Difference Between Myths & Folk Tales

Remember when you were a child and your grandmother or mother used to tell you bedtime stories about beasts, superheroes, the supernatural, and fairies? As a child, it all seemed very real and mesmerizing. However, now that you are grown up, you know that these stories were a mix of reality and imagination with imaginary characters that were created long ago and have been passed down from one generation to another. The words folk tales, myths, legends, and fairy tales can be confusing, which is why people often use them interchangeably. However, there are differences between myths and folk tales that will become clear after reading this article.

We live in a modern world with knowledge and explanations for most phenomena. Try to imagine the world 200 years ago, when there was no electricity, TV, computers, or even printing press. At that time, the only way to pass on knowledge was through oral means, and the entire culture or knowledge base had to be passed on to the next generation orally in the form of stories.


When we talk about folk tales and myths, we are walking on the same continuum, with myths growing out of religious traditions. In times when people had very limited knowledge, attempts to explain natural phenomena often involved gods and supernatural creatures to satisfy human beings. Humans have always been inquisitive, and this nature led to the creation of stories about the origin of the earth, volcanoes, earthquakes, lightning, etc., based on religion involving gods and other creatures. These myths continued to be passed down to the next generation, with the story becoming more colorful and hard to believe over time. As myths involved gods, they became sacred in nature but remained attempts to explain reality in a very unrealistic manner.

Folk Tales

Folk Tales are narratives of ordinary people and their lives, with problems and solutions to these problems. These stories are culture-specific and often involve imaginary creatures, fairies, angels, and monsters. The origin of folk tales lies in the tradition of storytelling in different cultures. A folk tale cannot be traced to a single author and becomes the work of many people, as something new gets added with each generation. The folk tales that have imaginary characters such as fairies, dwarfs, elves, giants, and trolls are referred to as fairy tales.

Key Takeaways

  • Myths originated from the need to explain natural events and phenomena, often involving gods as central characters to satisfy people.
  • Folk tales came into existence as a way to pass on knowledge in the form of stories, involving common people and their lives with imaginary characters like fairies and monsters.
  • Myths are more focused on explaining the origin of the earth and mankind, while folk tales often involve problem-solving and life lessons.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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