A Fable is a 1954 novel written by the American author William Faulkner. He spent more than a decade and tremendous effort on it, and considered it his masterpiece when it was completed. It won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, but critical reviews were mixed and it is considered one of Faulkner's lesser works. Historically, it can be seen as a precursor to Joseph Heller's Catch-22.
The book takes place in France during World War I and stretches through the course of one week. Corporal Stephan, who represents Jesus, orders 3,000 troops to disobey orders to attack in the brutally repetitive trench warfare. In return, the Germans do not attack, and the war stops when soldiers realize that it takes two sides to fight a war. The Generalissimo, who represents leaders who use war to gain power, invites his German counterpart to discuss how to restart the war. He then arrests and executes Stephan. Before Stephan's execution, the Generalissimo tries to convince the corporal that war can never be stopped because it is the essence of human nature.
- 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
- 1955 National Book Award for Fiction