Defining the content of the Nights in any kind of literary classification as a preliminary to interpretation is more difficult than it seems. Quite clearly very different types of story are represented in the collection, and differentiation between them is useful, as in many cases they differ so markedly that a variety of models governs their structure and meanings, such as is immediately apparent in the case of the beast fables or the short historical anecdotes. Payne divided the tales into five general categories: histories, by which he meant long histories of which CUmar al-Nucman is really the only example; anecdotes and short stories of historical figures and everyday incidents; romances and romantic fictions; fables and apologues (the beast fable sections); and finally, tales of heterogeneous learning, such as Tawaddud (9. 367-73). His third category, that of romances and romantic fictions, was extremely broad, covering all the leftovers of the other more specific groups. It included anything which used supernatural machinery and lacked historical people or anything apparently fictional, ranging from CAzlz and cAzlza to the Hunchback cycle or to Macriif the Cobbler. In other words, most of the tales of the collection remained under this amorphous heading.