Folklore

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Sarah Albert at WebMD says that superstitions start when a ritual or belief is given magical significance. For instance, if a woman believes that a black cat crossing her path means she has to go back home and start over or suffer bad luck, she follows a superstition. Superstitions spread when they "work," and other people repeat them.

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  • What Are the Names of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs?

    Q: What Are the Names of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs?

    A: The seven dwarfs in the classic Disney film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" are Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy and Grumpy. The other main characters in the film include Snow White who is the kind and gentle princess who lives with the seven dwarfs, as well as the Evil Queen, the Prince, the Huntsman and the Magic Mirror.
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  • What Is the Story of "Swan Lake" About?

    Q: What Is the Story of "Swan Lake" About?

    A: The story of Swan Lake is a well-known classic story of romance with a tragic ending. It has been performed eloquently in ballet and in music.
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  • What Did Zeus Do?

    Q: What Did Zeus Do?

    A: Zeus did many things, but his most notable act was overthrowing his father Cronus and the rest of the Titans. After Zeus was born, his father wanted to eat him, but his mother protected him by hiding him in a cave. Once Zeus reached adulthood, he tricked his father into drinking a potion that made him regurgitate the rest of Zeus's siblings, and together, they overthrew Cronus.
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  • What Are Some American Folklore Legends?

    Q: What Are Some American Folklore Legends?

    A: American folklore legends come from several media, including oral traditions, ballads, literature and historical mythology. The most-famous legends often center around mythic figures such as Paul Bunyan, Casey Jones or John Henry. They occasionally involve monstrous creatures as well, such as prehistoric entities like Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil or the cryptozoological mystery of Champ, the beast of Lake Champlain.
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  • What Does "Wednesday's Child Is Full of Woe" Mean?

    Q: What Does "Wednesday's Child Is Full of Woe" Mean?

    A: The line "Wednesday's child is full of woe" is a part of a nursery rhyme known as "Monday's Child," sometimes attributed to Mother Goose; it predicts that children born on Wednesday are sad.
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  • How Are Fairies and Pixies Different?

    Q: How Are Fairies and Pixies Different?

    A: Pixies and fairies are both types of mythical creatures in human folklore and literature, but fairies derive from locations around the world, while pixies are considered beings native to Northern Europe, particularly England and the Scandinavian countries. Pixies and fairies appear in many books, works of art and even television shows and movies. Pixies and fairies are typically shown as minuscule creatures, but have different physical characteristics that set them apart.
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  • What Is the Moral of "The Fisherman and His Wife"?

    Q: What Is the Moral of "The Fisherman and His Wife"?

    A: The moral of "The Fisherman and His Wife" is that a person must be thankful for what he has and not always want more, lest it become impossible for him ever to be satisfied. Those who do not appreciate the small things likely do not have the capacity to appreciate anything and are destined to live a life deprived of joy.
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  • What Is the Theme of "Cinderella?"

    Q: What Is the Theme of "Cinderella?"

    A: The story of "Cinderella" has a number of different themes that include nature, morality and grace. Versions of the story date back to ancient Greece but the themes have remained the same in time.
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  • What Is the Nationality of Santa Claus?

    Q: What Is the Nationality of Santa Claus?

    A: According to the St. Nicholas Center, the persona of Santa Claus is loosely based on St. Nicholas, a bishop in Myra, Turkey who became the patron saint of children. Primarily through Dutch settlers celebrating his feast day, St. Nicholas became known as "Santa Claus" over time.
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  • What Is the Moral Lesson of the Story About the Rabbit and Turtle Race?

    Q: What Is the Moral Lesson of the Story About the Rabbit and Turtle Race?

    A: The moral of the story "The Tortoise and the Hare" is that the weakest opponent should never be underestimated. In the story, the rabbit is beat by the turtle in a race because he took a nap and underestimated the turtle's ability to pass him up.
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  • What Is the Blue Corn Moon in the Movie "Pocahontas?"

