Legend is a Form of Folklore, See Definition, Characteristics, Structure & Examples

Legend is a form of folklore that is widespread in society and is legendary. Legend is often interpreted as a story about the origin of an area, place, heritage, or something of historical value. Then what is meant by a legend, text structure, and what are some examples? see the full explanation below:

Legend Is Folklore

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), legends are ancient folklore related to historical events. This legendary story resembles a myth and is considered semi-imaginary. However, it has no sacred value or is not considered sacred by some people like a myth.

Christian Hikers, a professor of Dutch literature, defines them as tales about historical events, including events that mean mysterious things and supernatural powers. Legend is an ancient fictional story that is partly or wholly based on the imagination or perspective of ancient people.

Legendary stories were usually passed on by word of mouth before they were written down. For this reason, most legends are unclear as to who created it. Examples of popular legends in Indonesia range from the legend of Si Malin Kundang, Prambanan Temple, Sangkuriang, Roro Jonggrang to Lake Toba.

From an early age, we are used to the storytelling activities that our parents do before going to bed. Usually our parents choose children’s fairy tales with a moral message so that they can inspire children. One of the stories available as a storytelling option is a legend.

Thus, legends are ancient folk tales relating historical events about the origins of magic, the occult, and places embellished with character traits. In practice, a legend is a kind of narrative prose that assumes that the narrator and his listeners have already happened.

Legend relates to the origin of the object or place. Like other stories, legendary stories have the following unique characteristics: characters have supernatural powers, stories have magical elements, which often turn out to be supernatural.

Associated with, and with elements of history, legendary stories often actually happened or were seen. According to Jan Harold Brunvand in Danandjaja (2002), legends are divided into four groups: religious legends, occult legends, personal legends, and local legends.

Definition of Legend According to Experts

The following is a summary of the meaning of the legend according to experts:

1. Hooykaas

According to Hooykaas, legends are tales of things based on history that include supernatural or supernatural powers in a beautiful sense.

2. William R. Bascom

The definition of legendary by William R. Bascom is a story with the characteristics of a myth and is believed to have happened, but is not considered sacred.

3. Emies

According to Emies is an ancient story, based half on history and half based on wishful thinking.

4. Pudentia

A legend according to Pudentia is a story which some locals believe actually happened, but which is not considered holy or sacred, and at the same time differs from mythology.

5. Sari Book

Understanding according to the Sari Book in Indonesian is an ancient story related to the origin of events and places.


According to KBBI, these are ancient folk tales related to historical events.

7. Wikipedia

Wikipedia’s definition is a folk prose story that is believed to have actually happened.

Legend Types

According to the book “Introduction to Basic Social and Cultural Sciences”, legends can be classified into four types: religious, occult, personal or individual, and local.

1. Religious Legend

Religion contains stories of religious life. This legend speaks of specific people. For example, the story of the spread of Islam in Java, Wali songo, and so on. They are ordinary people and they really exist. However, in narrative descriptions, they are presented as characters with super powers that transcend human boundaries.

2. Legend of the Occult

Magic is usually in the form of stories that are believed to have happened and experienced by someone. The function of this type of legend is to confirm the truth of superstitions and beliefs of the people. In short, supernatural legends are stories about one’s experiences with supernatural beings, spirits, demons, supernatural phenomena, and so on.

An example of a supernatural legend is the foreman of the Bogor Botanical Gardens who disappeared while working in the garden. According to local residents, the incident occurred because a policeman stepped on a pile of bricks that used to be the gate of the Pajajaran Kingdom.

3. Individual Legend

Personal Or Individual is a story about a certain character who is believed to have really happened. Examples of individual Indonesian legends are the legends of Lutung Kasarung in West Java, Rara Mendut and Jaka Tingkir in Central Java, Si Pahit Lida in Sumatra, Njai Dasima in Jakarta, and Jayaprana in Bali.

