What is the difference between say and say


The legend is a popular, anonymous, often fantastic and initially oral tradition. A legend takes place at a specific, very often historical, place and at a certain time, with a person often at the center who has to assert himself in a single event on his own. As a rule, the legend explains a regional peculiarity, a name or a folk belief, whereby it mostly pretends to be true. The Christian counterpart of the saga is the legend which tells of saints or religious events. Types of text that resemble the saga are myth, fable and fairy tale.

Concept and genre

The literary genre as well as the term were significantly influenced by the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, who pushed ahead with an investigation of the historical development of German-language literature. In the Grimm dictionary of 1893 the legend is called a lore of past events [which] lacks historical authentication and shaped by naive storytelling and tradition [is], which during its wandering [...] was transformed by the poetic faculty of the people's mind.

But even if the legend, if one follows the definition of the brothers, has a naive character and is only passed on through the vernacular, it gives the reader (or listener) always pretending to depict a truth. This claim, even if mythical creatures of all kinds, such as giants, wizards, elves and living plants, may appear in the text, is simulated by the specific location and time information.

Overview: Features of the saga

  • Legends are folk tales, which are usually passed down orally and only later put down in writing, i.e. written down. Because they are first passed down orally, there is often no clear originator, which is why such stories are mostly anonymous.
  • Legends are about inexplicable natural events that brought fear or blessings, tell of heroes and regional mythical creatures or explain the origin of (local) names. Legends mostly try to grasp a peculiarity (in nature, past etc.) or something inexplicable and to justify popular belief.
  • In contrast to fairy tales, the essential framework conditions in a saga are concrete. As a result, a specific place, a clear time and sometimes a hero, i.e. a person who experiences the whole thing, is named (see protagonist)whereby the saga looks credible.
  • As a result, the legend is usually based on true events and is thus linked to a true occasion. However, this is decorated and redesigned in free imagination, whereby magical, inexplicable and mythological elements play a role.
  • But even if these framework conditions are quite concrete, the saga can certainly be redesigned through its oral dissemination. Legends can to a certain extent wander, which is why similar stories circulate in different peoples or regions, but always adapt to the peculiarities of the respective environment (see hiking legends).
  • The legends are full of mythical creatures of all kinds. The focus is often on people who experience something, but they meet monsters, giants, fairies, talking plants or animals, wizards, witches, mermaids, werewolves, dragons, mermaids, dwarfs as well as similar mythical figures and supernatural powers of all kinds.
  • Sayings can also often be recognized at their beginning. Since they make a claim to truth, i.e. very specifically name the time, place and actors, they often begin with a reference to this very framework: A few years ago there was ... on this meadow ... years ago lived in the Schorfheide ... the residents of Berlin still speak of ...

  • Note for students: Sayings can usually also be recognized by their tense. Although they are usually told, i.e. passed on orally, they are nevertheless determined by the past tense, i.e. the first past.
  • Well-known German-language sagas (selection)
    • Rat catcher from Hameln: A man is said to have lived in Hameln in the 13th century who promised to free the city from the plague of rats. The citizens promised him a wage, whereupon he whistled a tune and thus lured the rats out of the city - but the citizens refused to pay him. He came back later and retaliated by luring the children out of town with a melody that was never to be seen again.

    • Flying Dutchman: Tells of a captain who is forever doomed to wander around the world on a ghost ship until the end of the world. His ship is said to have incredible abilities: it can sail backwards and fly through the air.

    • Rübezahl: Play in the Giant Mountains and the surrounding area. Rübezahl is a giant or mountain spirit who appears to people in different shapes. He is usually friendly towards good people, whereas he punishes those who ridicule him with his revenge.

Hiking legends

A legendary story is called a hiking saga, the core of which, i.e. the basic content, remains the same, but which is told differently in different regions. Most of the time, the same characters appear and the course of action is identical, whereas the outer frame (place names, heroes, country-specific peculiarities, etc.) is adapted.

Similar motifs often appear, such as vampires, the sacrifice of a virgin, walling up children, etc. The term is related to the urban legends and wandering anecdotes that are still circulating today: for example, in many schools there was once a student who answered the essay topic "Define Courage" submitted a page that only read:"That is courage!" and got a 1 for it or the well-known alligators that are said to be in the sewers of New York or other cities.

Note: The terms Wanderanektdote, Wandersage and urban legend are often mixed up in linguistic usage. Apart from the fact that it wanders from place to place, a hiking legend would have to fulfill the other characteristics of the legend. Otherwise it should be from Modern sagas to be spoken.

Types of saga

In general, three different types of legends can be identified in the past centuries. There are certain special forms and characteristics, but basically there are various characteristics that can be assigned to one or the other type. An overview:

Gods talesHeroic sagaFolk tale
Telling of the gods, how they created the world, their relationship to humans or their characteristics, tasks and duties.Concentrate on a person, a hero, form around individual personalities or report on ruling families and their power politics.Often takes place in the everyday life of the people, tells about nature and things that directly affect the people or their world.
Nature legendsStory tale
Say that wants to explain or justify circumstances through events in the past, for example a certain custom, an event, a natural phenomenon, a stone formation or the name of a body of water, mountain or holy place.Legends that tell of events from nature, such as water spirits, nymphs or spirits. Are often linked to certain regional characteristics.Process a concrete historical event or take up the name of a historical place, but invent an occurrence around it.

Difference: Legend, fairy tale, saga, fable, myth

Probably the greatest difficulty in relation to legends is often the distinction between similar, related types of text. The saga resembles above all the fairy tale, the legend, the fable and still the myth. In the following we would like to show the differences between the genres.

  • Fable: Fables are made up and were written by an author, with no specific information about time and space. In the fable, animals act and to a certain extent represent humans. The fable ends with a punch line and is mostly instructive. The protagonists are usually not clear characters, but stereotypes that embody certain characteristics (see mythical animals).

  • Fairy tale: Are also fictitious, differ in Folk tales(continues) and Art fairy tale (by an author). Fairy tales take place outside of space and time, which is why no specific time and place information is given. The staff of the fairy tale is more typical, there are seldom specific people (The princess, the wolf, the wicked witch).

  • Myth: In a sense, a myth explains the world. Most of all, we are familiar with Greek or Roman mythology today. Facts and connections are explained by gods, heroes or mythical creatures, such as the creation of the world or life after death.

  • Legend: The difference between saga and legend is small. In principle, the same characteristics apply. It is essential, however, that legends always tell of saints. Of course, they always relate to a specific person or a clear event, which is why the demand for reality is equally high. So they are mostly based on a person's biography.

  • Legend: Is transmitted orally and deals with specific people, times or locations. The legend therefore has a very high claim to reality, which is why the people involved are named very precisely. Mythical creatures do occur, but they can be recognized as such.