In ancient times, humans tried to find explanations for their origin. People needed an escape from their ordinary lives and most of the time they needed a happy ending which could bring them hope. In this way, they had the feeling that they have the power to overcome all the hardships.
Since there are similar situations and challenges that appear in legends originating from different cultures, their recurrence represents the evidence that we all belong to cultural universal.
The conflict between good and evil is the most common motif that appears in legends. It is a universal recurring situation and it stems from the burning desire of the ancient people to overcome all the obstacles they encountered in their ordinary lives. In almost all legends, good always triumphs over evil forces. What usually happens is that when all hope is gone, good comes up and defeats evil. A dragon is a nearly universal symbol of evil in most legends and it represents the fears that haunted our ancestors. Dragons and devils, as well as mythological creatures, are in essence the manifestation of their biggest terrors. Humans fight evil either because they need to defend themselves or they have to protect or to rescue their dear ones. The common point in the origin of heroic quests is that in ancient times, the hardships people had to endure led to the emergence of heroes, who were placed in different situations.
Another recurring situation is that of human sacrifice, which is made either for the act of creation or for the sake of a beloved person. The ingenuity and artistry of most important buildings and constructions erected in the Middle Ages could not be explained otherwise but by the fact that a pact was sealed between the master-builder and a supernatural force, which involved the sacrifice of a beloved person or even of the self.
Transformation of man to object is another recurring situation and petrification is the most common of all. Rocks and mountainous formations with strange shapes were considered to have appeared as a result of a spell cast over humans.
Tragic deaths are also recurring situations in various legends. Tragedies may occur due to the recklessness of the heroine, like in “Beautiful Alda” or to evil forces.
Charming mortals by mythical beautiful creatures is another recurring situation present in legends.