~ Fae Folklore ~
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The word fairy is a derivative of the Middle English word faierie (also known as fayerye, feirie, fairie), and it is a direct borrowing from Old French faerie (Modern French féerie) meaning the land, realm, or characteristic activity (i.e. enchantment) of the legendary people of folklore and romance called (in Old French) faie or fee (Modern French fée).
This derived ultimately from Late Latin fata (one of the personified Fates, hence a guardian or tutelary spirit, hence a spirit in general); cf. Italian fata, Spanish hada of the same origin. Fata, although it became a feminine noun in the Romance languages, was originally the neuter plural ("the Fates") of fatum, past participle of the verb fari to speak, hence "thing spoken, decision, decree" or "prophetic declaration, prediction", hence "destiny, fate".
It was used as the equivalent of the Greek Μοῖραι Moirai, the personified Fates who determined the course and ending of human life. To the word faie was added the suffix -erie (Modern English -(e)ry), used to express either a place where something is found (fishery, heronry, nunnery) or a trade or typical activity engaged in by a person (cookery, midwifery, thievery). In later usage it generally applied to any kind of quality or activity associated with a particular sort of person, as in English knavery, roguery, witchery, wizardry. Faie became Modern English fay "a fairy"; the word is, however, rarely used, although it is well known as part of the name of the legendary sorceress Morgan le Fay of Arthurian legend. Faierie became fairy, but with that spelling now almost exclusively referring to one of the legendary people, with the same meaning as fay. In the sense "land where fairies dwell", the distinctive and archaic spellings Faery and Faerie are often used. Faery is also used in the sense of "a fairy", and the back-formation fae, as an equivalent or substitute for fay is now sometimes seen.
The word fey, originally meaning "fated to die" or "having forebodings of death" (hence "visionary", "mad", and various other derived meanings) is completely unrelated, being from Old English fæge, Proto-Germanic *faigja- and Proto-Indo-European *poikyo-, whereas Latin fata comes from the Indo-European root *bhã- "speak". Due to the identical pronunciation of the two words, "fay" is sometimes misspelled "fey". A fairy in modern times (also known as faery, faerie, fay, fae, wee folk, good folk, people of peace, fair folk,) are known as a type of mythical being or legendary creature, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural or preternatural. Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term fairy offers many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, including goblins or gnomes: at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature.
Fairies are generally described as human in appearance, extremly long lived, and having magical powers such as the ability to fly, cast spells and control the weather/ seasons.
They are also cited for their mischievous nature. Their origins are less clear in the folklore, being variously dead, or some form of demon, or a species completely independent of humans or angels. Folklorists have suggested that their actual origin lies in a conquered race living in hiding, or in religious beliefs that lost currency with the advent of Christianity. These explanations are not necessarily incompatible, and they may be traceable to multiple sources. Fairies are found to be pagan in origin and are found amoung all branches of the Celtic families. Once known as pagan gods and goddesses, the tradition to worship these little beings spread to France, Germany, and the British Isles.
The Welsh peoples originally worked within a matriarchal society. They worshipped The Mother Goddess, and they called fairies The Mothers. Hence,
Fairyland was always the Land of Women and fairies are often depicted as such.
How to See Fairies
Fairies are rarely seen by humans. There are a few tricks one can use in order to see them:
* Legend says that if you pick a four leaf clover and lie quietly in a field, you will soon be surrounded with dancing fairies.
* You can also look for a stone that has a hole naturally bored into it by running water. Just look through the hole and you will see fairies.
Fairies are said to appear most frequently on the high days of the Celtic calendar. Beltane (May Eve), when they fight; Midsummer Eve, when they celebrate; and Samhain (November Eve) when they dance with ghosts and lament the coming of winter. The Irish still say fairies live in the pagan sidh (burial mounds and barrow graves), several hundred of which still stand in the Irish countryside today. Fairies are thought to have a connection to the deadlands as well as to heaven. They have the ability to freely weave in and out of the heavens, the earth, and the underworld. Fairies are still thought to come out of their hills (fairy hills) at Samhain or Halloween.
Fairies are also often found in wooded groves. Whether in hills or woods, they all reside in the land of Tir na nog which is the Land of Eternal Youth. Mortals cannot often see fairies because of the division of the worlds, but every now and again they get a precious glimpse of them. This often will happen at twilight when the veil of the worlds is briefly parted. Travelers must be wary, however. Entering Tir na nog can be very dangerous as few mortals have been known to escape alive. Mischievous fairies have been known to lure travelers into Tir na nog, and few of these travelers have returned. Travelers that did return often described a dreamlike state in which they spent most of their time in a curious fog. Sometimes a traveler would come back decades later only to find his loved ones had passed away, while the traveler himself was still as young as the day he entered
the grove. Will o' Wisps are illuminated fairies, pretty lights, which lead unwary travelers into this strange land, and can be avoided by refusing to follow them.
