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Legends

  • Legends die hard. They survive as truth rarely does.

    • Helen Hayes,
    • with Sandford Dody, On Reflection, An Autobiography ()
  • ... no truth is strong enough to defeat a well-established legend.

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "The Murder of Madame Mollard" (1930), Pavements at Anderby ()
  • Legends have always played a powerful role in the making of history. ... Without ever relating facts reliably, yet always expressing their true significance, they offered a truth beyond realities, a remembrance beyond memories.

  • A gritty grain of truth lay at the heart of most legends, she had told me, and the slow accretion of fiction hardened in layers around it.

  • The hearse was inching slowly through a solid mass of people in the street ... Because he's safely dead. ... Because they're always happier with a legend than with a man — .

  • Facts are fine, fer as they go ... but they're like water bugs skittering atop the water. Legends, now — they go deep down and bring up the heart of a story.

  • If you survive, you become a legend. I'm a legend because I've survived over a long time. I'm revered rather like an old building.

  • [Ashochimi (California coast) Indian legend:] Long ago there was a great flood which destroyed all the people in the world. Only Coyote was saved. When the waters subsided, the earth was empty.

  • [Pai Ute (near Kern River, California) Indian legend:] There are many worlds. Some have passed and some are still to come. In one world the Indians all creep; in another they all walk; in another they all fly. Perhaps in a world to come, Indians may walk on four legs; or they may crawl like snakes; or they may swim in the water like fish.

  • [Sia (New Mexico) Indian legend:] In the beginning, long, long ago, there was but one being in the lower world. This was the spider, Sussistinnako. ... The spider ... began to sing. ... In a short time, people appeared and began walking around. Then animals, birds, and insects appeared, and the spider continued to sing until his creation was complete.

  • [Shastika (California) Indian legend:] Long, long ago, there was a good young Indian on earth. When he died the Indians wept so that a flood came upon the earth, and drowned all people except one couple.

  • [Zuni (New Mexico) Indian legend:] Eight years was but four days and four nights when the world was new. ... Men and creatures were more alike then than now. Our fathers were black, like the caves they came from; their skins were cold and scaly like those of mud creatures; their eyes were goggled like an owl's; their ears were like those of cave bats; their feet were webbed like those of walkers in wet and soft places; they had tails, long or short, as they were old or young. Men crouched when they walked, or crawled along the ground like lizards.