    Q: What Is the Blue Corn Moon in the Movie "Pocahontas?"

    A: The blue corn moon referred to in the song "Colors of the Wind" from "Pocahontas" is a fictitious concept and does not refer to any particular moon phase. The concepts of blue moon and full corn moon do exist and refer to different types of full moons occurring at various times of the year.
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  • Do Werewolves Really Exist?

    Q: Do Werewolves Really Exist?

    A: There is no credible scientific information to date that supports the existence of werewolves. Many scholars who study the history of werewolves disagree among themselves about what exactly a werewolf is, making it harder still to prove or disprove their existence.
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  • What Is the Name of the Giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk"?

    Q: What Is the Name of the Giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk"?

    A: In the original text of "Jack and the Beanstalk," the name of the giant is not given. However, most plays that are based on the story have the giant named Blunderbore. The giant goes by similar names in other versions of the story, including Blunderboar, Thunderbore, Blunderbus and Blunderbuss.
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  • What Is an Example of a Fable?

    Q: What Is an Example of a Fable?

    A: An example of a fable would be "The Ant and the Grasshopper," by the Greek fabulist Aesop. A fable is a short fictional story, often containing elements such as anthropomorphic animals, written for the benefit of a concluding maxim or moral.
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  • Why Do We Say "silly Goose"?

    Q: Why Do We Say "silly Goose"?

    A: The expression “silly goose” refers to a person who acts in a childish, foolish but somewhat comical way. This term originates from several sources. The entry in the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable states, “A foolish or ignorant person is called a goose because of the alleged stupidity of this bird." The Samuel Johnson dictionary describes geese as, “Large waterfowl proverbially noted, I know not why, for foolishness."
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  • Why Is There a Pot of Gold at the End of a Rainbow?

    Q: Why Is There a Pot of Gold at the End of a Rainbow?

    A: In Irish mythology, the pot of gold is hidden at the end of a rainbow by a small member of the fairy family called the leprechaun. Humans who are lucky enough to spot a leprechaun by following the rainbow may still have problems catching him because the fairies bestowed upon leprechauns the magical ability to disappear.
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  • How Long Do Vampires Live?

    Q: How Long Do Vampires Live?

    A: Vampires are purported to live forever, barring any type of attempt to kill them. Legend has it that a vampire can only be killed if it's stabbed through the heart with a stake, shot through the heart with a silver bullet, burned, beheaded or exposed to sunlight, although vampires are also intolerant of garlic, holy water and crucifixes.
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  • What Should a Vampire Look Like?

    Q: What Should a Vampire Look Like?

    A: While there is some variation depending on tradition, vampires usually are described as looking like ordinary people but with very pale skin that becomes flushed with the consumption of blood. Sometimes the lips and mouth of a vampire are described as red or bloodstained. This appearance is explained by LiveScience as a normal effect of decomposition.
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  • How Can You Become Healthy According to Old Wives' Tales?

    Q: How Can You Become Healthy According to Old Wives' Tales?

    A: Many old wives' tales exist that promise benefits of better health or to cure an ailment. In some cases, these tales are at least partially true. Common old wives' tales include those related to eyesight, joints and muscular health, and some claim to reduce doctor's visits and keep children free from disease.
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  • What Is the Best Way to Wish Someone Good Luck?

    Q: What Is the Best Way to Wish Someone Good Luck?

    A: Wishing someone good luck on their future endeavors is a friendly and polite gesture that can be done in a variety of ways, preferably by sending a handwritten note. The note may be accompanied by wishing the recipient well either in person or on the phone, depending on the relationship to him or her.
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  • What Is the Summary of "Hansel and Gretel"?

    Q: What Is the Summary of "Hansel and Gretel"?

    A: Hansel and Gretel is the story of two German children who discover a house made of confections in the woods near their house. The candy house is inhabited by a witch who feeds the children sweets so she can cook and eat them. When Gretel is asked to light the fire in order to cook Hansel, she pushes the witch into the oven instead and slams the door.
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