Outside the sphere of modern western civilizations, and those who have been heavily influenced by them, storytelling has traditionally been used to convey both entertainment and serious cultural ideology simultaneously. Fictitious tales are told with serious points to be made; in short, truth is conveyed by fiction. Historiography encompasses a much wider range of relating 'past events' including historical narratives as well as 'historical fiction' and totally imaginative literature concerned with past events that could have taken place. In the case of Jonah the story is demonstrably fictitious, exaggerated and ironic, but the narrative clearly has something to say about God and about prophets that the author thought needed recording and that the compilers of the canon considered significant. Jonah is viewed in light of other stories in the biblical tradition as an attempt to deal seriously with a perceived truth by means of a creative and imaginative fiction.