Descartes tells us that his essay is "a history- or, of you prefer, a fable." What point is he trying to make with this description?
Simply put, I would say he is trying to show that what we think of as historical fact, may not be any truer than a story. He argues that accounts of history may misrepresent, or exaggerate what really happened. Even if they don't do this, they still may leave out the small details. This is important for Descartes because he is on a quest to find the right path in his life by distinguishingwhat is true from what is false. He discusses the usefulness of many different areas of learning to do do this, such as mathematics, science, theology and philosophy. He wants to be confident in his beliefs by finding out what is real and what is just imagination.