Legends can have a strong connection to events in history. They are normally narratives that tell a story about characters in the legendary tale that are sometimes historical people, such as rulers or warriors, wrestling with supernatural and superhuman entities. Sometimes historical characters are imbued with mythic or magical powers, at the very least they have special talents.
The distinction between a legend and a myth can become fuzzy, since many legends derived supernatural or spiritual elements from mythology. Legends tend to relate stories about the world or even the lineage of particular members of society instead of stories about the spiritual or religious ideas.
Since a legend is tied to events in history, dragons in legend are sometimes considered ‘historical dragons.’ For example, in France, the dragon Tarasque is linked to a particular event in French history; as a result, the Tarasque is considered a ‘historical’ dragon.
The legend must include:
- a hero – usually with a divine influence in their birth
- a villain – a force that opposes the hero that can be viewed as evil
The stories about our hero must also include:
- a quest or journey – that usually benefits everyone except the hero
- obstacles or challenges the hero must overcome
- a struggle against apparently insurmountable odds
- eventual success!
The hero must confront the villain and use the skills learned through the different challenges or obstacles overcome along the journey. The ultimate success becomes a key to what makes the hero a legend and creates a platform for further stories on other adventures. Real or imagined!
These stories then become part of the myth surrounding the legend!
Urban myths and legends are something completely different entirely as they are often based on deliberately false or misleading information.
The truth is out there among the stories, we just need the wisdom to find it so that we can become the new legends into the modern age.