"So you don't believe in dragons?
It is curiously true
That the dragons you disparage
Choose not to believe in you."
— Jack Prelutsky, The Dragons Are Singing Tonight
Two races, or tribes, were familiar with each other's existence a long time ago but they have gone ages without contact with each other, and now each believes the other to be creatures of legend, that either never existed or died out long ago.
Until they meet each other. And they both react exactly the same way — by saying something along the lines of "They do exist!" in a tone of awe. At the same time. (Or at least one directly after the other.)
Compare Mutually Fictional
, where the two sides really did originate as (or still are) only stories to each other.
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- This Christmas M&Ms ad. Verbatim with the trope even.
- The Russian advertisements for Hochland cheese:
Son: Dad, do aliens exist?
Father: No, son, it's fiction!
[Cut to an alien planet]
Alien son: Dad, do humans exist?
Alien father: No, son, it's fiction!
- In Through the Looking Glass, when Alice meets the Unicorn, it asks what she is. When told that she is a child, it replies, stunned, "I always thought they were fabulous monsters!" When Alice confesses that she always believed that unicorns were fabulous monsters, the Unicorn says, "Well, if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you," to which Alice agrees.
- In The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Tumnus the faun reacts this way to Lucy the first time he meets her, and owns a book called Is Man a Myth?
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham, younger dragons seem to think that the Knights are just a myth. The older ones know better, although they admit that they are few and far, and not a danger anymore.
- Which is true. The King and his Knights are pretty useless. The only person who can effectively deal with the Dragon is a fat, red-headed farmer who doesn't like trespassers—even if they are scaly and breathe fire.
- There's a picture book about a little monster who cannot sleep because he thinks there are human children under his bed. His parents desperately try to tell him human children are just made-up creatures, but what works is when he meets a real kid and learn that while they are real, they are not dangerous.
- The Dragon With the Girl Tattoo, a spoof of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
- The Divide trilogy by Elizabeth Kay has a fantasy world where all kinds of creatures from our myths live. They not only think humans are mythical, but also many animals from our world as well.
- The same applies to Xanth, except that Xanth has humans (although if they didn't get fresh blood from Mundania they'd eventually change into magical creatures). They mostly think that a horse is a mythical wingless pegasus or a dog is a one-headed cerberus.
- An early portion of The Martian Chronicles has a martian parent talking to a child, assuring it that there can't be any life on Earth, because of the excessive amounts of oxygen.
Live Action TV
- In the eroge Let's Meow Meow, the main character gets an Unwanted Harem of animal-eared girls from another dimension. It is revealed that humans - called "monkey-people", because our ears look like those of monkeys to them - are believed to be mythical or at least extinct.
- Referenced in College Roomies from Hell!!! when Roger meets two centaurs who think humans are mythical creatures. However, they're actually genetically engineered creatures who have been given this belief (and a steady diet of drugs) by the Evil Genius in question to avoid them questioning their surroundings.
- In FernGully, humans have been away for so long that the fairies only remember them through legends and folk tales, resulting in most fairies not even believing in humans until of course a logging company arrives in the area.
- Pops up at the end of the sleepover episode of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The climax of the episode features a series of increasingly-nonsensical Catapult Nightmares involving the various characters and a flying vampiric pizza. The final nightmare turns out to belong to an actual vampire pizza, sleeping in his pizza box; when he explains his terrible dream to his wife, she consoles him that children don't exist, and everyone knows that.