Folktales, myths, and legends. Folklore and Traditional Literature Folklore consists of a people group (or “folk”) and all of its accumulated facts (“lore”) including: traditional customs, beliefs, knowledge, values, and attitudes of the ordinary people. Folk + Lore = Folklore.
Folklore consists of a people group (or “folk”) and all of its accumulated facts (“lore”) including: traditional customs, beliefs, knowledge, values, and attitudes of the ordinary people.
Folk + Lore = Folklore
A folk's lore is communicated by word of mouth until it is transcribed (written down); this is called “oral tradition.” Before people groups had written languages, oral tradition was the only means of preserving the history of a people and its culture.
Folktales, myths, and legends are only one part (the literary part) of a folk's lore. Folktales are a society's narratives, stories, and literature. They are the stories that have been handed down from generation to generation.
The science of folklore was born when collectors ("folklorists") began collect-ing items to preserve the lore and his-tory of various people groups. The birth of this science began in the early 19th century and is most often attributed to the Brothers Grimm, known best for their collection of what are now well-known fairy tales: Red Riding Hood, Snow-White, Hansel & Gretel, Rapunzel, etc.
A folk tale is a story with no known author that usually teaches a lesson. Examples of American folktales include: Brer Rabbit, Paul Bunyan, Three Billy Goats Gruff, etc.
A myth is a story that usually explains something about the world and involves gods and other superhuman beings. Examples include: Medusa’s Head, Prometheus Bringer of Fire, Iliad & Odyssey
A legend is a story often believed to be true and in which the characters are usually considered historical by some. Examples include Robin Hood, King Arthur, and Pecos Bill.
A motif is a recurring thematic element. lt is the smallest element in a tale having the power to persist in tradition. ln order to have this power, it must have something unusual or striking or universal about it.
Example: The "underdog" brother (or sister), Prince Charming, the damsel in distress, etc.
Examples: The magic kiss, the long sleep, the journey, the difficult task, etc.
Examples: Hair, ring, water, magic cooking pot, flying carpets, etc.
ing? Why or why not? How does
people are telling stories or
just goofing around & partying?
As a culture, do we still believe them? Tell them? Pass them on to other generations? Should we? Why do we or don’t we?
“Myths are stories, and we find meaning in our lives through the stories we tell.
Myths are not true or untrue—they're living or dead.”
Once & Future Myths
“Myths are stories and we find meaning in our lives through the stories we tell.”