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We are going to continue traditional literature with legends.
Legends while based on history, these stories embellish the life of a real person. The facts and adventures of the person are exaggerated, making the individual famous for their deeds. 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 ‘mythical qualities’. Legends usually involve heroic characters or fantastic places and often encompass the spiritual beliefs of the culture in which they originate.
A lot of people might get legends and myths confused but there are a few significant characteristics that set them apart.
A legend is a narrative told as a true story with people and locations clearly identified. In other words the story of a legend is narrated like a historical event rather than functioning as a symbolic narrative. The legend may contain descriptions of historical events. Some examples of legends could be stories about Robin Hood which are set in the background of the England during the reign of Richard I (1189-99).
Myth, on the other hand deals with a religious explanation for a particular custom or event. Myths do not follow any particular chronology to relate it to the present times. This is because myths tell a timeless story having symbolic events, set in a time before any history was recorded. The stories are about Gods and Super human beings who make use of their special powers to make things happen.
King Arthur is known to have lived in the 5th or 6th century. Even though the stories about the Knights of the Round Table are not exactly true,the theme behind it is to this day very important. The theme of the story was that the knights and their king defended their people and helped them.
The character and deeds of Robin Hood may have been based on someone else. Robin of Loxley lived in Nottinghamshire around the time of the story, and he did help the poor. But did he live in Nottingham forest with a band of robbers? Probably not, but helping other people is important and the legend hasn’t been forgotten.
Boadicea was first female queen in Britain. History says that she lived in the 1st century and led her people in the fight against the Romans when they invaded; they won and conquered Britain. Although Boadicea was captured and latter died in prison legends say that she escaped and fought on.
Today people use the word ‘legend’ in a different way. They describe a basketball player, football player or runner as a “sporting legend”, or an actor as a “film legend”. What they mean is the person is famous because of their skills or things they have done. This is similar to the earlier use of the word, and the legend stories.