Stories are our primary means of communication.
No, really. Think about it. When someone asks you how your day went, you don’t (usually) offer a list of bullet points. You weave a brief tale. When someone asks you to explain something, you usually don’t offer a dry recipe. You state the steps in a connected way. We build trust and find friends through anecdotes. We sway each other’s opinions through testimonies.
Once upon a time (see what I did there?), stories were not just the vehicle by which we shared our daily experiences. They were how we shared lessons. Fables and fairy tales were as much to keep each other entertained as they were to share harsh life lessons and histories in a less experiential environment. Anecdotes, both real and imagined, became metaphors for the real-life situations all around us, warnings and road maps.
And they still exist, and they still serve the same function.