Folklore

A:

According to Greek and Roman mythology, the salamander is a spirit that resides in fire. A common belief as to the origin of this myth stems from the fact many salamanders live in wood chips. When this wood is thrown into the fire, the salamanders come scurrying out.

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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 did superstitions start?

    Q: How did superstitions start?

    A: 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 color was Santa's suit originally?

    Q: What color was Santa's suit originally?

    A: Researchers at the BBC insist that the red and white of Santa's suit has been around for quite some time. Some people have stated that Santa's original suit was a more subdued hue similar to tan.
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  • What is the source of conflict in the short story "Rip Van Winkle"?

    Q: What is the source of conflict in the short story "Rip Van Winkle"?

    A: The central conflict of "Rip Van Winkle" involves competing visions of American society following the Revolution. In the story, Washington Irving reveals an America falling short of its romanticized vision. He presents this symbolically through the journey of his title character, Rip.
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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 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 are traditional tales?

    Q: What are traditional tales?

    A: Traditional tales are stories that are passed down orally as part of the shared tradition of a culture. Traditional tales include myths, folk tales and legends. These tales often include fantasy elements and metaphorical lessons.
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  • What is the legend of the gingerbread man?

    Q: What is the legend of the gingerbread man?

    A: The legend of the gingerbread man exists in many forms, but it always consists of an animate, humanoid gingerbread cookie who is forced to flee from creatures who wish to eat him. The gingerbread man encounters many creatures but is ultimately tricked and eaten by a cunning fox.
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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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  • What is the moral of "Rip Van Winkle"?

    Q: What is the moral of "Rip Van Winkle"?

    A: The moral of "Rip Van Winkle" is that life passes by with or without a person and that change is inevitable. The story also shows that a person will pay dearly when they try to avoid change; in many ways, Irving is asking his readers to be active participants in their own lives and enjoy each moment.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • Who wrote the book "Cinderella"?

    Q: Who wrote the book "Cinderella"?

    A: Cinderella was written and published under the name "The Little Glass Slipper" in 1697 by Frenchman Charles Perrault. In 1812, the Brothers Grimm published the story in their famous book of fairy tales.
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  • Who wrote the first Robin Hood story?

    Q: Who wrote the first Robin Hood story?

    A: Around 1377, the poem "Piers Plowman," by William Langland, made a passing reference to a character thought to be Robin Hood. A tale known as "Robin Hood and the Monk" was written about 1450, but the author is unknown.
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  • What is the Lizzie Borden nursery rhyme?

    Q: What is the Lizzie Borden nursery rhyme?

    A: The rhyme based on Lizzie Borden and the murder of her parents is: "Lizzie Borden took an axe, And gave her mother forty whacks; When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one," as cited by History.com.
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  • Can vampires have babies?

    Q: Can vampires have babies?

    A: According to folklore, a male vampire can father children with a living woman. Sometimes known as dhampirs, such children exhibit unusual tastes for blood, and some have advanced hearing, smell and taste.
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  • Where does the story of Cinderella take place?

    Q: Where does the story of Cinderella take place?

    A: The geographical location of the kingdom in which Cinderella lives is not established in any of the known versions of the fairy tale. Since there are over 345 variants of the story from different times and cultures, it is difficult to infer where the original kingdom may have been located.
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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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