What Are Myths, Legends and Tales? The Following Definition, Characteristics and Types


INDEPHEDIA.com - In various parts of the world various ethnic groups, communities and certain regions have myths, legends and fairy tales with various stories and types.

Following are the definitions, characteristics and types of myths, legends and fairy tales, including the differences between the three.

A. Myth

Myth comes from the word mythos (Greek) which means something that is revealed.

The term myth has quite a lot of meanings. Starting from general understanding, to understanding based on various experts.

Myth is part of a folklore in the form of stories set in the past, containing interpretations of the universe.

This interpretation is expressed in the story and is considered to have really happened by those who own the story or their adherents.

Myth in a broader sense can refer to a traditional story or - in everyday conversation - a misguided thing in society or an imaginary entity.

In another sense, myth is defined as a story that has symbolic nature and tells a series of real and imaginary stories.

In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), myth is a nation's story about ancient gods and heroes, containing interpretations of the origins of the universe, humans and nations.

Myths can arise as exaggerated accounts of historical events, as allegories or personifications of natural phenomena, or as explanations of rituals.

Events are propagated to convey religious experiences or ideals, to model certain traits.

Examples of myths, such as the creation of the world and the existence of both real and unreal beings in it.

In general, myths tell about the occurrence of the universe and its topography, the state of the world and its inhabitants, descriptions of mythological creatures and so on.

A myth does not have to be supported by scientific facts. Therefore, the word myth is often used to refer to beliefs that are not based on scientific facts, or are interpreted incorrectly.

However, this word has a different meaning when based on scientific studies. Because, myth can mean a story that serves to describe the fundamental insights of a culture.


1). The story that is believed to have really happened by the community of supporters.

2). Even though it sometimes seems strange, for some people it is very meaningful and important.

3). The story is simple, because it only consists of a few simple motives and plots.

4). Usually in the narrative activities will be accompanied by certain ceremonies.

5). People who believe in it consider the stories contained in it to be sacred and sacred.

6). Usually has a background time and place in ancient times.

7). The characters in the story are related to important beings in the cultural sense in the society concerned.

8). Its resilience depends on the strength and trust of the people.

Types of Myths

1). The Creation Myth, which tells the story of the creation of a universe that did not exist before.

2). The Cosmogenic myth that tells about the creation of the universe.

3). The Myth of Origins tells of the origin or beginning of an animal, the type of plant, an institution, place, name and a series of others.

4). Theogynic myths are stories told about gods and supernatural beings.

5). Anthropogonic myths are related to the occurrence of humans.

6). Myths related to transformation discuss changes in human and world conditions in the future.

Myth Function

1). Aims to develop symbols that are full of meaning and also explain the environmental phenomena encountered.

2). Aims as a guide for the supporting community. Nothing but to foster social solidarity among members.

This is so that he can differentiate between one community and another.

3). Aimed at being the most effective means of education, in particular to reinforce and instill certain cultural values, social norms and beliefs.

B. Legend

In areas in Indonesia and even in various parts of the world there are legends, such as someone's supernatural powers, miracles and miracles.

Before being written down --some are not written down--, legends are usually spread by word of mouth.

Therefore, most of the legends are unclear as to who created it. However, if it is written, someone usually writes from the legend.

Definition of Legend

The term legend has quite a lot of meanings. Starting from general understanding, to understanding based on various experts.

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), legends are ancient folklore related to historical events.

Legend stories resemble myths and are considered semi-imaginary, but have sacred values or are not considered sacred by some people like myths.

According to another understanding, legend is a genre of folklore consisting of narratives featuring human actions.

The narrative is believed or believed by the storyteller and listeners as a true story that once happened.

Narratives in this genre can convey human values, and have certain qualities that make the story seem real.

In another sense, legend is a form of folklore that is widespread in society and is legendary.

Legend stories are often interpreted as stories about the origins of an area, place, heritage, or something of historical value.

Characteristics of Legend Stories
  • Characteristics that seem to really happen.
  • Secular or mediocre.
  • Legendary figures are common folk.
  • Collective history is different from real history.
  • A story that often twists history.
  • Based on movement in nature.
  • The nature of the cycle which means reflecting the characteristics of a certain time.
  • Legend Types
  • The types of legends can be classified into four types, namely Religious, Mysterious, Individual (Personal) and Local Legends.
C. Fairy Tales

Fairy tales are folk prose stories that don't really happen and are often nonsensical or fantasy in many ways.

Fairy tales function as entertainment and are also a means of conveying moral messages to listeners when spoken and to readers when written.

Many fairy tales come from stories passed down from ancestors. Therefore, fairy tales are classified as old literature that has existed and developed from ancient times.

Definition of Fairy Tales

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), a fairy tale is a story that doesn't really happen, especially strange events in ancient times.

Because the story does not really happen, fairy tale is a fictitious folktale with imaginative and often nonsensical themes.

Fairy tales can be related to people's belief in something supernatural and implemented in everyday human life.

Usually fairy tales involve extraordinary events that make listeners (spoken) or readers (read) feel the atmosphere that is happening in the story.

Fairy Tales
  • Is fictitious or imaginary.
  • The story is short with a simple storyline.
  • Opening sentences generally begin with words and sentences, such as "in ancient times, in the past, once upon a time, once upon a time, and so on".
  • Characters or figures in the story are usually not conveyed in detail.
  • There are two or more characters with opposing characters, namely good and evil characters.
  • Written in an oral narrative style.
  • There are different versions because of the way word of mouth spread
  • Contains a moral message that can be learned by readers or listeners
  • It is not known exactly who the author is.
Types of Fairy Tales

1. Legend

Legend is folklore that exists in people's lives and relates to an event.

Events in folklore can give rise to the origins of a place, an area name or matters related to nature and the surrounding environment.

Examples of legends, such as The Bitter Tongue and The Four Eyes, Tangkuban Perahu, the Legend of Lake Toba, Crying Stones and so on.

2. Myth

Mite or myth is a type of fairy tale related to people's belief in things that don't make sense.

Usually, Mite stories relate to spirits, gods, or other supernatural things.

Mite examples, such as Joko Tarub, Dewi Sri, Nyi Roro Kidul and so on.
3. Fables

Fables are fairy tales in which the main characters are animals but have human-like character and behavior.

Fairy tales of the Fable type are often found in fairy tales between animals, for example in forests or other places.

Examples of fables, such as the mouse deer and the crocodile, the turtle and the mouse deer and the clever mouse deer and so on.

4. Sage

Sage is a fairy tale that tells about the history of certain characters who have kindness, courage, supernatural powers and heroism.

Sage contains historical elements that have been mixed with folk fantasy stories.

Examples of Sage, such as Si Pitung, Lutung Kasarung, Panji Laras, Calon Arang and so on.

5. Parabel

A parable is a story that contains educational values, be it religious, moral, or general education which is conveyed implicitly.

Examples of parables, such as Malin Kundang, Hikayat Bayan Budiman, Damarwulan and so on.

6. Joke

Jokes or jokes are funny stories played by the characters. Examples of humor, such as Si Kabayan, Pan Balang Tamak, Singa Rewa and so on.

7. An Ordinary Fairy Tale

Ordinary Fairy Tales contain stories of ups and downs and someone's dreams.

Examples of Ordinary Fairy Tales, such as Garlic and Shallots, Ande-ande Moss, Cinderella and so on. (*)

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