frame tale

frame story

a secondary story or stories embedded in the main story.
a narrative providing the framework for connecting a series of otherwise unrelated stories.
a literary device that uses such a narrative structure.
Also called frame narrative, frame tale. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Britannica

frame tale

overall unifying story within which one or more tales are related. In the single story, the opening and closing constitutes a frame. In the cyclical frame story-that is, a story in which several tales are related-some frames are externally imposed and only loosely bind the diversified stories. For example, the Jataka, a treasury of some 550 ancient Indian folktales, is cast within a framework of Buddhist ethical teaching. The Thousand and One Nights, in which Scheherazade avoids death by telling her king-husband a story every night and leaving it incomplete, is another example of a frame story.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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