Fairy peoples are thought to have descended from the race of Elves. Elves are an ancient race of magical, slender creatures with pointed ears thought to be extinct. Unlike fairies, they lack the ability to fly, which may have made the fairies a more adaptable race. Elves were once very closely associated with the land and with nature and fairies took over many of their roles in this tradition. Fairies are now air, water, fire and tree spirits. These are also the four points that make up a pagan pentagram (air, water, fire and earth) and the fifth point is spirit, which the fairies incarnate represent.
Throughout most of the former celtic nations : Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Germany, the fairies are becoming things of the past. Even though fairies are commonly believed to exist today, from the eighteenth century and on they have been seen less and less. Once firmly ensconced in the minds of men, the fairies may now be in decline. That people do not often see them any more makes some argue that the fairies will eventually disappear as men stop believing in them. Fairies have a reputation for stealing infant babies and replacing them with changelings. Parents can protect against kidnapping by lying the father's trousers over the cradle or by hanging an open pair of scissors above it.
Much of the folklore about fairies revolves around protection from their malice, by such means as cold iron (iron is like poison to fairies, and they will not go near it) or charms of rowan and herbs, or avoiding offense by shunning locations known to be theirs. In particular, folklore describes how to prevent the fairies from stealing babies and substituting changelings, and abducting older people as well. Many folktales are told of fairies, and they appear as characters in stories from medieval tales of chivalry, to Victorian fairy tales, and up to the present day in modern literature.
The Reverend Robert Kirk, Minister of the Parish of Aberfoyle, Stirling, Scotland, wrote in 1691:
"These Siths or Fairies they call Sleagh Maith or the Good People...are said to be of middle nature between Man and Angel, as were Daemons thought to be of old; of intelligent fluidous Spirits, and light changeable bodies (lyke those called Astral) somewhat of the nature of a condensed cloud, and best seen in twilight. These bodies be so pliable through the sublety of Spirits that agitate them, that they can make them appear or disappear at pleasure" - from The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies.
Although in modern culture they are often depicted as young, sometimes winged, humanoids of small stature, they originally were depicted much differently: tall, radiant, angelic beings or short, wizened trolls being some of the commonly mentioned. Diminutive fairies of one kind or another have been recorded for centuries, but occur alongside the human-sized beings; these have been depicted as ranging in size from very tiny up to the size of a human child. Even with these small fairies, however, their small size may be magically assumed rather than constant.
Wings, while common in Victorian and later artwork of fairies, are very rare in the folklore; even very small fairies flew with magic, sometimes flying on ragwort stems or the backs of birds. Nowadays, fairies are often depicted with ordinary insect wings or butterfly wings. Various animals have also been described as fairies. Sometimes this is the result of shape shifting on part of the fairy, as in the case of the selkie (seal people); others, like the kelpie and various black dogs, appear to stay more constant in form.
Origin of fairies
Folk beliefs (Dead)
One popular belief was that they were the dead, or some subclass of the dead. The Irish banshee (Irish Gaelic bean sí or Scottish Gaelic bean shìth, which both mean "fairy woman") is sometimes described as a ghost. The northern English Cauld Lad of Hylton, though described as a murdered boy, is also described as a household sprite like a brownie, much of the time a Barghest or Elf. One tale recounted a man caught by the fairies, who found that whenever he looked steadily at one, the fairy was a dead neighbor of his. This was among the most common views expressed by those who believed in fairies, although many of the informants would express the view with some doubts.
Another view held that the fairies were an intelligent species, distinct from humans and angels. In alchemy in particular they were regarded as elementals, such as gnomes and sylphs, as described by Paracelsus. This is uncommon in folklore, but accounts describing the fairies as "spirits of the air" have been found popularly.
A third belief held that they were a class of "demoted" angels. One popular story held that when the angels revolted, God ordered the gates shut; those still in heaven remained angels, those in hell became devils, and those caught in between became fairies. Others held that they had been thrown out of heaven, not being good enough, but they were not evil enough for hell. This may explain the tradition that they had to pay a "teind" or tithe to Hell. As fallen angels, though not quite devils, they could be seen as subject of the Devil.
A fourth belief was the fairies were demons entirely. This belief became much more popular with the growth of Puritanism. The hobgoblin, once a friendly household spirit,
became a wicked goblin. Dealing with fairies was in some cases considered a form of witchcraft and punished as such in this era. Disassociating himself from such evils may be
why Oberon, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, carefully observed that neither he nor his court feared the church bells. The belief in their angelic nature was less common
than that they were the dead, but still found popularity, especially in Theosophist circles. Informants who described their nature sometimes held aspects of
both the third and the fourth view, or observed that the matter was disputed.
A less-common belief was that the fairies were actually humans; one folktale recounts how a woman had hidden some of her children from God, and then looked for them in vain, because they had become the hidden people, the fairies. This is parallel to a more developed tale, of the origin of the Scandinavian huldra.
A story of the origin of fairies appears in a chapter about Peter Pan in J. M. Barrie's 1902 novel The Little White Bird, and was incorporated into his later works about the character. Barrie wrote, "When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies."