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4. Local Legend

Locale are legends associated with the names of places where mountains, hills, lakes and other natural objects occur. For example, the legend of Lake Toba in Sumatra, the legend of Sangkuriang in West Java (the legend of Mount Tangkuban Perahu), Grand Lorojon in Central Java, and Trunyan Village in Bali.

Characteristics of Legend Stories

  • Characteristics that seem to really happen
  • Secular or mediocre
  • Legendary figures are common folk
  • Collective history is different from real history
  • A story that often twists history
  • Based on movement in nature
  • The nature of the cycle which means reflecting the characteristics of a certain time.

Legend Story Structure

The legend text structure consists of four parts: Orientation, complication, solution, code or sequence. The following is a description of the four legend text structures:

  • The orientation to the legend story is the first part of the story. Includes an introduction to the legend story, its background, characters, setting of location, and time of events
  • Complications are problems or disturbances that occur to a character. In addition, there is a peak of trouble, followed by a peak of trouble
  • After the problem escalates, a solution appears in the form of an effort to overcome the problem
  • The last part of the legend structure is the code or message. Legend stories usually have a moral message that readers can learn after listening to the legend.

Legend Story Elements

The elements in the legend are as follows:

1. Theme

Themes are basic ideas that support literary characteristics and flow into texts.

2. Figures

A character is an actor in a fictional story. The characters in the story occupy a strategic position as carriers and disseminators of messages, messages, or something that is deliberately conveyed to the reader. Characters can be divided into the following three types based on their characteristics.

  • The main character is the main character told in the story. This character plays a role in most of the series from the beginning to the end of the story. In general, this main character is described as having good qualities. However, it is not uncommon for the protagonist to be told in a strange, unique, or even evil way
  • Opposite (generally hostile) personalities. In a sense, the enemy is a character that always confronts the hero. Enemies are generally portrayed as bad characters
  • The companion character (third role) is a secondary character in the story

3. Plots

Plot is an event that is not as simple as described in the story. These events are arranged on the basis of historical causality. Plot elements are generally divided into three types: forward, backward, and mixed.

4. Background

Setting is the fundamental background of the events of the story. Setting is divided into three parts: setting of place or location, time, and atmosphere.

  • Setting of place is information in the story that explains where the story takes place. For example, telling stories about kingdoms, villages, forests, beaches, skies, and so on
  • The setting of time is the time when the fairy tale events occur, for example in the morning, evening, year, sunset, etc
  • The setting or setting of the atmosphere is information that reflects the atmosphere of the fairy tale event. For example, people live in peace, live in fear of a cruel king, and the forest becomes crowded after an angel appears

5. Perspective

Perspective is a point of view that states the author’s position. That is how the author tells the events contained in the story. Perspectives are generally divided into two types as follows:

  • First person: The author acts as the first person who becomes the main character or additional character in the story
  • Third Person: The author stands outside the story and is not directly involved in the story
  • Mixed: The author describes the character in the story by referring to the character’s name or a third party who says “he”.

6. Order

The message is the message that the author wants to convey to the reader.

Examples of Indonesian Legend Stories

There are quite a number of legends that are spread throughout Indonesia in our country. In these legends, the reader is indirectly taught about commendable things. Some parents even tell stories of legends and folklore before going to sleep.

Most of the legends spread throughout Indonesia are related to the origin of the region. However, there are also legends that tell the story of human life in general. Here are some examples of legends that are popular in Indonesia:

1. Swamp Dizziness

Rawa Pening is the name of a large swamp in Semarang Regency, Central Java. There is a legend that says that it has been passed down from generation to generation, with a great dragon named Baru Klinting at the foot of Rawa Pening. The great dragon protects the Swamp and its surroundings.

The story of the emergence of Rawa Pening tells of a small boy named Baru Klinting, who has a strange face in the shape of half dragon and half human. Baru Klinting had to meditate by wrapping his dragon’s body on the top of Mount Telomoyo. When the locals were having a big party, the locals went to the forest looking for game, but couldn’t find it.

