European countries have a lot in common in terms of history and culture, in fact, in all the legends we can find some common European roots and recurring situations and challenges.
Most of the legends show that a fight or a challenge is a recurring subject. All the characters, both the winners and the losers, are similar in every legend and usually the good ones prevail at the end.
The setting for the challenge looks like a common one because any tale could take place anywhere, although a natural environment is prevalent. The strong presence of natural elements through which the challenges are carried out is another common element : the earth, the wind and the fire are the weapons used to solve any conflict and are often transformed into something else like mountains and lakes which are still present today as witness of the triumph of good over evil. Other times it is the natural environment itself which threatens men, as is the case of the strait of Messina and of the two terrible monsters which the sailors must face and overcome if they want to reach home.
The most typical challenge is in fact the fight between good and evil, the need to defend a city or a girl or a population from an enemy, being it a foreign army, the devil or a terrible dragon or monster.
As one can realize by reading the different legends, the opposition of these two forces has been represented by means of different players. Saints or spiritual figures are the main representatives of good in particular in the Italian tradition (where the strong religious belief influenced the positive development of the challenge), while popular figures like shepherds, monks, nuns and workers play the same positive role in the foreign legends. On the other hand, the evil forces are often symbolized by devils and sometimes by monsters which can anyway be regarded as further pictures of evil, both in the Italian and in the other European legends.
Other typical situations in most legends are: the desire to have more than what you already own or also a sense of revenge and jealousy. In these situations the characters are often punished for their greedy or ambitious nature.
Another recurring situation is the naming of a certain place after the person who died there and it's also easy to find in these legends the transformation of people into natural elements, normally caused by different series of events, like in “Lake Misurina and Mount Sorapiss”.
Family relationships and situations are also an important element in the legends, in particular the relationship between father and daughter emerges in two legends: in the Italian legend “ Lake Misurina and Mount Sorapiss “ and in the Polish legend,”Gingerbread”. The tales are about two completely different female characters: in the Italian tale we have a spoiled girl who doesn’t care about people around her while in the Polish legend there is a kind and helpful girl that everyone trusts. Other legends deal with some brothers who are fighting for supremacy, as it happens in “Romolo and Remo and the foundation of Rome” or in “Wavel Dragon – 2”