Many of the Irish tales of the Tuatha Dé Danann refer to these beings as fairies, though in more ancient times they were regarded as Goddesses and Gods. The Tuatha Dé Danann were spoken of as having come from Islands in the north of the world, or, in other sources, from the sky. After being defeated in a series of battles with other Otherworldly beings, and then by the ancestors of the current Irish people, they were said to have withdrawn to the sídhe (fairy mounds), where they lived on in popular imagination as "fairies."
Sources of beliefs
A hidden people
One common theme found among the Celtic nations describes a race of diminutive people who had been driven into hiding by invading humans. They came to be seen as another race, or possibly spirits, and were believed to live in an Otherworld that was variously described as existing underground, in hidden hills (many of which were ancient burial mounds), or across the Western Sea.In old Celtic fairy lore the sidhe (fairy folk) are immortals living in the ancient barrows and cairns. The Tuatha de Danaan are associated with several Otherworld realms including Mag Mell (the Pleasant Plain), Emain Ablach (the Fortress of Apples or the Land of Promise or the Isle of Women), and the Tir na nÓg (the Land of Youth). The concept of the Otherworld is also associated with the Isle of Apples, known as Avalon in the Arthurian mythos (often equated with Ablach Emain). Here we find the Silver Bough that allowed a living mortal to enter and withdraw from the Otherworld or Land of the Gods. According to legend, the Fairy Queen sometimes offered the branch to worthy mortals, granting them safe passage and food during their stay.
Some 19th century archaeologists thought they had found underground rooms in the Orkney islands resembling the Elfland in Childe Rowland. In popular folklore, flint arrowheads from the Stone Age were attributed to the fairies as "elf-shot".The fairies' fear of iron was attributed to the invaders having iron weapons, whereas the inhabitants had only flint and were therefore easily defeated in physical battle. Their green clothing and underground homes were credited to their need to hide and camouflage themselves from hostile humans, and their use of magic a necessary skill for combating those with superior weaponry. In Victorian beliefs of evolution, cannibalism among "ogres" was attributed to memories of more savage races, still practicing it alongside "superior" races that had abandoned it. Selkies, described in fairy tales as shapeshifting seal people, were attributed to memories of skin-clad "primitive" people traveling in kayaks. African pygmies were put forth as an example of a race that had previously existed over larger stretches of territory, but come to be scarce and semi-mythical with the passage of time and prominence of other tribes and races.
Christianized Pagan Deities
Another theory is that the fairies were originally worshiped as gods, but with the coming of Christianity, they lived on, in a dwindled state of power, in folk belief. In this particular time, fairies were reputed by the church as being 'evil' beings. Many beings who are described as deities in older tales are described as "fairies" in more recent writings. Victorian explanations of mythology, which accounted for all gods as metaphors for natural events that had come to be taken literally, explained them as metaphors for the night sky and stars. According to this theory, fairies are personified aspects of nature and deified abstract concepts such as ‘love’ and ‘victory’ in the pantheon of the particular form of animistic nature worship reconstructed as the religion of Ancient Western Europe.
Spirits of the dead
A third theory was that the fairies were a folkloric belief concerning the dead. This noted many common points of belief, such as the same legends being told of ghosts and fairies, the sídhe in actuality being burial mounds, it being dangerous to eat food in both Fairyland and Hades, and both the dead and fairies living underground.
Fairies in literature and legend
The question as to the essential nature of fairies has been the topic of myths, stories, and scholarly papers for a very long time.
Practical beliefs and protection
When considered as beings that a person might actually encounter, fairies were noted for their mischief and malice. Some pranks ascribed to them, such as tangling the hair of sleepers into "Elf-locks", stealing small items or leading a traveler astray, are generally harmless. But far more dangerous behaviors were also attributed to fairies. Any form of sudden death might stem from a fairy kidnapping, with the apparent corpse being a wooden stand-in with the appearance of the kidnapped person.Consumption (tuberculosis) was sometimes blamed on the fairies forcing young men and women to dance at revels every night, causing them to waste away from lack of rest.Fairies riding domestic animals, such as cows or pigs or ducks, could cause paralysis or mysterious illnesses.
As a consequence, practical considerations of fairies have normally been advice on averting them. In terms of protective charms, cold iron is the most familiar, but other things are regarded as detrimental to the fairies: wearing clothing inside out, running water, bells (especially church bells), St. John's wort, and four-leaf clovers, among others. Some lore is contradictory, such as Rowan trees in some tales being sacred to the fairies, and in other tales being protection against them. In Newfoundland folklore, the most popular type of fairy protection is bread, varying from stale bread to hard tack or a slice of fresh home-made bread. The belief that bread has some sort of special power is an ancient one. Bread is associated with the home and the hearth, as well as with industry and the taming of nature, and as such, seems to be disliked by some types of fairies. On the other hand, in much of the Celtic folklore, baked goods are a traditional offering to the folk, as are cream and butter.
“The prototype of food, and therefore a symbol of life, bread was one of the commonest protections against fairies. Before going out into a fairy-haunted place, it was customary to put a piece of dry bread in one’s pocket.”
