Myths – Legends – Examples of Each
Hello Lovelies, and welcome to the blog. Last week, we talked all about the Folk Tale pillar of genre and I introduced you to the main subgenres within the Folk Tale category. This week, I want to talk in brief about the difference between myths and legends, because they are very often lumped together, yet myths and legends are two separate folk tale subgenres.
A myth is a traditional story that explains the beliefs of a people about the natural and human world. The main characters in myths are usually gods or supernatural heroes. The stories are set in the distant past. The people who told these stories believed that they were true.
Some examples of myths include the tales of Maui, the Hawaiian demigod that created the Hawaiian Islands by fishing them out of the ocean, or the genderfluid trickster shapeshifter god Loki from the Norse traditions who is one day destined to fight against the gods in the final battle of Ragnarok and slay the fearsome Heimdall.
A legend is a traditional story about the past. The main characters are usually kings or heroes. Like myths, legends were thought to be true.
Some examples of well-known legends include the tales of Odysseus, one of the most influential of Trojan War champions from Ancient Greece, or Beowulf who kills the monster Grendel and goes on to become King of the Geats from the Norse lands.
To reiterate, myths and legends are often lumped together as if synonymous, yet they are two distinct categories of genre. If you still feel a little bit confused, don’t worry. Next week we will look at myths more specifically, and following that, we will also be looking at legends.
- What is your favorite folk tale subgenre?
- Do you have a favorite myth or legend?
- What genre is your favorite to read in, and do you write in the same genre or a different one?
- What is the most important reason writers should be aware of genre and its conventions?
- What questions would you like to see me answer in a blog post or podcast episode?
Leave your answers in the comments section for this post!