Types of Oral Literature

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Once again, notes for an English Test.

Myths

Myths are stories that explain objects or events in the natural world as resulting from some supernatural force or entity, most often a god.

Legends

Legends are stories coming down from the past, often based on real events. These are also often regarded as historical. Sometimes they may have certain parts that are fantastic or unverifiable.

Folk Tales

Folk Tales are brief stories passed by word of mouth from generation to generation.

Tall Tales

Tall Tales are also Folk Tales. They are often lighthearted or humorous and contain highly exaggerated unrealistic elements.

Fairy Tales

Fairy Tales are stories that deal with mischievous spirits and other supernatural occurrences, often in a medieval setting.

Parables

Parables are very brief stories told to teach a moral lesson.

Fables

Fables are brief stories, often with an animal character, told to express a moral.

Spirituals

Spirituals are religious songs from African-American traditions.

Epics

An epic is a long story often told in verse involving heroes and gods. Epics have often been passed on orally and may have anonymous authors. Grand in length and scope, an epic provides a portrait of legends, beliefs, valves, laws, arts, and ways of life of a people.

Proverb

A proverb or adage, is a traditional saying.

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