Task 1 Research

Research Relating To myths, Legends And Fairy Tales

What Are Parables?

Parables are defined as a short story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson. LLC. (2016). Parable. Available: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/parable. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.

They contain points of comparison but are an elaboration of an analogy making them allegory. David B. Gowler (2000). What Are They Saying About Parables. UK: Paulist Press . 99.

They have instructional lessons or principles and may include inanimate objects like trees and plants but mainly include people in various societal positions.

Patheous. (2008). What Is A Parable? A Bible Definition. Available: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/05/22/what-is-a-parable-a-bible-definition/. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.

This is how they differ from a fable as fables employ animals, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature as characters and parables have mainly human characters.

DiffrenceBetween.com. (2010). Difference between fable and parable.Available: http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-fable-and-vs-parable/. Last accessed 16 Sep 2016.

What Is Their Purpose?

There is often a tension between good and evil or sinful and holy, meaning that they can proclaim what is good versus what is bad as there is contrast. This is used to educate people of the social norms and values by showing someone making bad decisions and choices, followed up by their negative outcomes, which in turn people can learn from. They often have a denotative and connotative meanings so what you take from it depends on how you interoperate it.

Patheous. (2008). What Is A Parable? A Bible Definition. Available: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2014/05/22/what-is-a-parable-a-bible-definition/. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.


How Are They Told?

Simple word-pictures that were hoped to grab listeners through their imagination. Often these were ordinary everyday images.

Don Schwagner. (2000). What Is A Parable. Available: http://www.rc.net/wcc/parable1.htm. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.



Who Are They For?


Some say that another reason parables are different from fables is that parables are for adults. The reason this is thought is because they are true to life and they can understand that parables reflect ‘the way it is in real life’ which is the power of a parable.

Bible.org. (2016). Introduction To The Parables. Available: https://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-parables. Last accessed 16 Sep 2016.


What Are Historical 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 historical legend usually is based on historic facts, but they still contain ‘mythical qualities’. Legends usually involve heroic characters or fantastic places and often encompass the spiritual beliefs of the culture in which they originate.

E2BN. (2006). What are myths, legends and folktales?. Available: http://myths.e2bn.org/teachers/info311-what-are-myths-legends-and-folktales.html. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.

They have a narrative of human actions that are perceived both by teller and listeners to take place within human history. There are no happenings that are outside the realm of “possibility” but which may include miracles. Legends may be transformed over time, in order to keep it fresh and vital, and realistic. Many legends operate within the realm of uncertainty, never being entirely believed by the participants, but also never being resolutely doubted.

Robert Georges And Michael Owens (1995). Folkloristics. USA: University Press. 7.

Historical legends appear across the world for example Táin Bó Flidhais is a famous Irish Legend, Odysseus is Greek and the founding of Tenochtitlan is Mexican. Some of the most well-known legends include Robin Hood, King Arthur, Atlantis and The Holy Grail.

Greeka.com. (2016). The legendary story of Odysseus. Available: http://www.greeka.com/ionian/ithaca/ithaca-myths/odysseus.htm. Last accessed 17 Sep 2016.

Exemplore. (2016). Some Of The Most Famous Legends. Available: https://exemplore.com/misc/Famous-Legends. Last accessed 17 Sep 2016.

What Is Their Purpose?

There are many people who love to tell stories, there are even more who love to listen to them. It’s a part of every culture on the planet and enjoyment and entertainment can be taken through this celebration of culture through storytelling. As well as being a form of entertainment, the telling of legends also has the purpose of bringing people together.

They were often told to help people understand difficult ideas and help people in a community to think in the same way because the provided common message or value unifies a community. On top of this legends pass down knowledge to keep the history of a place alive.

E2BN. (2006). Why Were Stories Told. Available: http://myths.e2bn.org/about/info273-why-were-the-stories-told.html. Last accessed 17 Sep 2016.

How Are They Told?

Legends are often spoken and told orally. They have however been performed, written and are also gotten across to their audience through a variety of means. Wikipedia. (2016). Legends. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend. Last accessed 17 Sep 2016.

Although this is the case, the legends themselves get passed down from person to person through the generations.

E2BN. (2006). What are myths, legends and folktales?. Available: http://myths.e2bn.org/teachers/info311-what-are-myths-legends-and-folktales.html. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.


Who Are They For?

Legends are said to be for everyone. Both adults and children can enjoy them as there are so many varieties. Although this is the case, they are usually targeted to the place in which the story takes place as they often celebrate a specific culture.

PlanetOzKids. (2016). Oban’s Myths & Legends. Available: http://www.planetozkids.com/oban/what-is-difference-between-myths-legends-fables-folk-tales.htm. Last accessed 17 Sep 2016.


What Are Myths?

A myth is described as 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 which can sometimes be for thousands of years.

E2BN. (2006). What are myths, legends and folktales?. Available: http://myths.e2bn.org/teachers/info311-what-are-myths-legends-and-folktales.html. Last accessed 25th Sep 2016.

