often have god-like or magical qualities. Some say they really lived. Others say they are fictitious. The prtagonists of legends also have names like Gilgamesh, Paul Bunyan, etc. legends can also take the form of sagas.
Depending on which kind of professional you are speaking to, there will likely be a hierarchical list of which is which and what is what. Across disciplines, these hierarchies do not match. Though people on all sides have so much to offer, unfortunately; trying to find parallels is a little like having ten word processing softwares that have no translators to read anything besides themselves. However, just my two cent's worth, the hierarchy I use is written out for you above, albeit simplified.
Hope this helps a bit