Myth – A myth is simply a story told over and over and over again by a group of people. Generally, we use “myth” to connote an ancient, sacred narrative (the rape of Prosperine to generate seasonality, the striking of the heavenly spear into the Pacific to create Japan), not just any story. This is [...]



Legend – A legend is a folk tale based upon a historical incident. Legends are not fantastic, but they may stretch the limits of our understanding of history. Tales of miracle-workers are legends, for example, as is the improbable career of King Arthur. Tangherlini defines a legend as: A short (mono-) episodic, traditional, highly ecotypified [...]

Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale – Intended (sometimes) for children, this type of moralizing narrative often includes talking animals and magical plants—making it essentially a subset of fable–parable. The fairy tale has a long, rich tradition, courtesy of fairy-fanatics such as the Brothers Grimm, Lafcadio Hearn, Tim Burton, and Neil Gaiman. We know the genre when we encounter [...]

Fable versus Parable


Fable versus Parable - Narratology, criticism, and folkstudies give us plenty of rubrics by which to determine what is or is not a certain type of traditional story. For example, according to Wikipedia, a fable is “a brief story that features animals, plants, objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized, and that illustrates a moral [...]