Bells also have an ambiguous role; while they protect against fairies, the fairies riding on horseback — such as the fairy queen — often have bells on their harness. This may be a distinguishing trait between the Seelie Court from the Unseelie Court, such that fairies use them to protect themselves from more wicked members of their race. Another ambiguous piece of folklore revolves about poultry: a cock's crow drove away fairies, but other tales recount fairies keeping poultry.
In County Wexford, Ireland, in 1882, it was reported that “if an infant is carried out after dark a piece of bread is wrapped in its bib or dress,
and this protects it from any witchcraft or evil.”
While many fairies will confuse travelers on the path, the will o' the wisp can be avoided by not following it. Certain locations, known to be haunts of fairies,
are to be avoided; C. S. Lewis reported hearing of a cottage more feared for its reported fairies than its reported ghost. In particular, digging in fairy hills was unwise.
Paths that the fairies travel are also wise to avoid.
Home-owners have knocked corners from houses because the corner blocked the fairy path, and cottages have been built with the front and back doors in line, so that the owners could, in need, leave them both open and let the fairies troop through all night. Locations such as fairy forts were left undisturbed; even cutting brush on fairy forts was reputed to be the death of those who performed the act. Fairy trees, such as thorn trees, were dangerous to chop down; one such tree was left alone in Scotland, though it prevented a road being widened for seventy years. Good house-keeping could keep brownies from spiteful actions, because if they didn't think the house is clean enough, they pinched people in their sleep. Such water hags as Peg Powler and Jenny Greenteeth, prone to drowning people, could be avoided by avoiding the bodies of water they inhabit.
Other actions were believed to offend fairies. Brownies were known to be driven off by being given clothing, though some folktales recounted that they were offended by inferior quality of the garments given, and others merely stated it, some even recounting that the brownie was delighted with the gift and left with it. Other brownies left households or farms because they heard a complaint, or a compliment. People who saw the fairies were advised not to look closely, because they resented infringements on their privacy.The need to not offend them could lead to problems:
one farmer found that fairies threshed his corn, but the threshing continued after all his corn was gone, and he concluded that they were stealing from his neighbors, leaving him the choice between offending them, dangerous in itself, and profiting by the theft.
Millers were thought by the Scots to be "no canny", owing to their ability to control the forces of nature, such as fire in the kiln, water in the burn, and for being able to set machinery a-whirring. Superstitious communities sometimes believed that the miller must be in league with the fairies. In Scotland fairies were often mischievous and to be feared. No one dared to set foot in the mill or kiln at night as it was known that the fairies brought their corn to be milled after dark. So long as the locals believed this then the miller could sleep secure in the knowledge that his stores were not being robbed. John Fraser, the miller of Whitehill claimed to have hidden and watched the fairies trying unsuccessfully to work the mill. He said he decided to come out of hiding and help them, upon which one of the fairy women gave him a gowpen (double handful of meal) and told him to put it in his empty girnal (store), saying that the store would remain full for a long time, no matter how much he took out.
It is also believed that to know the name of a particular fairy could summon it to you and force it to do your bidding. The name could be used as an insult towards the fairy in question, but it could also rather contradictorily be used to grant powers and gifts to the user.
A considerable amount of lore about fairies revolves around changelings, fairy children left in the place of stolen human babies. Older people could also be abducted; a woman who had just given birth and had yet to be churched was considered to be in particular danger. A common thread in folklore is that eating the fairy food would trap the captive, as Persephone in Hades; this warning is often given to captives who escape by other people in the fairies' power, who are often described as captives who had eaten and so could not be freed. Folklore differed about the state of the captives: some held that they lived a merry life, others that they always pined for their old friends.
In Scottish folklore, fairies are divided into the Seelie Court, the more beneficently inclined (but still dangerous) fairies, and the Unseelie Court, the malicious fairies. While the fairies from the Seelie court enjoyed playing pranks on humans they were usually harmless pranks, compared to the Unseelie court that enjoyed bringing harm to humans as entertainment.
Trooping fairies refer to fairies who appear in groups and might form settlements. In this definition, fairy is usually understood in a wider sense, as the term can also include various kinds of mythical creatures mainly of Celtic origin; however, the term might also be used for similar beings such as dwarves or elves from Germanic folklore. These are opposed to solitary fairies, who do not live or associate with others of their kind.
In many legends, the fairies are prone to kidnapping humans, either as babies, leaving changelings in their place, or as young men and women. This can be for a time or forever, and may be more or less dangerous to the kidnapped. In the 19th Century Child Ballad, "Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight", the elf-knight is a Bluebeard figure, and Isabel must trick and kill him to preserve her life. Child Ballad "Tam Lin" reveals that the title character, though living among the fairies and having fairy powers, was in fact an "earthly knight" and, though his life was pleasant now, he feared that the fairies would pay him as their teind (tithe) to hell. Sir Orfeo tells how Sir Orfeo's wife was kidnapped by the King of Faerie and only by trickery and excellent harping ability was he able to win her back. Sir Degare narrates the tale of a woman overcome by her fairy lover, who in later versions of the story is unmasked as a mortal. Thomas the Rhymer shows Thomas escaping with less difficulty, but he spends seven years in Elfland. Oisín is harmed not by his stay in Faerie but by his return; when he dismounts, the three centuries that have passed catch up with him, reducing him to an aged man. King Herla (O.E. "Herla cyning"), originally a guise of Woden but later Christianised as a king in a tale by Walter Map, was said, by Map, to have visited a dwarf's underground mansion and returned three centuries later; although only some of his men crumbled to dust on dismounting, Herla and his men who did not dismount were trapped on horseback, this being one account of the origin of the Wild Hunt of European folklore.
