I would like to reference something a character said in a famous childhood story, e.g. The Boy Who Cried Wolf, or, Goldilocks and the Three Bears etc. amidst normal writing.

For instance, I'll use "proverbial" below, but I'm neither sure it makes sense, nor positive it's grammatically correct. I'm also unsure a drop-in replacement exists, but I'm hopeful.

Ex.1. Don't keep crying for the proverbial wolf, Dave, or us villagers on the marketing team might just stop paying attention.

Ex.2. Looks like that part of our software isn't tuned correctly. The proverbial porridge might be just a little too hot. I'll get it just right by next Friday.

Thanks, Nik

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    I think that one doesn't cry for the wolf, they simply cry wolf. Crying for the wolf either means that you are yelling to get the wolf to appear, or you are shedding tears on his behalf. – Jim Nov 16 '13 at 21:37

I think proverbial works, even if you're not specifically referring to proverbs. Note especially the second definition from Merriam-Webster:

pro·ver·bi·al adjective \prə-ˈvər-bē-əl\ : of, relating to, or resembling a proverb : commonly spoken of : widely known

Edit: "Proverbial" is used correctly in the examples given in the question. "Allegorical" and "fabled" both mean something different than what's intended. I'll leave the rest below just for reference and so that WS2's comment makes sense.

But you may be looking for allegorical.

Many fables would be considered allegories. Again, from Merriam-Webster:

al·le·go·ry noun \ˈa-lə-ˌgȯr-ē\ : a story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life or for a political or historical situation
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    I think the first part of your answer is perfectly correct, and hence the second part is unnecessary. I would not use 'fabled' nor 'allegorical', I would continue to use 'proverbial'. The ODE (not OED) indicates that 'proverbial' is used to cover idioms as well as proverbs e.g. I'm going to stick out like a proverbial sore thumb'. It is also used to stand for a word or phrase that is omitted from a well-known expression. e.g 'One word out of line and the proverbial hits the fan'. This use is well accepted, and explains why sportsmen sometimes 'get hit in the proverbials' by the ball. – WS2 Nov 16 '13 at 21:22
  • I'd go further than just saying "proverbial" works. As WS2 implies, it's so common in such contexts that using anything else would "stick out like the proverbial sore thumb". And I very much doubt that sticky-out sore thumbs have their origins in proverbs or fables. – FumbleFingers Nov 16 '13 at 23:01

Fabled, meaning made famous in fable


Fabulous, meaning fabled in song and story and therefore cool, neat, interesting, and like that.
See Absolutely Fabulous.


Lore may be used similarly to fable here:

"Don't keep crying about the wolf of lore, Dave, or us villagers on the marketing team might just rent one and stuff it in the back of your Prius."

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