A myth is originally not a fantasy or a falsity, but a narrative verified by faith, forming part of a corpus and reinforced by ritual. The corpus is tightly bound into culture and social structure which are legitimated by the narratives, just as the narratives are reconfirmed by ideology. The function of any mythical story was, in the first instance, to bear the burden of belief. To sustain faith, myths must have an open structure, open to all the possibilities of ongoing interpretability. The account of the ex-centric takes the form, in this case, of a recurring myth which Lord Raglan identifies with that of the ‘Hero of Tradition’. The importance of the archetype is seen in the extent of its spread. The stereotype of the legitimate bourgeois family, consisting of active father, passive mother and two or more sibling children, is a relatively recent creation.