Legend Examples


A legend is a story that may be based around a historical event or person, but which accounts events that are of mythical quality. A legend is sometimes said to be somewhere between history and myth.

While a myth is often "pre-history" and is told to explain natural phenomena, legends are typically about actual historical figures or events that shaped a people or nation. The important thing to note is that while the figures and events in a legend may be factual, the legend often gives them mythical qualities-exaggerating the events and the heroism of the characters.

Examples of Legend:

There is historical evidence of a King Arthur who led the British against invaders. However, the details of the Arthurian legend-the knights of the round table, Camelot, and Queen Guinevere-are likely made up and exaggerated.

Robin Hood is a legendary outlaw in England who is said to steal from the rich to give to the poor. There is historical record of a "Robin Hod" or "Robehod" who failed to appear in a court in England in the 1200s.

Johnny Appleseed is a legendary figure in America, who is said to have planted apple trees all around the new territory. There is historical evidence of a John Chapman who did travel west and planted "nurseries" of apple trees as he traveled.

John Henry is another legendary figure in American history. He was an African-American steel driver on the railroad. He was said to be so strong and so fast that his boss said he could drive steel faster than a machine. John Henry raced the machine and won, only to die from his efforts.

There are also legends tied to well-known political figures. For example, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was said to not be able to tell a lie when he told the truth as a child about chopping down a cherry tree.

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Literary Terms Examples