Traditional Malay Literature is divisible into several important categories: epics, romances, folk tales, myths and legends, as well as various styles of poetry. Among the epics the most important is the Ramayana, which is a Malay version has served as the principal source of repertoire for the shadow play. Malay folk tales include animal stories such as those of the wily mousedeer, Sang Kancil.
Among the romances the most important is that of the Javanese culture hero, Panji. Several local legends such as those of Hang Tuah, and Mahsuri have become part of the Malay consciousness, while ancient myths such as those of Dewa Muda have found a place in the art of the story teller as well as in traditional theatre genres such as Mak Yong.