Don't ignore legends, call them nothing worthy. Don't cling solely to history books, believing they have the truth.
The truth is in life, and life creates legends.
A historical description of an event will tell you nothing except one or various perspectives on what happened. But a legend will tell you a theme, a truth displayed by an event. History can teach this, too, but only if it is lifted from history to legend.
Sometimes we reject making stories out of history--without realizing that we do this all the time and it's simply the way we process things. Gathering facts is a detective's work. Preserving facts is a recorder's task. But making stories out of history is an artist's work.
Historians can be artists, weaving messages out of past events. So, too, are painters and writers, musicians and directors. They are not trying to duplicate history--because the past is over as soon as it has happened; they are taking the life of the past and the life of the present and blending them together to create something new. Sometimes it's a social message, sometimes it's a universal theme, and sometimes it's a question, maybe a question about the future.
Legends are born out of life and grow to become something more powerful than a list of facts. Legends are expression.