"Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." - G. K. Chesterton
It's interesting to think that, in a time where knowledge and hard work are held in such high esteem, people still enjoy good stories. On the surface, stories (especially fictional ones) don't seem particularly useful. They don't get work done, and they're often seen as something to do when you want to escape the difficulties and work to be gone through in the real world.
Yet even now, stories are special to us. Stories are special for many reasons. They resemble the way we experience life far better than a textbook does. They also awaken our imaginations of what could be possible. Storytellers, like other artists, can bring to mind things of the future before they happen, and things of the past long after they've happened. Stories allow us to experience things that we would never be able to experience otherwise.
Also interesting is the fact that stories can often be a better way of remembering things than our "efficient" methods of schooling. Stories activate different parts of the brain, perhaps most notably the limbic system which deals with emotions and memories. This can reinforce information and lead to its being retained longer.
For all these reasons and more, stories are an important part of our lives. It's easy to think stories are just for children, but in fact they can be a wonderful experience for everyone.
What's one of your favorite stories?