Myths, Legends and Folktales by xmOb05NH


									Mrs. Beach – Deane Bozeman English
 Storytelling is common to every culture. Most
  people enjoy listening to stories. Storytellers
  have catered to the need for a 'good story' since
  the beginning of civilization.
 Most people have their own favorite story from
  childhood and, often, these tales are both
  fascinating and frightening. These stories include
  legends, myths and folktales.
A legend is a semi-true story, which has been
 passed on from person-to-person and has
 important meaning or symbolism for the
 culture in which it originates. A legend
 usually includes an element of truth, or is
 based on historic facts, but with 'mythical
 qualities'. Legends usually involve heroic
 characters or fantastic places and often
 encompass the spiritual beliefs of the culture
 in which they originate.
   A myth is a story based on tradition or legend,
    which has a deep symbolic meaning. A myth
    'conveys a truth' to those who tell it and hear it,
    rather than necessarily recording a true event.
    Although some myths can be accounts of actual
    events, they have become transformed by
    symbolic meaning or shifted in time or place.
    Myths are often used to explain universal and
    local beginnings and involve supernatural beings.
    The great power of the meaning of these stories,
    to the culture in which they developed, is a
    major reason why they survive as long as they do
    - sometimes for thousands of years.
   A folktale is a popular story that was passed on in spoken
    form, from one generation to the next. Usually the author
    is unknown and there are often many versions of the tale.
    Folktales comprise fables, fairy tales, old legends and even
    'urban legends'. Again, some tales may have been based on
    a partial truth that has been lost or hidden over time. It is
    difficult to categorize folktales precisely because they fit
    into many categories. Folk tales are often referred to as
    Tall Tales.
   Myths, legends and folktales are hard to classify and
    often overlap. Imagine a line (or continuum) as
    illustrated below, with an historical account based on
    facts at one end and myths or cultural folktales at
    the other; as you progress towards the
    mythical/folktale end of the line, what an event
    symbolizes to people, or what they feel about it,
    becomes of greater historical significance than the
    facts, which become less important. By the time you
    reach the far end of the spectrum, the story has
    taken on a life of its own and the facts of the original
    event, if there ever was one, have become almost
    irrelevant. It is the message that is important.
    As well as making fascinating reading, these stories also
    tell us a great deal about how people in the past saw, and
    understood, the world around them.
    There are many reasons why stories are told and passed
    down the generations. Here are just a few of them:

   To strengthen a community and provide a common
    understanding. Stories often reflect the beliefs of the
    people who tell them. The popularity of any story depends
    on whether those listening approve of the values
    underlying it. By telling and listening to stories, people
    confirmed their ideas about the world around them. Things
    that people found scary, infuriating, or desirable all found
    their way into the stories and they were passed on,
    because people wanted to be assured that other people
    around them were thinking along the same lines.
   As a way of providing moral guidance and showing
    people how they should conduct themselves,
    including the consequences of not doing so. Myths
    and legends, like any good stories, often include a
    moral. Within the myth, the hurt or embarrassment
    experienced by people is often due to their own
    stupidity, greed, dishonesty or negligence.

   To explain how the world works, for example why the
    seasons change, and to explain strange happenings or
    phenomena such as eclipses - the reasons for which
    were unknown in early times.

   For entertainment purposes. Stories were told to
    amuse and enthrall an audience in the days before TV
    and other forms of mass entertainment.
   To pass on history and knowledge, such as the outcome of
    battles and tales of courage, in ages when many people could
    not read or write. Many myths have an element of truth that
    has been built upon and embellished over the years.
   For fame, money or recognition - as in all areas of life, not all
    stories were told for good reasons. For example, stories of
    bravery in battle could enhance the status of an individual or
    a group or, in later centuries, a good ghost story could be sold
    for money. The truth was not always the most important
    Regardless of why they were told, many of the stories still
    remain popular today and, although we no longer swap stories
    around the fireside, the tradition of storytelling still
    continues in the form of urban legends. Many older stories
    also live on in current day carnivals or festivals, which have
    their roots in a very different past.
 A re-telling
 The orientation is typically timeless e.g. ‘Long,
  long ago’
  ‘ Before animals walked the earth’
 A single animal is representative of all animals
  of that kind
 Natural forces like wind and fire are represented
  by gods or god-like form
 The resolution of myths and legends explain why
  things are the way we are
 A classic opening and\or closing (e.g. Once upon
  a time…., And they all lived happily after)
 Stereotypes  e.g. Animals e.g. wolves are
  bad; rescuers are male
 The representative of certain values,
  wealth= happiness, beauty = happiness
 The involvement of supernatural forces, e.g.
  fairy godmothers, creatures that can talk
 Tales are based around themes like trickery
  and foolishness
 ‘But still to this day…’
 ‘So every time you see…’
 These comments sum up how things came to
  be .
A hero is someone who is distinguished for his
 or her courage or ability. They are admired
 for brave deeds and noble qualities. They
 may have performed heroic acts. They may
 also be someone who is a model or an ideal.
 Make a list of all the heroes you can think of
 – both real and fictional.

 Thinkabout a person in your life you might
 consider a hero. Write a short explanation or
 story about why you consider him/her to be
 a hero.
A tall tale is a story that provides enjoyment
 to a wide variety of audiences. Tall tales
 stretch the imagination through colorful
 figurative language and exaggerations.
 Tall tales are also known as lying tales;
  they are humorous exaggerations.
 Tall tales may come from other countries
  but we are most familiar with American
   Tall tales are often about the frontier days in the United
    States. They are an exaggeration of the hardships of
    frontier life.
   Tall tales may be about animals, weather,
    everyday events, and ordinary people; but the more
    famous tales are about heroes.
   Tall tales often feature over-sized people
    and exaggerated deeds.

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