Legends, Myths and Oral Traditions:
The Legend of Loch Lomond
A Web Quest by
Andrew S. Basler
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Introduction | Task | Discussion | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion | Teachers | Credits
All cultures throughout the world have stories, myths, and legends to explain the unknown, communicate cultural values, and preserve the heritage of the culture. These stories are passed down from generation to generation, keeping the cultural "values" alive. These oral traditions are an important part of every culture because they serve as a constant connection between past and present, no matter how much other things have changed.
First, you will watch an IMAX dvd on the Scottish legend of Loch Lomond. This legend is more popularly known through the song Loch Lomond which begins "You'll take the high road and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in Scotland before you" ect. After watching the dvd, there will be a brief discussion about the meaning of the legend, and it's value today. After discussing the legend, you will use the internet to locate and read other myths, legends, and stories from different cultures around the world, and write a paper on your findings.
The legend begins quite simply enough. There is a boy and a girl who fall in love. However, this is not all. The boy and girl happen to be from completely different social classes. The boy is just a poor rebel Scotsman, and the girl is a duchess. Despite this, against all odds, they are able to unite in their love. Unfortunately, it was not to last. The boy goes off to fight the English, but before he goes, he promises his love that he will see her again. The boy is quickly captured and executed, leaving his love behind. To this day, the ghost of the girl can be seen walking along the edge of Loch Lomond, waiting for her love to return.
Although this is a culture- specific story (it takes place in Scotland) the values expressed in this story are not culture - specific. Take a moment and try and think about some of the underlying values expressed in the story.
One of the most obvious values is that of true love. The message presented is that true love knows no bounds or limitations. The difference in social classes and the social "norms" did not prevent the two young people from finding happiness. In the end of the legend the girl is found to be faithful in her love. She did not find anyone else, and still waits for her loves return to this day. Besides true love and faithfulness, the value of patriotism is found. The boy made a huge sacrifice for his country, and that is glorified in the legend by portraying the boy as a martyr. In the dvd, a twist is added at the end. The legend is fulfilled when the girl and boy are united again in their love, after years and years of waiting. In this way, all of the suffering endured by the couple was not in vain. This is the final value portrayed.
Although this story is specific to Scotland, similar stories portraying the same values are found in America. There is a similar story about a boy who goes off to fight the north in the civil war, and does not return. The girl remains faithful unto death, waiting for her fiancée. Sometimes, late at night in the mountains of Tennessee, you can see her ghost searching for her lost love. Often legends and myths might have attributes that make them specific to a place, and values that are found in similar stories of other cultures. When you are looking for legends and myths, keep in mind that many legends have sister stories in other countries, that portray the same ideas and values.
1. First, you should have seen the movie Legend of Loch Lomond on dvd, and read the ensuing discussion on the values found in the legend.
2. After completing the above task, you will begin your research. Use the following link to a database of myths and legends: Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts.
3. Read through the different myths, and pick one that is interesting to you. This myth or legend will be the subject of a two page double-spaced paper.
4. After choosing your myth or legend, answer the following questions in your paper:
a) Give a brief (100 - 150 words) synopsis of your myth
b) What characteristics make your myth/legend culture specific? (i.e. what makes it Scottish, Chinese, Greek, etc)
c) What characteristics make your myth universal to multiple cultures?
d) Are there other myths from other cultures with similar values? What are they, and what differences exist within the similar stories?
e) What specific values or virtues does your legend/myth advocate as desirable traits?
f) What is the overall message of your legend/myth to the listener?
5. If you have any questions about the paper, ask your teacher for clarification.
6. If you wish to find additional information on your legend/myth beyond what is given in the electronic text, use the Google Search Engine.
Your paper will be evaluated based on the following rubric:
|Paper Rubric||Possible Points||Self-Assessment||Teacher Assessment|
|Synopsis of myth/legend||10
|At least 2 pages, double spaced||10
|Completely answered all the given questions (content grade)||60
|Paper shows evidence of internet research on myth/ legend (research grade)||20
|Total Possible Points||
Note that the majority of your grade is based on the content of your paper. To receive high marks, simply and straightforwardly answer the given questions. Also, use the Discussion section of this web quest as a model of what you should be looking for in your myth.
Myths, legends, and oral traditions are an important part of every culture. They preserve cultural values and convey them from past generations to the present ones. Sometimes, legends are so much a part of our culture that we don't notice them. The song "Loch Lomond" is known by many people, yet few could tell the story behind it. This is just one example of a legend that has universal implications. Understanding legends and myths not only helps us understand differences in cultures, but also helps us understand the similarities.
Back To Top
Grade Band: 9 - 12
Tennessee Curriculum Standards: Sociology, World History
World History: Standard 1.0 - Culture encompasses similarities and differences among people, including their beliefs, knowledge, changes, values, and tradition. Students will explore these elements of society to develop an appreciation of and respect for the variety of human cultures
Sociology: 5.0 History, Simple Task: analyze the historical function of fairy tales and heroic stories in socialization
Preceding and Ensuing Events of Instruction
Before beginning this web quest, the teacher should show the IMAX dvd "Legend of Loch Lomond" (40 mins, available at www.amazon.com) After showing the movie, the teacher should facilitate a group discussion on the movie, specifically looking for the universal cultural values in the film. After the discussion, introduce the web quest, and let the student's know specifically what they need to do (pick a legend, write a short paper on it). The teacher should feel free to alter the requirements of the paper to best fit the class level.
Purpose of Web Quest
To promote the understanding of unique cultural stories and myths, to promote the understanding of legends as a cultural tool for communicating values, to promote the use of the internet as a valid and accessible research tool, to enhance the student's ability to make universal connections between cultures and stories.
Slingshot. (2002). Legend of Loch Lomond [dvd]. Toronto, Canada: Imax.
University of Pittsburg. (2004). Folk and Fairy Tales: Web Links. Retrieved January 18th, 2004, from http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folklinks.html
Back to Top