A common feature of the fairies is the use of magic to disguise appearance. Fairy gold is notoriously unreliable, appearing as gold when paid, but soon thereafter revealing itself to be leaves, gorse blossoms, gingerbread cakes, or a variety of other useless things. These illusions are also implicit in the tales of fairy ointment. Many tales from Northern Europe tell of a mortal woman summoned to attend a fairy birth — sometimes attending a mortal, kidnapped woman's childbed. Invariably, the woman is given something for the child's eyes, usually an ointment; through mischance, or sometimes curiosity, she uses it on one or both of her own eyes. At that point, she sees where she is; one midwife realizes that she was not attending a great lady in a fine house but her own runaway maid-servant in a wretched cave. She escapes without making her ability known, but sooner or later betrays that she can see the fairies. She is invariably blinded in that eye, or in both if she used the ointment on both.
Fairy Funerals : There have been claims by people in the past, like William Blake, to have seen fairy funerals. Allan Cunningham in his Lives of Eminent British Painters records that William Blake claimed to have seen a fairy funeral. 'Did you ever see a fairy's funeral, madam? said Blake to a lady who happened to sit next to him. 'Never, Sir!' said the lady. 'I have,' said Blake, 'but not before last night.' And he went on to tell how, in his garden, he had seen 'a procession of creatures of the size and colour of green and grey grasshoppers, bearing a body laid out on a rose-leaf, which they buried with songs, and then disappeared'. They are believed to be an omen of death.
Fairies appeared in medieval romances as one of the beings that a knight errant might encounter. A fairy lady appeared to Sir Launfal and demanded his love; like the fairy bride of ordinary folklore, she imposed a prohibition on him that in time he violated. Sir Orfeo's wife was carried off by the King of Faerie. Huon of Bordeaux is aided by King Oberon. These fairy characters dwindled in number as the medieval era progressed; the figures became wizards and enchantresses. Morgan le Fay, whose connection to the realm of Faerie is implied in her name, in Le Morte d'Arthur is a woman whose magic powers stem from study. While somewhat diminished with time, fairies never completely vanished from the tradition. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late tale, but the Green Knight himself is an otherworldly being. Edmund Spenser featured fairies in The Faerie Queene. In many works of fiction, fairies are freely mixed with the nymphs and satyrs of classical tradition; while in others (e.g. Lamia), they were seen as displacing the Classical beings. 15th century poet and monk John Lydgate wrote that King Arthur was crowned in "the land of the fairy", and taken in his death by four fairy queens, to Avalon where he lies under a "fairy hill", until he is needed again.
Fairies appear as significant characters in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night Dream, which is set simultaneously in the woodland, and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon and in which a disturbance of Nature caused by a fairy dispute creates tension underlying the plot and informing the actions of the characters. According to Maurice Hunt, Chair of the English Department at Baylor University, the blurring of the identities of fantasy and reality makes possible “that pleasing, narcotic dreaminess associated with the fairies of the play”.
Shakespeare's contemporary, Michael Drayton features fairies in his Nimphidia; from these stem Alexander Pope's sylphs of The Rape of the Lock, and in the mid 17th century, précieuses took up the oral tradition of such tales to write fairy tales; Madame d'Aulnoy invented the term contes de fée ("fairy tale"). While the tales told by the précieuses included many fairies, they were less common in other countries' tales; indeed, the Brothers Grimm included fairies in their first edition, but decided this was not authentically German and altered the language in later editions, changing each "Fee" (fairy) to an enchantress or wise woman. J. R. R. Tolkien described these tales as taking place in the land of Faerie. Additionally, not all folktales that feature fairies are generally categorized as fairy tales.
Fairies in literature took on new life with Romanticism. Writers such as Sir Walter Scott and James Hogg were inspired by folklore which featured fairies, such as the Border ballads. This era saw an increase in the popularity of collecting of fairy folklore, and an increase in the creation of original works with fairy characters. In Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, Puck holds to scorn the moralizing fairies of other Victorian works. The period also saw a revival of older themes in fantasy literature, such as C.S. Lewis's Narnia books which, while featuring many such classical beings as fauns and dryads, mingles them freely with hags, giants, and other creatures of the folkloric fairy tradition. Victorian flower fairies were popularized in part by Queen Mary’s keen interest in fairy art, and by British illustrator and poet Cicely Mary Barker's series of eight books published in 1923 through 1948. Imagery of fairies in literature became prettier and smaller as time progressed. Andrew Lang, complaining of "the fairies of polyanthuses and gardenias and apple blossoms" in the introduction to The Lilac Fairy Book, observed that "These fairies try to be funny, and fail; or they try to preach, and succeed."
