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What Are The 8 types of myths? (New 2024) - Mastering Arts and Charts

There are a great many types of myths that exist in out world.

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Myths exist as a form of telling us who we are, where we come from, what we are meant to do in the world, and they also exist simply because they are fun goddammit. That’s basically the full scope of the types of myths that exist.

However, if you find that you want to have a more detailed breakdown of these types of myths (and how you can use them to create a killer story), then please, read on..

Table of Contents


    Fables are short stories that feature magical elements which seeks to teacher the reader a moral lesson of sorts.

    Fables are stories that are a succinct in their nature, and tend to feature specific magic types.

    Like many other myth types that you will see in this article, the fable story type is a fairly succinct story. Also, it tends to possess some magical elements. However, it’s distinguishing feature is that the magical elements are usually anthropomorphized animals, objects, and forces of nature.

    The main reason being that these stories are usually geared towards teaching younger audiences.

    Also like a few of the other myth types in this article, a fable seeks to educate the listener. However, the fable is unique in that it tends to educate on morality, and also targets specifically children. As a consequence, it needs these anthropomorphized elements in order to get a message across to younger audiences.

    This story type could be considered a subgenre of fantasy that is most similar to fairy tales.

    Fairy tales

    Fairy tales are short stories which tend to feature magical elements, and aim to teach the listeners about the mores of the specific culture it derives from.

    First and foremost, fairy tales are a subgenre of the folk lore story types, more than they are a subgenre of the fantasy story type.

    Much like fantasy stories, fairy tales often have magical creatures and other magical elements in the story. On top of that, they tend to have a lot of moral lessons, which is something that could make people see them as fables. However, these stories’ themes tend to be so diverse, they do not give the proper moral punch to be seen as fable. On top of that, the stories are also so succinct and short, they can’t be considered fantasy stories.

    Instead, fairy tales are teach the mores, and moral customs of that specific community.

    Fairy tales often feature characters that are considered to be real, or locations considered to be real. On top of that, the morals that they teach tend to be specific to the culture, explaining why the people believe the things they do. Finally, fairly tales were often passed down orally, meaning that they have all the traits of oral story telling; repetition, songs, and recurring motifs.


    Folktales are stories that tends to tell a story about the people from the culture, a place from the culture, or the practices of the people.

    Folk tales are the first stories that we will be addressing which are not often short in their size.

    Folk tales immediately distinguishes itself from all the others by using real life historical figures. In this way the stories tend to be distancing themselves from fairy tales, and other sorts of stories which have a lot of magic. This is not to say unbelievable inhuman things do not happen in folk tales. It’s just that those things are usually given a more realistic explanation.

    The reason for this is that folk lore tends to exist for the purpose of entertaining, and educating people.

    Folk lore tend to educate the people of the community about what happened to x, or why theu should not do x. However, they may also exists as a means of just trying to entertain people.

    Examples of folk lore is the story of the blues singer who sold his soul to the devil to learn how to play well.


    Sagas are long stories that span a long period of time and highlight the achievements, and events of people from the past.

    Sagas are stories that existed in societies that did not have writing. So they kept their history in stories, until it eventually got to the point where it was something like an oral poem.

    First, and foremost, the purpose of sagas is education. This story type is different from other story types – such as fairy tales, and fables. Sagas do not stress the fantastical elements of their story. Instead they stress the specific actions, and events performed by other characters..

    The reason is that fantastical elements are used to teach these moral behaviors.

    We have covered in other articles the differences between fantasy and fiction. One of those differences is that fantasy seeks to teach moral character through the introduction of magic systems. Additionally, sagas are different in that they attempt to educate people.

    The most accurate way to define saga stories is as a form of folklore tale.

    These folklore tales tend to be educational about the culture. A great example of sagas is those that you see in Scandinavian countries. These countries have stories about Vikings, and so they try their best to be educational. Of course, they add magical elements, but that is only because these people genuinely believe these things were real.


    An epic is a myth that tends to be a long narrative poem, written in a specific pentameter, and written for the sake of entertaining, and educating.

