Faerie Tale Friday

Faerie Tale Friday: Myths, Legends, and Faerie Tales Discussion

Happy Faerie Tale Friday Lovelies!

Today I decided to have a discussion about myths, legends, and faerie tales. Are they the same? Are they different? What entails each? Feel free to join in the discussion in the comments below.

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As I was deciding on creating my Faerie Tale Friday special for my blog, I knew I had to line up several stories to read and review. While on the hunt, I started a discussion with my girls from The Calendar Girls (was a monthly blog special where we chose books to match themes to talk about), and we got on the subject of the difference between myths, legends, and Faerie Tales.

A prime example was King Arthur. We were debating on whether King Arthur was considered a faerie tale since no one knows for sure if any history of his existence was real. What we had decided was stories about King Arthur were considered legends. We also debated Robin Hood for the same reason.

Legend: A traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but not authenticated; An extremely famous or notorious person, especially in a particular field. (According to the Oxford Dictionaries)

But, with this definition of a legend, now I am wondering, should the stories of King Arthur be considered myths as well? When we think of myths, our minds tend to wander to Greek mythology. Stories of Odysseus, the Minotaur, Zeus, and Pandora, would be considered myths if we look to the dictionary.

Myth: A traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events; A widely held but false belief or idea; A fictitious or imaginary person or thing. (According to the Oxford Dictionaries)

Then, where do faerie tales lie? Don’t we consider faerie tales to sometimes involve supernatural beings or events? Faerie tales were once known as traditional stories as well. They were passed down around the times of the Brothers Grimm to teach lessons and scare little children in to behaving.

Fairy Tale: A children’s story about magical and imaginary beings and lands; a fairy story; Something resembling a fairy tale in being magical, idealized, or extremely happy; A fabricated story, especially one intended to deceive. (According to the Oxford Dictionaries)

So, according to these definitions, stories like King Arthur, Robin Hood, and Beowulf would be considered legends. Stories about deities such as Odin and Loki are considered myths. Myths can often times be tied in to religion and philosophy. And faerie tales are understood to be entirely fabricated stories involving magical elements. Sometimes faerie tales can teach lessons, and often times they have happy endings.

But, don’t we sometimes see stories that blur these lines? So, does this mean these types of tales fall under a bigger umbrella? What about fables and folktales? Is it okay to use these terms interchangeably when we speak of these stories, or when we aren’t sure where they fall?

Tell me what you think. Talk to me about your thoughts on the similarities and differences between the types of stories. Tell me what you have read in each category.

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10 thoughts on “Faerie Tale Friday: Myths, Legends, and Faerie Tales Discussion

  1. Oh! Congratulations on your new look first!!! It’s really lovely Adrienne. But all your “looks” are always lovely 😉 Than I think that you nailed it. Legends and myths are close together in my mind thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sophie! Flavia is helping me work on some graphics for a more permanent theme similar to what I had before, but I could not resist the mermaids for MerMay.

      And I agree. Both of those are almost synonymous in my mind. It does get hard to decide the difference since most of the stories are pure make believe, so the lines become blurred.

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  2. I feel like Legends and Myths often are the same in some ways. Myths just seem to be older Legends that people don’t believe anymore because they have magic. Legends can be a bit more current, and can technically be more accurate in some ways. Fairy tales will always just be fantasy, and even the people telling the story knew that they were fantasy. However, I think that even Fairy Tales could be somewhat based on real people. Especially the villains, they could just be personifications of the horrible kings and queens of the medieval times.

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    1. I am on the same page as you. So, what do you think about Robin Hood? Technically all I have found states that the story is considered a legend, but if there is no historical evidence of his existence, maybe we should consider the stories folklore?

      Liked by 1 person

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