Fairies are seen in Neverland, in Peter and Wendy, the novel version of J. M. Barrie's famous Peter Pan stories, published in 1911, and its character Tinker Bell has become a pop culture icon. When Peter Pan is guarding Wendy from pirates, the story says: "After a time he fell asleep, and some unsteady fairies had to climb over him on their way home from an orgy. Any of the other boys obstructing the fairy path at night they would have mischiefed, but they just tweaked Peter's nose and passed on."
Fairies in Malay Folk Stories
In Malays, fairy/fairies are called 'pari-pari' (Malaysian) or 'peri' (Indonesian).
They are often looked as motherly figure helpful creatures who will help those who have good heart.
Fairies in art
Images of fairies have appeared as illustrations, often in books of fairy tales, as well as in photographic-based media and sculpture. Some artists known for their depictions of fairies include Cicely Mary Barker, Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Amy Brown, David Delamare, Meredith Dillman, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Warwick Goble, Kylie InGold, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Myrea Pettit, Florence Harrison, Suza Scalora, Nene Thomas, Gustave Doré, Rebecca Guay and Greta James.
The Victorian era was particularly noted for fairy paintings. The Victorian painter Richard Dadd created paintings of fairy-folk with a sinister and malign tone. Other Victorian artists who depicted fairies include John Atkinson Grimshaw, Joseph Noel Paton, John Anster Fitzgerald and Daniel Maclise. Interest in fairy-themed art enjoyed a brief renaissance following the publication of the Cottingley Fairies photographs in 1917 and a number of artists turned to painting fairy themes.
Fairies in religion
In the teachings of Theosophy, Devas, the equivalent of angels, are regarded as living either in the atmospheres of the planets of the solar system (Planetary Angels) or inside the Sun (Solar Angels) (presumably other planetary systems and stars have their own angels) and they are believed to help to guide the operation of the processes of nature such as the process of evolution and the growth of plants; their appearance is reputedly like colored flames about the size of a human being. Some (but not most) devas originally incarnated as human beings. Less important smaller-in-size less evolutionarily developed minor angels are called nature spirits, elementals, and fairies.  The Cottingley Fairies photographs in 1917 (revealed by the "photographers" in 1981 to have been faked) were originally believed to have been real by many Theosophists. It is believed by Theosophists that devas, nature spirits, elementals (gnomes, ondines, sylphs, and salamanders), and fairies can be observed when the third eye is activated. It is maintained by Theosophists that these less evolutionarily developed beings have never been previously incarnated as human beings; they are regarded as being on a separate line of spiritual evolution called the “deva evolution”; eventually, as their souls advance as they reincarnate, it is believed they will incarnate as devas. It is asserted by Theosophists that all of the above mentioned beings possess etheric bodies that are composed of etheric matter, a type of matter finer and more pure that is composed of smaller particles than ordinary physical plane matter.
Aeval - A Faery Queen of southwestern Munster. In her district a debate was launched on whether the men were satisfying the woman's sexual needs. In a midnight court, Aeval heard both sides and then decreed the men wrong and sentenced them to overcome their prudishness and accede to the woman's needs. (Kisma)
Asrai - are small and delicate female faeries who melt away into a pool of water when
captured or exposed to sunlight.
Bean-Nighe - (ben-neeya) Similar to that of the Banshee. The Washing women is the type of Banshee who haunts the lonely streams of Scotland and Ireland. Washing the
blood-stained garments of those about to die. It is said that these spirits are the ghosts of women who died in childbirth and that they are fated to perform their task until the day when they would have normally died.
Bendith y Mamau (ben-dith uh momay) - Mother's Blessing, which was the name of the fairies of the Carmarthenshire country in Wales; this saying became a prayer spoken to ward-off harm.
Black Annis - See Hags.
Bogles - Generally evil-natured Goblins although they are more disposed to do harm to liars and murderers.
Brown Man of the Muirs - Protector of wild beasts.
Brownie - His territory extends over the Lowlands of Scotland and up into the Highlands and Islands all over the north and east of England and into the Midlands. With a natural linguistic variation, he becomes the BWCA of Wales, the Highland Bodach and the Manx Fenodoree. In the West Country, Pixies or Pisgies occasionally perform the offices of a brownie and show some of the same characteristics, though they are essentially different. Border brownies are most characteristic. They are small men, about three feet in height, very raggedly dressed in brown clothes, with brown faces and shaggy heads, who come out at night to do the work that has been left undone by the servants. They make themselves responsible for the farm or house in which they live: reap, mow, her the sheep, prevent the hens from laying away, run errands, and give good counsel at need. A brownie can become personally attached to one member of the family.
Bwca - The Welsh name for the Brownie.
Cluricaun - After his day's labors the Leprechaun enjoys a night's revelry and then
becomes known as the Cluricaun (kloor-a-kawn). He raids wine cellars and is known to take wild drunken rides through the moonlight on the backs of sheep or shepherds dogs.
