A short story, say the writers of text books and the teachers of sophomores, should deal with but a single episode. That dictum is probably true; but it admits of wider interpretation than is generally given it. The teller of tales, anxious to escape from restriction but not avid of being cast into the outer darkness of the taboo, can in self-justification become as technical as any lawyer. The phrase "a single episode" is loosely worded. The rule does not specify an episode in one man's life; it might be in the life of a family, or a state, or even of a whole people. In that case the action might cover many lives. It is a way out for those who have a story to tell, a limit to tell it within, but who do not wish to embroil themselves too seriously with the august Makers of the Rules.