    The most respected form of myths is going to have to be the epic poem myth.

    The Iliad is often known as the Bible of the Greeks, and this is not without good reasons. Much like the Bible, the Iliad was used as a means of educating people back in those eras. It taught people about how to behave in the world, and even further, it gave the Greeks a clear idea of where they came from.

    This is why it is a perfect illustration of what epic poems tend to be, and why they are so respected.

    Additionally, Epic poems tend to be a glimpse into the everyday lives of people in the past. From their beliefs, to their everyday practices, and rituals, we learn a number of things from epic poems. Firstly, we can learn the languages of the people, and who else could have been related to them.

    Also, epic poems tend to be written in a specific pentameter style.

    This shows us how the poem could have been performed at its hay day. Finally, we learn how to understand relative cultures, and what behaviors can be seen as typical in societies. Epic poems may feature real people and mythical beings. They may also feature real locations, things, and historical figures turned to myths.


    A legend is a myth that is a traditional story told by a group of people, or sometimes a specific nation.

    Legends are the best examples of folk lore around, because they show culture.

    By their nature, legends are popular stories, and receive their status as “legendary” for their popularity. However, they are often people around a specific group of people, due to how they resonate with those people. This makes legends to be cultural stories, and the types of stories that show the values of a unique group.

    Additionally, legends tend to be historical stories, however they are usually unvarifiable.

    Magic is not necessarily a part of legends. Many legends are told with no magical elements however, a great number may feature a piece that is clearly magical. The purpose of legends is to entertain, and teach people about their history, and maybe even morals.

    However, legends tend to not be as personalized as fables, and epic poems in their messages.

    Etiological Tales

    Etiological tales are mythological stories that seek to explain the origin of a specific practice, place, person, or thing.

    The world etiological is derived from the word “aetion” which means “reason: explanation”, which should tell you everything you need to know about this type of myth.

    Unlike all the other stories, the aetiological storie does not have a clearly defined length. It is not necessarily a long story, and it is also not necessarily a short story. The only purpose of the story is to tell the message with no consideration of the size.

    This leads to a second way that this story differs from other story types we have come across: its educational purposes.

    The other stories seek to educate. They try to teach you about moral stories. In other stories, tehy try to teach you about your ancestors to explain where you come from. However, an etiological story does not teach to educate about those sorts of things. Instead it seeks to educate about the origins of things.

    This could be something like why the zebra has spots, why the sun spins the earth (just bare with me for a moment), and why the lion has a mane while other animals do not. You see how distanced this form of education is?

    It shows the origins of practices, names, locations, rituals, and physical locations.

    Historical Tales

    The next form of myth we will be looking at is a historical myth, which is a myth that covers historical events, and historical people.

    A historical myth is a myth that gives an idea of something that happened at a specific location a long time ago.

    The main purpose of a historical myth is to keep a historical moment alive in the minds of people. A great example would be the story of how Switzerland came to be. This myth tells the Swiss people why their gun culture is important to them, and why remaining neutral is crucial to them.

    It is these types of stories that tend to be used most in propaganda.

    These stories are often used to give symbolic wait to moments in history. Additionally, they may feature magical elements, and may even have supernatural figures come into the battle. This is often an angel of sorts.

    However, these stories are often given more weight by the fact that they can be proven.

    This is what makes these myths different from legends. Legends are stories that cannot be proven. Historical myths are also fantastical stories, but they often can be proven.

    Psychological Tales

    Psychological myths are myths that attempt to educate people about why their mind works the way it does, and they do this through the anthropomorphizing emotions.

    Psychological myths exist for the purpose of education, and not much of entertainment.

    This is not to say they cannot be entertaining. The story of Eros, and Psyche is one of the most popular love story. However, that story is a story that turns real life emotions – in this case, love and reason- into living people. This is done in order to educate the reader about the process of falling inlove.

    The purpose of this education can be etiological.

    Maybe they are trying to explain why people feel the way they do. However, it also serves another reason. In a lot of cultures, they believed these emotions could be sacrificed to and worshipped. So these myths served the purpose of human behavioral, and emotional control.