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The Blue Lady of Temple Newsam

Myths, Legends and Ghost Stories

Storytelling has been common to every culture for thousands of years. Stories were told in the past to explain beliefs about the world (e.g. myths), to remember the great deeds of past heroes (e.g. legends), to teach moral ideas or just for entertainment. Stories have been told verbally or through pictures and drawings, even on cave walls!


What are Legends? 

A legend is a traditional story about the past. Some well known legends include the Ancient Greek story of Odysseus and the old English story of King Arthur. Can you think of some other examples? Usually a legend has some historical truth to it. However, the story has been exaggerated to include magical or larger than life ideas. Legends often have heroes and fantastical places in them.

What are Myths?

A myth is a story based on a tradition rather than any real events or people. Myths have been used by different cultures to help explain difficult ideas about the world. For example explaining where the world came from. Myths often involve supernatural beings and have a moral to help people to decide between right and wrong. For example, the hurt, failure or embarrassment experienced by one of the characters is usually down to their own stupidity, greed or dishonesty.


What are Ghost Stories?

A ghost story is a scary story about ghosts, spirits or other supernatural beings. These stories have usually been passed down through different generations. The stories can show what the fears, superstitions and beliefs were in different cultures.


Stories of all kinds can help us to understand how people in the past saw and understood the world around them. They can be a fun way to help us to make sense of our lives, our environments and ourselves.