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While sitting on a fallen tree and resting, one of the residents stabbed the tree with a knife and played with it. Suddenly, blood spurted out from the tree. Suddenly, all the residents were confused and trying to find out what was behind the tree.

It turned out to be the body of a caged dragon of destruction. Without further effort, the dragon’s body was finally dismantled by the residents and brought home. Baru Klinting could not finish his meditation activities and finally became a strange-looking human. Then he went to the party and asked for something to eat.

Unfortunately, Baru Klinting’s arrival was rejected and humiliated by the residents. There is only one resident who helps and feeds Baru Klinting, namely an old grandmother. After eating the food his grandmother gave him, Baru Klinting advised him to immediately prepare a boat and paddle.

Due to the arrogance of the residents, Baru Klinting stuck the stick into the ground and ordered the residents to pull it out. Miraculously, no one was able to pull the stick from the ground, only Baru Klinting could do it. Suddenly water came out of the hole where the stick was. The water that came out became more and flooded.

Remembering the message from Baru Klinting, the grandmother immediately protected herself with the prepared boat and oars. The flood eventually became a big puddle, forming a swamp and drowning the village and its arrogant citizens. Only the old grandmother who helped Baru Klinting survived the disaster and named the swamp “dizzy”. “dizzy” means “clear” or “clear” because the standing water was clear.

2. Malin Kundang

Based on Malin’s desire to move to another area for a better life. The mother didn’t want to part with her only child, so she initially refused. But in the end, his mother also allowed.

Malin set out to wander by ship. Several years later, Malin returned to his village and became rich. Accompanied by his beautiful wife and several merchant ships. Malin came back and of course made his mother happy. His wife was shocked when an old woman suddenly hugged her husband and claimed to be Malin’s mother.

Malin did not want to admit his mother, he even pushed her down. The mother is sad and angry. Then the mother asked God to turn Malin into stone and punish him.

3. Cucumber Mas

This story talks about a deal between two farmers and a green giant known as Buto Ijo. At that time, there was a farmer couple who had been married for many years and had no children. One day, Buto Ijo heard their prayers and offered to give birth to a child.

The trick is to plant cucumber seeds, provided they bring the child back to Buto Ijo at the age of 17. Finally, the offer was approved by this farmer couple. Not long after, a large cucumber seed was sown to bear fruit, and when it burst, there was a girl who was later named Timun Mas.

The three lived together for years before they realized that Timun Mas was already 17 years old. Finally it was time for Buto Ijo to collect the promise to the farmer couple. Unfortunately, they broke their promise by telling Timun Mas to leave safely. Before Timun Mas ran away, she was offered three magical objects: a needle, salt and shrimp paste. It was the magical object that saved him from Buto Ijo.

4. Lake Toba

The story of Lake Toba tells of a man named Toba who fell in love with a goldfish. One day Toba went fishing and found a beautiful goldfish. When caught, the fish actually became a beautiful woman. Toba fell in love with the goldfish princess and asked her to marry him.

The Goldfish Princess agreed on the condition that Toba should not tell anyone about her identity. After marriage, a son named Samosir was born. Their lives were so harmonious that Samosir grew up to be a good boy. Once upon a time, Samosir’s mother asked her son to bring food to Toba who was working in the fields.

Arriving at the field, Samosir apologized to his father for having lunch with the provisions that were supposed to be for him. Toba, who was tired and hungry at that time, of course was angry. Toba was so angry that he loudly called Samosir a fish boy.

Suddenly the sky darkened and it rained for days. It was a sign that Toba broke his promise with Putri Emas. The rain brought a large lake and drowned Toba which is now known as Lake Toba. Samosir ran towards the island which was eventually named Pulau Samosir.

Now, we can understand, legend is a form of folklore that cannot be separated from the culture of society. Included as a history of a place. sinaumedia certainly has a large collection of books, both Indonesian and foreign legends that teach Sinaumed’s many lessons. Immediately visit sinaumedia’s book collection at www.sinaumedia.com so that you have #MoreWithReading information.