Katha, 'narration', a comprehensive term embracing all types of narrative tales, fables and apologues, whether wholly or partly legendary, based on the acts of deities or the heroic deeds of actual persons, whether in verse, mixed verse and prose, or wholly in prose.
The Indian fable or parable goes back to a very remote date. It appears that the art of the fabulist reached its highest form in India and from here spread throughout the ancient world. Even today the Katha is used as a means of religious instruction, where a pandit well versed in the Epics or Puranas weaves a story or relates an episode to point a moral for today's needs to a village audience.
The seeds of the katha are said to be found in the Vedas, but it is now generally admitted that they had their true origin in the Prakrit folk-tale one of the oldest collection of best fables in the Tantrakhyayika, which also adopts the device, later very popular, of a story with in a story, another is Nalophakhyana from Mahabharata.