Since I have my lovely new-book-smell dictionary, I figured I should open it up and do a quick definition of terms as according to Mr. Webster.
myth\'mith\n [Gk mythos] (1830) 1a: a usu. traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon b: PARABLE, ALLEGORY 2a: a popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; esp: one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of a society b: an unfounded or false notion 3: a person or thing having only an imaginary or unverifiable existence 4: the whole body of myths
legend\'le-jend\n [ME legende, fr. AF & ML; AF legende, fr. ML legenda, fr. L., fem. of legendus, gerundive of legere to gather, select, read; akin to Gk legein to gather, say, logos speech, word, reason] (14c) 1a: a story coming down from the past; esp: one popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable b: a body of such stories c: a popular myth of recent origin d: a person or thing that inspires legends e: the subject of a legend
(Note: The second definition is related to inscriptions rather than mythology.)
folklore\'fok-lor\n (1846) 1: traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances, or art forms preserved among a people 2: a branch of knowledge that deals with folklore 3: an often unsupported notion, story, or saying that is widely circulated
(Note: To paraphrase a couple of related definitions, "folk" has to do with "common people." This will come up later in my theory about myth vs. folklore & fairy tales. A folktale is basically defined as an anonymous, orally transmitted tale.)
fairy tale n (1749) 1a: a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins) -- called also fairy story b: a story in which improbable events lead to a happy ending 2: a made-up story usu. designed to mislead
(Note: Given this final definition, the traditional tales of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault are certainly more accurately folklore, while Hans Christian Andersen's stories are fairy tales, though they don't have happy endings. So it could be ambiguous yet.)
Just gathering information here. I'll pull things together as we go.
Quick plugs: fangs_fur_fey has a neat post about research going on. It's worth visiting.
The League of Reluctant Adults have started blogging. I've asked a couple of their members if there's the possibility for an lj feed. We'll see.
SpaceWesterns has a couple of new stories up since the last time I posted. There's some good writing going on over there, and they're well worth checking out.