What Are the Characteristics of a Legend?

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According to the Encyclopaedia Brittanica, a legend is a traditional tale or group of tales told about a specific person or place. While some legends share common elements with myths, such as the presence of supernatural or mythical creatures, legends are generally accepted as based on fact.

The word “legend” originally pertained to a tale about a saint; historical characters often have their own legends, such as the tale of a young George Washington confessing to chopping down a cherry tree. Other legends tell the stories of strange creatures, such as the Loch Ness Monster or Sasquatch. Although legends are less fictionalized than folk tales or myths, they can feature a generous amount of exaggeration that makes the legend more dramatic, exciting and memorable.