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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  • Why Is an Owl a Bad Omen?

    Q: Why Is an Owl a Bad Omen?

    A: The role of an owl as a bad omen stretches back to ancient mythology in a number of cultures. Many cultures believe that owls signal an underworld, represent death or human spirits after death. Owls are not, however, universal omens.
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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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • 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 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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  • How Do Eagles Renew Their Youth?

    Q: How Do Eagles Renew Their Youth?

    A: There is a claim that eagles can renew their lives by biting off their feathers, talons and beaks and then regrowing them, but this is not true. The myth states that when eagles reach the age of 30, their physical condition critically deteriorates. By plucking out their bad feathers and beak, they are supposedly able to live another 40 years. This myth stems partially from a metaphor in the Bible.
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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 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 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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  • How Many Knights of the Round Table Were There?

    Q: How Many Knights of the Round Table Were There?

    A: Depending on the tradition one reads, besides Arthur there were between 12 knights and over 1,600. The most commonly accepted number, however, is the 25 knights shown on the Winchester Round Table.
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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 Moral of "Little Red Riding Hood"?

    Q: What Is the Moral of "Little Red Riding Hood"?

    A: The moral to the story of "Little Red Riding Hood" is that children must obey their parents and that they must never talk to strangers. Even a very friendly stranger is capable of having bad intentions.
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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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  • 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 Does an Elf Look Like?

    Q: What Does an Elf Look Like?

    A: Originally, elves were creatures of ancient Norse myth, and they looked like slender, small versions of fair-skinned blond Scandinavian people. As tales of elves spread throughout cultures and then literature, their appearances became increasingly varied.
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