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.