Fairy Tales, Folklore & More

Folklore: Definitions & Differences

Folklore: Beliefs, customs and traditions practiced by and passed among a group of people who share some connection, including:

Fables: Short comic tales making a moral point about human nature, usually through animal characters behaving in human ways.

Fairy Tales: Traditional folktales adapted and written down for the entertainment of children, usually featuring marvellous events and characters, such as princesses, talking animals, ogres, and witches.

Folktale: A story passed on by word of mouth rather than by writing, and thus partly modified by successive re‐tellings before being written down or recorded. The category includes legends, fables, jokes, tall stories, and fairy tales or Märchen. Many folktales involve mythical creatures and magical transformations.

Legends: Stories told as though they are true, set in the real world and in relatively recent times.

Myths: Religious stories that explain how the world and humanity developed into their present form. Myths are considered to be true among the people who develop them.

Nursery Rhymes: Traditional rhymes which are passed on to children while they are still of nursery age.

Proverbs: Short, sometimes witty, comments on human life and manners, deriding fools or noting consequences or the absurd. They are maxims to express faith and right conduct.

Superstitions: Widely held but irrational beliefs in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck.

Tall Tales: Anecdotes about astonishing exploits and adventures.

Note: Definitions provided by Oxford Reference Online and World Book Online.

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