Myth:A story that is typically based on a fictional historical event that outlines some kind of hero, and normally explains a practice or belief. This is a broad definition for myths though. Myths can range, as there is many different kinds of myths. This is just what most of them are typically about. Common myths explain the stories of many Greek Gods from the well known Zeus to the God of sun, Apollo; but myths include events from everything.

Example of a Myth:When Achilles was a baby his mother, Thetis, the sea nymph, was warned that he would die in battle, so Thetis had to chose to let him die young in battle or let him live a normal life. As most mothers would Thetis wanted Achilles to live a long life so she took him to the River Styx, a boundary between earth and the underworld. This River was known for giving people invincibility, so Thetis dipped Achilles into the river by his heel giving everything but his heel invincibility. As Achilles grew older he fought in many battles, and was unstoppable. He won many wars his country. As time passed another war arrived, the Trojan War. Here Achilles led his country to fight in one of history’s largest battles. Towards the end of the war Achilles and his men performed a night attack. They snuck into the enemy’s castle and raided it. During this Achilles was shot in his heel, the only non invincible part of his body by an arrow and slowly died. Achilles will be remembered as one of the greatest and most handsome warriors in time.

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What is a Folktale?
A folktale is basically a story that has been created by common people and passed down through the generations. Folktales are normally shared among people by word of mouth. These stories are normally anonymous and change over time depending where it is told and who the story is being told by. Folktales normally include peasants getting the better of their superiors, as well as animals taking on human characteristics. Fairy tales are also common types of folk tales.

Example of a Folktale/Fairytale:
An old miller went wanted to impress the king of his village. He told the King that his daughter, Rose, had the ability to weave straw into gold. To test this, the King locked the miller’s daughter in a room filled with straw for three days. He told Rose that if she did not weave all of the straw into gold, her head would be cut off. Upset by this news, Rose began to cry and question how she was supposed to pull this off. Suddenly, a little man with a long gray beard showed up. He told Rose that he would weave the straw into gold for her, but only if she gave him something in return. She quickly agreed. The first night, Rose gave the little man a ring. The second night, she gave him a necklace. But by the third night, Rose had run out of things to give the little man. He told Rose that he would spin the last bit of straw into gold for her if she would give him her first born child. For fear of having her head cut off, she agreed. Because Rose managed to turn the straw into gold, the King of the village made Rose his queen. Rose had her first born and the little man had showed up to take his end of the bargain. She refused to give her baby up. The little man told Rose that he would let her keep her baby if she managed to guess his name. She was only given three days and three guesses. Rose sent out messengers to spy on the little man to find out his name and they did. Rose was able to guess his name was Rumpelstiltskin and was able to keep her baby.
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Myth, Legend, and Folktale:A myth is a fictional event that doesn’t really have human qualities in it. For example a lot of myths are about gods that have “super powers”, and other things that just don’t fit humans. As for legends they include events that fit our history and also include human qualities. Also legends are usually based on true events. For example Bigfoot is classified as a legend because there has been sitings of a Bigfoot before. As for folktale is described as events of everyday lives. There is a main character and this character just goes through their everyday life, and things they encounter. For example there is Robin Hood. Robin Hood is about a archer in the medieval times and things he goes through everyday.

Why are the Olympian Stories Myths?
Myths are usually set in the times of history before we actually knew what happened. The stories of the Olympians took place way before the Romans/Greeks had been established. Myths are also normally about “gods” or super-humans, and as we know, the Olympians are the gods that the Greeks and Romans looked up to, and they had super powers such as the ability to make it rain, make crops abundant, and even immortality. These tales tell the events and adventures of gods and goddesses. The stories of the Olympians tell us about the triumphs of the Trojan War, and the tragedies of lost love. Myths become part of peoples’ cultures, just as the Romans and Greeks had done with the stories of the Olympians. They lived their lives according to how the gods said they should. Also, myths are used to explain science in the earlier days. The Romans and Greeks believed that if something that couldn’t be explained happened, it was due to the
Gods. The stories of the Olympians aren’t considered legends or folktales because legends are about peoples’ actions/ deeds and folktales are often written for children and about magical
creatures such as elves, fairies, and goblins.
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What is a Legend?
A legend is told in such a way, that it appeals to the story teller and the listener as if it were believed to have actually taken a part of history, and contains a certain quality that reaffirms its validity. Legends mostly stay within certain boundaries that can even include miracles that were believed to have actually happened, however, they also can change through out time to keep the story up-to-date and realistic.
Example of A Legend:An example of such a legend would be the tale of Robin Hood. There are many ballads that tell the tale of Robin Hood being a yeoman, a commoner who owns a small piece of land, who was unjustly robbed of said land, therefore going around to seek justice with his Merry Men, for those who have been unfairly taken advantage of, i.e. "steal from the rich, give to the poor". A lot of people believe Robin Hood was an actual person, because there are many real places that can be identified within the ballads. Such locations are Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, and the South of Yorkshire. It is believed that he existed in the mid-eleven hundreds to as late as the fifteen hundreds, as that is where most of his stories take place.


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Sources:

9/14/11
Myths and Legends
http://cuip.uchicago.edu/wit/2000/teams/onceupon/whatisit.html
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/folk+tale
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit%27s_foot

9/15/11
http://www.comedyimprov.com/music/schmoll/tales.html#----Rumpelstilskin----

9/16/11
http://www.planetozkids.com/oban/what-are-myths.htm

9/17/11
http://thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast.com/myths4.html
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/myth
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http://willdrawforcookies.blogspot.com
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http://minglebox.com
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http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/grecoromanmyth1/a/mythslegends.htm