Myths are often stories that are currently understood as being exaggerated or fictitious, that is to say that they have little or no basis in fact. The main characters in myths are generally gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, or animals and plants. They also mainly take place in a timeless past before recorded time or beginning of the critical history. Sometimes they hold religious or spiritual meaning for those who tell it. Like other forms of traditional story, myths also convey thought and values.

Wikipedia. (2016). Myth. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth#cite_note-5. Last accessed 25th Sep 2016.


What Is Their Purpose?

One website suggests that there are five main purposes of myths. There are to explain how things came to be, to teach lessons or values, to unify a group or define a group’s identity, to explain social or religious rituals and also to entertain.

mph.net. (2016). 5 purposes of myth. Available: http://web.mph.net/academic/english/ahogan/5_purposes_of_myth.htm. Last accessed 25th Sep 2016.

Joseph Campbell is a leading scholar in the fields of mythology and comparative religion and he has his own idea of what the 4 basic functions of myths are. He says myths have the function to be metaphysical/mystical, cosmological, sociological, and pedagogical. Therefore myths are there to evoke in an individual a sense of grateful, affirmative awe and to present an image of the cosmos that will maintain your sense of mystical awe and explain everything that you come into contact with in the universe around you. His third function of a mythological order is to validate and maintain a certain sociological system, so the social norms and values. These are a shared set of rights and wrongs in which society depends on for its existence. He says a myth must also carry the individual through the stages of his life, from birth through to death.

Trinity University. (2016). Joseph Campbell’s “Four Functions of Myth”.Available: http://www.trinity.edu/cspinks/myth/campbell_4_functions_myth.pdf. Last accessed 25th Sep 2016.

How Are They Told?

Often they are told orally which can just be a spoken story or told through songs and poems, sometimes they are even told and retold through art. They are passed down through generations and throughout history they have been especially popular in India, Egypt, Greece and with the Romans.

Joan Jahnige. (2006 ). What Is A Myth?. Available: http://www.dl.ket.org/latin/mythology/whatisa.htm. Last accessed 25th Sep 2016.


Who Are They For?

Myths can be for anyone. Every culture has myths and there are so many types with so many different plots that almost every audience demographic can be covered. In modern day you are almost certain to find children’s versions of several myths from around the world so that mythology is more accessible for a wider age range.

Ancient History Encyclopedia. (2016). Greek Mythology. Available: http://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Mythology/. Last accessed 25th Sep 2016.

What Are Fairytales?

Fairy tales are short and often simplistic stories which feature characters with fantasy properties such as: fairies, goblins, trolls, witches, unicorns, dragons, dwarves, elves, etc. There is typically an enchanted and magical element to the story and they differ from folk tales and legends as there is less reality in the content. Fairy tales often have a defined structure of a ‘once upon a time…’ and a ‘… they lived happily ever after’ ending which encourages positivity and adds to the fantasy and magic of the stories. This helps them to be suitable for even the youngest of audiences; they are accessible to all.

Wikepedia contributors. (2016). Fairy tale . Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_tale. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.

What Is Their Purpose?

A main purpose for fairy tales is to entertain their audiences. They are often beyond the realms of realism meaning they encourage creativity and imagination for their audiences as they are so magical and different. This is also because they are so visual and descriptive without being too hard to understand. It is to keep the children young at heart with out having to hear the issues with society such as violence and suffering at this age. On top of this, one website suggests that fairy tales help children to develop their emotions and critical thinking skills, as the content introduces good and bad to them. Fairy tales also help to develop children’s reading and literacy skills as they will usually be the first books they read themselves.

Jim Trelease. (2016). What is the purpose of fairy tales?. Available: https://bkmarcus.com/2009/07/25/what-is-the-purpose-of-fairy-tales/. Last accessed 17th Sep 2016.

Scottish Book Trust. (2016). 5 Reasons why fairy tales are good for children. Available: http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/reading/2014/06/5-reasons-why-fairy-tales-are-good-for-children. Last accessed 18th Sep 2016.

How Are They Told?

Fairy tales can be told orally and also found in literary form. Like other traditional stories they are passed from generations and have evolved over time through the retellings. This means you can find similar fairy tale story lines under different names and from different countries. In modern day fairy tales are still being written but with more modern day language meaning they are relatable for the children in our society today.

Who Are They For?

The main audience for fairy tales appears to be children. This means most fairy tales are easy to read and understand, there are often lots of pictures to accompany the text if they are in written form. Although they are primarily targeted towards children as they encourage creativity and imagination they can also be enjoyed by everyone.

Cambridge Dictionary. (2016). fairy tale. Available: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fairy-tale. Last accessed 17th Sep 2016.

The Seven Types Of Story:

In lesson we looked at the 7 different types of story according to Len Wilson. They were:

  • Overcoming the Monster.
  • Rags to Riches
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth

Although some people disagree that there are just 7, most well known story’s can be categorised this way and it is still some wider knowledge that is relevant to our commission as we can use these for our traditional stories.



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