Mythology is a body of stories told to explain the world and its mysteries. Such stories are known as People have always tried to understand why certain things happen. For example, they have wanted to know why the sun rises and sets and what causes lightning. They have also wondered how Earth was created and how and where humanity first appeared. Today, people have scientific answers and theories for many such questions. But in earlier times—and in some parts of the world today—people lacked the knowledge to provide scientific answers. They therefore explained natural events using stories about gods, goddesses, and heroes. For example, the Greeks had a story to explain the existence of evil and trouble. They believed that at one time the world's evils and troubles were kept in a box. They escaped when the container was opened by Pandora, the first woman.
A traditional story or group of stories told about a particular person or place is known as a legend. Formerly the term legend, from the Latin word legere, meaning “to read,” denoted a tale about a saint. Legends resemble folktales in content; they may include supernatural beings, elements of mythology, or explanations of natural phenomena. They differ from folktales, however, in that they are popularly regarded as historical even though they are not entirely verifiable.