Research topic: Fairytales and legends
Legends and fairytales are the most important prose genres within folklore, with legends being the most widespread.
A legend is a short narrative transmitted by word of mouth. The narrative will be about a named person and will frequently be linked to a particular location. These factors make the narrative more plausible.
In contrast to fairytales and ballads, many legends have survived until today as part of a living oral tradition. New legends have also been created. Urban legends is a term used to denote legends that deal with modern events and phenomena. These legends are communicated as much through the modern media, such as newspapers and the internet, as by word of mouth.
A fairytale is a prose narrative with fictional content that has survived as part of an oral tradition. A fairytale may often take real-life as its starting point, but will depart from the bounds of reality as the story unfolds.
Unlike legends, fairytales are generally not linked to a particular place and time. The protagonists in a fairytale tend to be standardised characters, often with descriptive names, e.g. "Askeladden" ("the Ash Lad"). Unlike a legend, a fairytale does not need to be plausible, but it will nonetheless reflect the conceptual world of the storytelling environment.