Legends Of Old: The Stories Told From One Generation To The Next

No matter what generation or period of history it is, one can’t deny that people have a fondness for stories. Before any investments were made in publishing the first books and other written documents, people already did all that they could to share an interesting tale. Besides the many cave drawings that were eventually discovered, most of history’s earlier civilizations told these accounts through word of mouth. Well, as it’s passed from one person to another, it’s no surprise that it eventually becomes a whole new story compared to its first telling.

In retrospect, though, this occurrence isn’t as bad as we thought it would be. After all, because of that, we now have many of the world’s greatest legends. Like many of the stories we see in books, movies, and TV shows, these tales are often based on events that transpired at one point in history. As they were passed on from one generation to another, a few revisions were made to them, mostly to bring the story to a higher degree of intrigue and entertainment. Well, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of these timeless legends, shall we?

Chinese Zodiac

At this point, it’s safe to say we’ve all been asked at least once what our zodiac is. The zodiac is composed of 12 animals, with each one corresponding to a particular set of years. It bears some degree of similarity to horoscopes, since each animal in the zodiac is associated with various aspects, such as one’s attitude and lucky number, among other things. Now, if you’re wondering why the animals are ordered this way, it’s actually based on a story told throughout China. Among the tale’s many interpretations, the most known one would be the race to see who crosses the Yangtze River first. The first animal to cross was the Rat, followed by the Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and last but not least, the Pig.

Robin Hood

To this day, it goes without saying that the story of Robin Hood takes credit for being one of the most recognized tales told throughout history. Despite the many iterations it has had over the years, notably told through TV shows and films, the core of the story is mostly the same. Clad in his ever-iconic green suit, Robin Hood is a skilled archer and swordsman who steals fortunes from the corrupt and gives them to the poor. Along with being a well-known tale, earlier accounts mentioning the titular hero have been dated to as early as the 15th century. In fact, after further research, records show that many people from that period have also been going by the alias “Robin Hood”. Although there’s no proof of him being real, it’s safe to say he was a symbol people looked up to.

King Arthur

Along with Robin Hood, King Arthur is another legend that continues to receive quite a lot of recognition to this day. Initially believed to be a Roman officer who fought around the 5th to 6th centuries, not that much data was found to verify King Arthur’s existence, which led researchers to agree that he is merely a work of fiction. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that his epic quest eventually became one mixed with elements of fantasy and romance. Thanks to that, many producers and filmmakers continue to spend their investment money adapting this timeless tale, providing audiences with a new take on the titular hero’s journey alongside the Knights of the Round Table.

Lady Godiva

We’re all familiar with idioms and figures of speech, yes? One such example that’s occasionally used would be the phrase “when pigs fly,” which is a more expressive way to say that something is impossible to achieve. Well, back then, when cities still weren’t supplied with electricity, that phrase wasn’t as well-known as it is today.
In the legendary retelling of Lady Godiva’s story, she requested for her husband, the Earl of Mercia, to omit taxes. Displeased, the Earl said that he’d do as she wishes, but only after Godiva roamed the city streets naked while riding a horse. Although this statement was akin to using the phrase “when pigs fly,” Godiva took it literally and did what was needed to get what she thought was best for the people. To this day, many artworks and sculptures are made depicting the famed Lady on her horse.

Yamashita’s Treasure

Like the previously-mentioned account of Lady Godiva, the story behind Yamashita’s Treasure is rooted in historical events. During WWII, Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita made massive investments in creating secret tunnels around the Philippines. These hidden underground walkways have since reportedly kept many of Yamashita’s supposed treasure, composed of various fortunes looted throughout the war. Whether it’s real or not, though, the only ones who can say for certain were executed for committing war crimes, and that includes Yamashita himself.