Myths and Legends

We are living in a world of myths and legends. The basis of this statement stems from the fact that myths and legends are present all around the world. Learning about these myths and legends are so much fascinating. It gives us a glimpse of different cultures and traditions.  Look anywhere in the world and you will find some amazing myths. There are Norse, Indian, Chinese, Greek, British, Roman, Japanese, Native American and Egyptian mythologies. At many places mythologies are also referred as religions.
But the perspective differs here. What is myth for one can be religion for another and vice versa. Mythology is basically the interpretation of various myths of a particular culture.  Myths are typically very old stories. Some of them are in existence even before writing was invented. Myths have been passed from one generation to another in oral fashion. Myths and legends are fascinating to hear and learn. Some of them are plain stories whereas some other contains deeper hidden meanings.
The reason for considering myths as somewhat closer to religion is that myths typically involved stories of gods and supreme beings. These myths also present facet of magical power demonstrated by the Gods. Legends are primarily fictional stories associated with a historical place or person. It is different from a symbolic narration. Stories related to Robin Hood and King Arthur is considered as top legends.
These stories have been elaborated several times in the course of history. Many myths and legends have been explained in written forms. Unlike folk tales, that were mostly transmitted orally, Myths and legends has literary dimension to them.  Some of the most popular Myths and legends are from Greek and Roman culture. Indian mythology is another great source of stories. Similarly, Egyptian and British can boast of a proud mythological culture. Myths are timeless and symbolic in nature.

Let’s read some of the most fascinating mythical stories and legends.

In the Greek mythology, Odysseus is known as the one of the greatest Greek heroes. He was the son of Laertes and Anticlea and was protected by the Goddess of Wisdom, Athena. Odysseus was the king of Ithica and had a wife named Penelope and a son, Telemachus. He is considered as the bravest warrior in the Trojan War. The Trojan War had taken place between Trojans and the Greeks. Odysseus also had a reputation of being an extremely brainy hero.
The Trojan War is definitely one of the greatest war stories in the Greek Mythology. The war took place because the prince of Troy had taken away beautiful Helen, who was the wife of king of Sparta. Helen was also the cousin of Penelope, wife of Odysseus. It was prophesised that if Odysseus participates in the war, he would not be able to return to his kingdom for a long time. So to avoid this, Odysseus had decided not to take part in the war but Palamedes came to his kingdom and caught Odysseus who was playing tricks like a mad man. Odysseus was now compelled to join the war though he hated Palamedes for this.
Odysseus was known as a great warrior with experience of numerous battles and conquests. During the war, when Achilles was killed, it was unanimously decided that arms and armour of Achilles would be given to the bravest warrior. Odysseus was chosen for this honour. The war went on for ten long years yet the Greeks could not capture the city of Troy.
Odysseus came up with a brilliant plan of large wooden horse to be given as gift to the Trojans. But inside the wooden horse, 50 brave Greek warriors would be hidden, carrying the responsibility of attacking the Troy palace. Trojans accepted the gift and took it inside where the hiding soldiers came out in the night and burned the entire city.
The city of Troy was conquered but Odysseus continued his battles. While he was coming back to Ithica, he fought a one-eyed monster named Cyclops and blinded him. Cyclops was son of Sea God, Poseidon, who did not allow Odysseus to have a comfortable journey back home. Because of that Odysseus was forced to travel many islands and kingdoms back and forth. This journey went on for ten long years. This return journey is also known as Odysseus which is considered as an epic poem written by Homer.

Abduction of Persephone
Greek myths and legends are very fascinating. There are numerous tales of Greek Gods and Goddesses. This story goes about the king of the Gods Zeus and the Goddess of the crops, Demeter. They had a daughter named Persephone. One fine day when Persephone was out in the open gathering wild flowers, Hades, the God of the Underworld abducted her. Underworld was the place where dead live. Demeter could not take this incident and started to wander in search of her dear daughter.
Demeter roamed across the length of the earth looking for Persephone. During the course of her search, she arrived in Eleusis in the disguise of an old woman. The king and queen of Eleusis were looking for a nurse for their son and they took Demeter in the palace. The goddess used to place the prince in the fire every night when everyone was fast asleep. But one night the queen peeked and saw the entire incident and got hysterical. She snatched the baby from Demeter so the goddess had to reveal her identity. She also disclosed that baby would have been made immortal had queen not interfered as all the mortal parts of the prince had been burned away.
Demeter left the palace and met Hecate, the Goddess of the Witchcraft. Hecate suggested Demeter to ask Helios, the Sun who must have seen Persephone during his daily course across the sky. Helios disclosed that Hades had abducted her daughter and Demeter was left with no choice but to complain Zeus. But Hades was also the brother of God Zeus so the latter refused to meddle in between. Demeter could not take it and withdrew from her role of goddess. Crops would not grow without her and soon famine threatened to engulf the entire human race.
At last, Zeus asked Hades to let Persephone go. When Persephone came back to her mother, Demeter asked her whether Hades had made her eat anything. Persephone admitted to eat a pomegranate seed and because of that she now has to spend one-third of each year in the underworld as the wife of Hades, and rest of the two-thirds of the year with her mother. So whenever Persephone spends her time in the underworld, Demeter mourns and refuses to allow crops to grow until she gets her daughter back again. The story also explains the yearly cycle of growth and harvest.