What is a Legend?

We already know that fables are short stories that teach us lessons, called morals, and the characters are usually animals. So what are legends?

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.

For example, the Legend of King Arthur is based loosely on a true story King Arthur is a British legend who existed during the medieval times and is believed to have led the defense of Britain against the Saxon (Germans).

So, let’s recap on what we know about legends:

  • They are always about humans but can have magic or supernatural events
  • They are based on real people who are considered heroes
  • Are supposedly true, and used to scare, teach, inform, or entertain.
  • May be based on true events, but are changed or exaggerated over time.
  • Handed down from generation to generation, usual through an oral history.
  • Historical but not always factual
  • Explain why a natural occurrence occurs
  • Many legends tell about human beings who meet supernatural creatures
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