Differences of Fable, Folktale, Fairytale, Myth and Legend

differences-of-fable-folktale-fairytale-myth-and-legend

Fable, Folktale, Fairytale, Myth and Legend are types of common stories originally passed by storytellers. They vary in their subject matter, from explaining the natural world to delivering life lessons in history. Fables, Myth and Legend were written for adults and children. Folktale and Fairytale were written specially for children.

Fable

A fable is a very short story with a lesson to teach to children, called a moral. Fables are fun to tell, and help teach good behavior as well.

Most of the characters in Aesop’ fables are animals. Some of them take on human characteristic with speeches and emotions. Aesop uses the qualities and natural tendencies of animals to focus on human traits and wisdom.

For exampleThe Lion and The FoxThe Two GoatsThe Horse and the Donkey …

Folktale

A folktale, also known as folklore, is a ancient story that was originally composed and told for all age groups that have been passed down orally from generation to generation.

Folktales express relationships among human beings and their fears and desires, reflecting the values and cultural patterns of the particular group from which they come. Usually the author is unknown and there are often many versions of the tale. Main characters of folktales are usually people and it rarely

For example: “Forty Fortunes” from Iran, “I know what I know” from Denmark, “The Crystal Heart” from Vietnam…

Fairy tale

Fairy tales are similar to folktales but they were not originally for children. Real fairy tales are dark, scary and violent. Often, the ending of a fairy tale was not happy at all.

Fairy tales contain witches and queens, giants and elves, princes, dragons, talking animals, ogres, princesses, and sometimes even fairies. Marvelous and magical things happen to characters in fairy tales. Objects can be enchanted — mirrors talk, pumpkins become carriages, and a lamp may be home to a genie.

Fairy tales were changed to link more to children: endings are happily, goodness is rewarded, and evil is punished. The traditional closing line of a fairy tale is, “and they lived happily ever after.”

For example: Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel …

Myth

Myths are made up stories that try to explain how our world works and how we should treat each other. The stories are usually set in times long ago, before history as we know it was written.

These myths described the big things that happened to people and the choices they made. People might be heroes in these stories and gods and goddesses could use their powers to help them or make things more difficult for them.

For early people, myths were like science because they explained how natural events work. Today we don’t always know if myths are true or not. But people all over the world still like to read myths and we all like to think about what they might mean.

For example: “Jason and the Golden Fleece”, “Pegasus”, “The Mighty Hercules” …

Legend

Legends are also stories that have been made up, but they are different from myths. Legends are about people and their actions. These people lived in more recent times and are mentioned in history. The stories are based on facts, but they are not completely true.

The purpose was to make the story more interesting or convincing, or to teach a lesson, like knowing right from wrong.

For example: “King Arthur”, “Robin hood” …

Aesop – The father of fables

who-is-aesop

Some scholars think Aesop never existed. Others believe he was a slave and a storyteller. He lived around 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece. His home was Samos, an island in the eastern Aegean Sea. There is no evidence that Aesop ever wrote anything down. He probably just told them orally by remembering the stories he told. About 2,000 years later, a monk wrote down Aesop’s wonderful tales and they have been known as “Aesop’s Fables” ever since.

Aesop is considered by many to be the father of fables with more than six hundred stories. A fable is a very short story with a lesson to teach to children, called a moral. Fables are fun to tell, and help teach good behavior as well. Most of the characters in Aesop’ fables are animals. Some of them take on human characteristic with speeches and emotions. Aesop uses the qualities and natural tendencies of animals to focus on human traits and wisdom.

In Aesop’s time, the fable was used in arguments of persuasion. Telling a fable allowed a speaker to avoid being offensive while arguing a controversial point in an indirect manner. Aesop’s work was often quoted by Socrates, Aristophanes, and other influential thinkers.

Today, Aesop’s fables are used as a tool for teaching children. The fables could delight and entertain a child while teaching good behaviors and personalities. Many different versions of Aesop’s fables were published with children as the target market. Aesop’s fables have also inspired movies, television shows, and modern books. One of the most interesting adaptations of Aesop’s work, however, was a TV series named “Aesop’s Fables” play by Bill Cosby.

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