Mythology consists of three types of narratives: myths, heroic legends, and folk tales.
A myth is an attempt to explain something, such as a natural phenomenon or particular belief, custom, or practice of society. For example, why does the sun appear to cross the sky daily? The Greeks imagined a charioteer driving a team of flaming horses across the vault of heaven. Other myths explain the purpose or origin of a religious ritual.
The stories known as legends, or sagas, have a very different origin. Although they are full of fictional detail, they have a historical basis. These legends represent either the popular memory or some imaginative version of a true event, like the legend of The Trojan War.
Folk tales, the third and final narrative included in mythology, differ greatly from myths and legends. Folk tales differ from myths and legends because they originate simply from a desire to entertain. The most remarkable feature of folk tales is the similarity of certain events, no matter where the tale came from. For example, you can find in any folk tale from anywhere an incident where someone is fleeing from a formidable enemy.