Coblynau - Welsh Mine Goblin. Cousins to the Cornish Knockers. These creatures using mining tools, are seen working industriously at the seam faces. The knocking of their picks and hammers is lucky, a sign of heavy ore content.
Corrigan - Malignant nature spirits found in Brittany, often associated with phantoms of the dead.
Daoine Maithe - "The Good People"; Similar to the Gentry, they were said to be next to heaven at the Fall, but did not fall; Some think they are a people expecting salvation.
Dwarfs - Germany/Isle of Rugen/Swiss mountains. Short but powerfully built, they are generally bearded and aged in appearance, this is because they reach maturity when only three years old and are grey bearded by the age of seven. Their homes are the mountains of Scandinavia and Germany where they mine for precious metals to work into arms and armor and other artifacts which are often endowed with magic. They cannot appear above ground tho one ray of sunlight and they will turn to stone. Other accounts say they spend daylight hours as toads.
Ellyllon - The name given to the Welsh elves. They are tiny, diaphanous fairies whose food is toadstools and fairy butter, a fungoid substance found in the roots of old trees and in limestone crevices. Their queen is Mab.
Elves - In Scandinavian mythology the fairy people were elves and were divided into two classes, the light elves and the dark elves, like the Seelie and Unseelie Court. In Scotland the fairy people of human size were often called elves and Faeryland was called Elfame; in England it was the smaller Trooping Fay who were called elves, and the name was particularly applied to small fairy boys.
Fachan, The - From the West Highlands of Scotland.
Fays - The dialect name in Northumberland.
Fair Family or Fair Folk - The euphemistic name used by the Welsh for the fairies. (See Tylwyth Teg.)
Farisees, or Pharisees - The Suffolk name for fairies. The Suffolk children used to be
confused between the farisees and the biblical mentions of the Pharises.
Fary - The dialect name in Northumberland.
Feeorin - A small fairy that is indicated as being, green-coated, generally red-capped, and with the usual fairy traits of love of dancing and music.
Fees - The fairiers of Upper Brittany.
Fenoderee - A type of Brownie from the Isle of Man. A willing worker of prodigious
strength, the Fenoderee performs many labors for the farmers of Man. The Fenoderee was a member of the Ferrishyn - the faerie tribe of Man, until he made the mistake of absenting himself from their Autumn festival to court a mortal girl. His good looks were taken from him and he became the solitary, ugly creature he is now.
Feriers, or Ferishers - Another Suffolk name for the fairies.
Ferries - The usual name for the Shetland and Ocadian fairies.
Ferrishyn (Ferrishin) - A Manx name for the fairy tribe; the singular is "ferrish". They are the Trooping Fairies of Man, though there does not seem to be any distinction between them and the Sleih Beggey. They are less aristocratic than the fairies of Ireland and Wales, and they have no named fairy king or queen. They were small, generally described as three feet in height, though sometimes as one foot. They could hear whatever was said out of doors. Every wind stirring carried the sound to their ears, and this made people very careful to speak of them favorably.
Fetes - The Fates of Upper Brittany.
Fir Darrig - (Fear dearg) delights in practiccal joking of a rather gruesome nature and therefore it is probably safer to humor him.
Foawr (fooar) - Manx equivalent of Highland Fomorians/giants, stone-throwing.
Frairies - The Norfolk and Suffolk, local version of the word "fairy".
Gentry, the - The most noble tribe of all the fairies in Ireland. A big race who came from the planets and usually appear in white. The Irish used to bless the Gentry for fear of harm otherwise.
Ghillie Dhu - A Scottish solitary faerie who inhabits certain birch hickets. His clothing is made of leaves and moss.
Glaistig, The - is a water faerie and is part seductive woman, part goat. The goat-like
attributes she tries to hide under a long flowing green dress. The Glaistig lures men to
dance with her before she feeds, vampire-like, on their blood. Her nature is typically
faerie-perverse for she can also be benign and gently tend children or old people.
She will also sometimes herd cattle for farmers.
Goblins - A breed of small, swarthy, malicious beings-although 'goblin' as a term is often used as a general name for thee uglier inhabitants of Faerie. They sometimes appear in the shape of animals which appropriately reflects their bestial nature. They are the thieves and villains of Faerie, companions to the Dead, especially on Halloween.
Good Neighbors - One of the most common Scottish and Irish names for the fairies.
Good People - The Irish often referred to their Sidhe in this manner. (See Daoine Maithe)
Green Children, The - The fairy are recorded in the medieval chronicles under such a name.
Green Lady of Caerphilly, The - Takes on the appearance of Ivy when she is not walking through the ruined castles she haunts.
Greencoaties - The name for the fairies that dwell in Lincolnshire Fen country.
Greenies - The euphemistic name used for the fairies in Lancashire, associated with the Jacobean Fairies.
Grey Neighbours, the - One of the euphemistic names for the fairies given by the
Shetlanders to the Trows, the small gray-clad goblins whom the Shetlanders used to
propitiate and fear, using against them many of the means used all over the islands as protection against fairies.
