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Difference Between Myths and Folk Tales

Myths vs Folk Tales

There is a fine line that draws the difference between folk tales and myths. On top of this, the confusion worsens as many similar genres come in-between them like legends and fairy tales among others. Nevertheless, all of these have become part of customary storytelling that both fascinates and frightens the minds of the young and old.

So what are the co-called myths? From the Greek term “mythos,” which is translated as “story.” A myth uses concepts of triumph, tragedy, honor, bravery, and foolishness. A piece of literature that is considered as a myth is either legend or tradition based. With this, myths have deep symbolisms that tell some piece of truth for those who listen and convey them.

Although it is not an entirely real occurrence or happening, some myths may have been influenced by real accounts, but these have been remade to become more symbolic with time or location shifts. Because of the nature of myths, it has been used to clarify or enlighten the public about certain phenomena like, for example, the universal beginning of time, and the existence of other non-worldly supernatural creatures. Myths have also survived for thousands of years because of their deep cultural links to which their meanings have been refined further.

By contrast, folk tales are more similar to popular stories by local folks which are handed down from generation to generation through oral (spoken) means. As such, the original author is ordinarily unknown, and many variations of the folk tale arise because of the interpretations that have been injected per oral transmission. Otherwise known as folklore, folk tales encompass many other literatures like fairy tales, fables, ghost stories, urban legends, and legends. Like myths, folk tales may be based on some truth that has been hidden or lost with the passing of time.

Because of their almost similar nature, myths and folk tales tend to overlap one another. Nevertheless, it is not really the realism of myths and folk tales that makes them important but on the invaluable lessons or messages that they impart to people.


1.Most myths have settings that take place at the beginning of time itself before the start of actual history.
2.Myths often highlight how individuals should treat one another and often have a religious inclination compared to folk tales.
3.Myths are usually bigger in scope as most of their subjects deal with the functioning of the world (i.e. why these things happen, or how the Earth formed, and other natural phenomena).
4.Myths include the stories of the gods. They are the central characters compared to a folk tale in which the common folk or non-superhuman being is the main focus.
5.Myths were created out of the need for humans to know about the beginning of everything and the need to know about the workings of the world and the origin of humanity whereas folk tales were created by the folk.

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  1. Myths:

    1). Myths use concepts are tragedy, honor, bravery, and foolishness
    2). Most myths take place at the beginning of time itself
    3). Myths mostly contains stories of gods or supernatural beings


    1). Folktales are handed down from generation to generation through spoken means
    2). Folktales are often told by truth that were hidden or lost from the pass of time
    3). Folktales often arise because of its interpretations injected into its oral transmissions

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