4 Popular Myths and Legends From Around the World

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All around the world there are towns and cities which have legends and myths which are told from generation to generation. Some myths act as warnings to run like the wind, while others tell the story of how a legend got its beginnings. You probably know a few already, but here are a few myths and legends from around the world.

Read more: 7 Budget-Friendly Destinations in Europe

The Flying Dutchman – Netherlands 

The Flying Dutchman is a ghost ship that sails the seven seas, giving bad luck onto anyone who looks upon it. Fun fact, The Flying Dutchman was a recurring character on the popular children’s cartoon Spongebob SquarePants. Many sources think that The Flying Dutchman was the vessel of Captain Hendrik van der Decken, a.k.a The Dutchman, who was an early seventeenth-century explorer. The ship supposedly sank in 1641, although many sailors claim to have seen the mystery ship since then – always with dire consequences. According to legend, the vessel is cursed to sail the oceans and seas forever due to van der Decken’s actions. 

The captain made a treacherous voyage from Holland to the far East Indies in search of rare and exotic goods. After completing their journey, the captain thought it would be a brilliant idea to create a settlement next to the Cape of Good Hope. During a ferocious storm, the crew broke into a rebellion as the captain would not turn around. Their efforts were unsuccessful, the men were ordered to stay the course, but the ship never reached the shore. There are many legends about what happened on the boat that night, but they all end in tragedy. 

Learn more: The Flying Dutchman

the flying Dutchman legend

Thor’s Hammer – Scandinavia 

If you have seen Marvel’s Thor franchise, you know how essential Thor’s hammer is. In Norse mythology, Thor is the god of thunder and son of Odin. The hammer is a symbol of Thor’s power, but how did he acquire such a force? One day Loki, the god of mischief, cut off the beautiful hair of Thor’s wife, Sif, as a funny joke. Thor was so mad he wanted to break every bone in Loki’s body, and that was when Loki thought of a plan to save himself.

Loki promised to go to the dwarf and get them to make a new head of hair for Sif, as well as three gifts. But Loki wanted to create mischief and so disguised himself as a fly. The fly bit the dwarfs on their hands and eyes, with the result that their gifts were incomplete. However, they were in fact better than what they could have imagined.

One of the gifts was Mjolnir, a hammer. It would never shatter or miss its mark, and always return to Thor. The only problem was that its handle was too short. As a result of yet another trick by Loki, the dwarfs sewed Loki’s mouth shut so he could not speak any more deceit. 

Learn more: Thor’s Hammer

Thor's hammer legend

The Loch Ness Monster – Scotland 

The Loch Ness Monster (Nessy) is a sea creature dating back to 1870. The Loch Ness Monster is the equivalent of Big Foot, as people have dedicated their lives to finding the truth. It is described as being very large, with a long neck, and one or more humps protruding from the water. Many people from all around the world come to Scotland to get a glimpse of Nessy. For centuries, fishermen have hunted for the mysterious creature and had no such luck. Dr Robert Kenneth Wilson was the first person to capture photographic evidence of the creature in 1934. Scientists have claimed we have only explored 5% of the Earth’s ocean. Could there be a chance that in the 95% we will learn the truth about the Loch Ness Monster? 

The Loch Ness Monster legend

Lorelei – Germany 

The Lorelei is the legend of a beautiful maiden who threw herself into the Rhine river in despair over a lover who did not stay faithful. She was magically transformed into a siren who lured fishermen to their deaths. In case you are confusing a siren with a mermaid, there are differences. The main difference is that sirens are depicted as evil temptresses. Did you remember the little mermaid being evil? No, that’s because mermaids are usually depicted as peaceful and non-violent creatures. 

The Lorelei siren is legend to have been the reason for many sunken ships. Sirens have the most attractive and mesmerizing singing voices, which allowed them to tempt many sailors. Many sailors simply fell into their traps and would be dragged to the bottom of the ocean. Others needed some convincing, but it is almost impossible to say no to a siren. Sitting on a rock in the stream is where you would find her. She would sing her song, and sailors would drift through jagged and sharp rocks just to be near her. There have been songs and poems dedicated to Lorelei as a warning for other sailors not to be fooled.

The Lorelei ledgend

These are just four of many myths and legends from around the world. Stay tuned for more!

The post 4 Popular Myths and Legends From Around the World appeared first on The TEFL Academy Blog.

I have been traveling and teaching ESL abroad ever since I graduated university. This life choice has taken me around the world and allowed me to experience cultures and meet people that I did not know existed.

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