Folktales- see the many type of tales:
folktales  Folktales began with the oral retellings of stories that have magic in them.  They were told to either entertain their listeners, or to teach lessons about life.
Folktales are a genre that encompass many of the traditional tales that our parents and grandparents are used to. Examples of folktales are: fairytales,legends, fables, tall-tales and myths.
fairytale Fairytales sit within the genre of folktales. They have the following qualities about them: fairytales are magical and usually take place in lands far,far away.  They usually have some sort of royalty like kings, queens and princesses as characters.  Good usually wins in the end, and the stories begin with the familiar "once upon a time", and end with "the end".  Two modern fairytales that you're are sure to love are
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, and "The Horned Toad Prince" by Jackie Mims Hopkins.
Legends are diverse in nature. Some legends help to explain 'how or why the rabbit got its long ears'; these tales are also called pourquoi (pur-KWAH) tales.
Some legends, derived from either real or imagined heroes, are about the things these heroes did in life to make them and their lives stand out. ex: Johnny Appleseed.  Many legends were written by Native Americans to explain the unanswered questions about
the world; about nature.
fables Fables are stories about animals, often personified, who either learn a lesson, or who teach a lesson.  Fables have endings that state a moral. In other words, fables are stories that have talking animals that learn a lesson.
trickster tales
Trickster tales usually involve animals with human characteristics.  There is usually a surprise ending in which one character outwits another character. Briar Rabbit is a famous trickster character.
tall tales
Tall tales are stories that get more unreal, and more unbelievable by the sentence.  Tall tales are usually recognized because of their extreme exaggerations.  Many legendary tales, have characters like Johnny Appleseed who have led interesting lives. The events in their lives are greatly exaggerated and their stories have been turned into tall tales or legends. 
Myths are stories that try to explain some phenomenon of nature, origin of man, customs, and everyday challenges that people must deal with (jealously, competition, vanity, gluttony, character issues) . These traditional stories have been passed down from generation to generation; first orally and then much later in written form.
ex: Greek Gods or heroes, see: Heroes in Greek Mythology by Karen Bornemann Spies (copyright 2002)




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