Myths, Legends, Fables and Folktales
Transcript Myths, Legends, Fables and Folktales
On a separate piece of paper, answer the
How do legends, myths, and tall tales differ
from one another? If you are uncertain write
down your best guess.
Vocab. has been temporarily suspended until
Complete “A Clever Magistrate” Holt p. 195 –
205 due 4/23 (A) & 4/24 (B).
Return your comp. book to class
Bring HOLT work book and Lit. Book to class daily
and Other Traditional Tales!
Traditional tales based on the traditions and
beliefs of people
Were originally told orally
Usually teach a lesson
Often use animal characters to symbolize or
represent human qualities
• Include gods
• Based on
• Teach a
must solve a
• Animals act
• 3 or fewer
• Ends with a
• Aesop wrote
• Once upon
• Happily ever
• Often from
• Midas touch
• Tortoise and • Cinderella
• Fox and the
• Ant and the
• The Little
• The Ugly
• The Minotaur
• Demeter and
• Clash of the
• Pecos Bill
Myths are stories that try to explain how our
world works and how we should treat each
other. They are usually set in times long ago,
before history as we know it was written.
People have always asked questions like “How
did our world come to be?” or “Why is the ocean
blue?” Some myths answered these
In other myths, gods or “super-beings” used
their powers to make events happen.
These myths described people and the choices
Being brave even when you are frightened
Being foolish and making mistakes. Heroes, gods and
goddesses could help them or make things more
difficult for them.
Around the world, myths were shared by
different groups of people and became part of
Storytellers passed the stories on from
generation to generation. Some similar myths
were told in many cultures, but with variations in
the events or characters.
For example, most cultures, tribes or other
groups of people had their own version of how
our world began.
For early people, myths were like science because
they explained how natural events work. However,
these stories were made up and are not really true.
“Myth” comes from the Greek word “mythos” which
means “word of mouth”.
Examples of mythical characters include the Greek
god Zeus and the Viking god Thor. Winged Horses,
unicorns, and other mixed up creatures are often
found in myths.
Legends are also fictional stories, but they are
different from myths. Myths are about how the
natural world works, and are set in an ancient
Legends are based on real people who lived in
more recent times and are mentioned in history.
Legends are told for a purpose and are based
on facts, but they are not completely true.
Either the person never really did what the story
says, or the historical events were changed. The
purpose was to make the story more interesting
or convincing, or to teach a lesson, like knowing
right from wrong. Like myths, legends are
passed down from generation to generation.
Examples of people in English legends are King
Arthur and Robin Hood.
A man who could have been King Arthur is
known to have lived in the 5th or 6th century, but
the stories of the Knights of the Round Table and
Merlin the Magician are probably not true. The
point was that knights and their king defended
and helped their people.
The character and deeds of Robin Hood may
have been based on someone else. Robin of
Loxley lived in Nottinghamshire around the time
of the story, and he did help the poor. However,
did he live in Nottingham forest with a band of
robbers? Probably not, but helping other people
is important and the legend hasn’t been
Today people use the word ‘legend’ in a different
way when they talk about people and their
deeds. They may describe an athlete as a
“sporting legend”, or an actor as a “film legend”.
What they mean is the person is famous
because of their skills or things they have done.
Urban legends are intriguing stories that aren’t
true but could be possible
A fable is another type of story, also passed
down from generation to generation and told to
teach a lesson about something.
A fable usually ends with a moral, or a short
sentence with a lesson about life.
Fables are often about animals, plants, and
natural forces like thunder or wind, that can talk
and act like people.
The most famous fables were written by a man
from ancient Greece called Aesop. We know
them as Aesop’s Fables, and he wrote more
than 600 of them. The story of The Tortoise and
the Hare was written by him.
Fairy tales are stories written specially for
children, often about magical characters such as
elves, fairies, goblins and giants. Sometimes the
characters are animals.
Most fairy tales were passed down orally before
being written. Many of these stories were
collected by Hans Christian Andersen and the
Brothers Grimm and written down for future
Hans Christian Andersen is famous for collecting
and writing fairy tales. He was born in Denmark
in 1805. Examples of his stories are “The Little
Mermaid”, “Thumbelina,” “The Ugly Duckling,”
and “The Red Shoes.”
In Copenhagen, there is a statue of the little
mermaid, sitting on a rock on the beach at the
harbor. It was built in memory of the writer.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were brothers, born
in Germany in 1785 and 1786. They are famous
because they collected together many old fairy
tales from different parts of Germany and wrote
them down for people to read. We know them as
the Brothers Grimm and their collection includes
“Cinderella,” “Snow White,” and “The Frog
Myths and legends are old stories told for adults
and children. Many were not written down until
recently. Both are fictional, but legends are
based on some facts and real people.
Fables were written for adults and children.
Many were written by the Greek writer Aesop.
Fairy tales were written specially for children.
Most were told orally before they were written.
What are cultural values as they relate to myth?
List an example of a cultural value.