Guillyn Veggey - The Little Boys is a Manx term for the fairies who dwell on the Isle of Man.
Gwragedd Annwn, They are Welsh water faeries, beautiful Lake Maidens who
occassionally take mortals to be their husbands. One well-known legend tells of a young
man who used to graze his cattle by a small lake near the Black Mountains. One day he
saw a most enchanting creature rowing gently to and fro in a golden boat on the surface
of the lake. He fell deeply in love with her and offered her some of the bread he had
brought from home for his midday meal. She answered that the bread was too hard and disappeared into the depths. The young man's mother gave him some unbaked dough to
take with him the next day and he offered this to the faerie but she answered that it was
too soft and again disappeared. On the third day he took some lightly baked bread, which passed. Three figures rose from the lake, and old man with a beautiful daughter on either
side of him. The girls were identical and the father told the young farmer that he was
willing to offer him the daughter with whom he was in love if he could point her out. The farmer would have given up in despair but one slightly moved her foot and he, recognizing her slipper, won her hand. The young farmer was warned that he would lose his wife if he
ever should strike her three times causelessly. The Gwragedd Annwn had some curious
faerie ways; would weep at weddings and laugh at funerals, which led her husband to
strike her, and she was forced to leave him. Though her sons she had left behind with
all of their faery teachings they became great physicians.
Gwyllion (gwithleeon) - The evil mountain fairies of Wales. They are hideous female
spirits who waylay and mislead travelers by night on the mountain roads. They were
friends and patrons of the goats, and might indeed take goat form.
Hags - inhabiting the British Isles, who seem to personify winter, are probably survivals of the oldest goddesses. Some turn, like winter into Spring, from hideously ugly old women
into beautiful young maidens, and others like Black Annis are cannibalistic.
Henkies - One of the names given to the Trows of Orkney and Shetland.
Hobgoblin - Used by the Puritans and in later times for wicked goblin spirits, but its
more correct use is for the friendly spirits of the Brownie type. Hobgoblin was considered
an ill omened word. "Hob" and "Lob" are words meaning the same kind of creature as the Hobgoblin. They are on the whole good-humored and ready to be helpful, but fond of practical joking.
Host, The - See Unseelie Court.
Hyster-sprites - Lincolnshire and East Anglian fairies/small and sandy-colored, with
Jack-In-Irons - A Yorkshire giant who haunts lonely roads.
Jenny Greenteeth - Yorkshire River Hag who drowns children.
Jimmy Squarefoot - Frightening appearance but relatively harmless.
Kelpie, The - is a Scottish water faerie. Although sometimes appearing in the guise of a hairy man, this is more often seen in the form of a young horse. The Kelpie haunts rivers
and streams and, after letting unsuspecting humans mount him, will dash into the water
and give them a dunking. Each-Uisge (ech-ooshkya) or Aughisky (agh-iski) as he is
known in Ireland, inhabits seas and lochs and is far more dangerous.
Killmoulis, The - particularly ugly Brownie who haunts mills. He is characterized by an enormous nose and no mouth. To eat he presumably stuffs the food up his nose.
Although a Killmoulis works hard for the miller, he delights in practical jokes and can therefore be a hindrance rather than a help.
Klippe - The Forfarshire name for a fairy.
Leanan-Sidhe - (lan-awn-shee) On the Isle of Man she is a blood-sucking vampire
and in Ireland the muse of poets. Those inspired by her live brilliant, tho short lives.
Leprechaun - Generally described as a fairy shoemaker, this creature is a red-capped
fellow whostays around pure springs and is known to haunt cellars. He spends his time drinking and smoking. One branch of the Leprechaun is known as the Fir Darrig, who is a practical joker; both are of the Solitary Fairies. Leprechauns have also been associated with the Earth-elemental Gnome, and when so done, is described as being a merry little fellow dressed all in green, instead of wearing a red cap, a leather apron, drab clothes and buckled shoes, and the boy, who has fairy blood in him, succeeds in winning a wealth of treasure from an underground cave, keeps his gain secret, and is the founder of a prosperous familiy.
Li'l Fellas, the - Another Manx euphemistic name for The Good Neightbours.
Little Folk - See Sleight Beggey.
Little People of the Passamaquoddy Indians, the - There are two kinds of Little People among the Passamaquoddy Indians, the Nagumwa-suck and Mekumwasuck. Both kinds
are two and a half to three feet in height, and both are grotesquely ugly. The
Passamaquoddy Indians, wholived close to the Canadian border, used to migrate to the ocean in the summer and move inland in the winter. When they moved, their fairies
moved with them. The little People can only be seen by the Indians. They live in the woods and are fantastically and individually dressed. Their faces are covered with hair, which
strikes an alien note to the Indians. Oral tradition has it that they were made of stone.
Lunantishess - The tribes that guard the blackthorn trees or sloes in Ireland; they let you cut no stick on the eleventh of November (the original November Day), or on the eleventh
of May (the original May Day).
Spirits and Elements, Goblins, Elves and Gnomes
Is is true that we can communicate with those tiny beings? In spite of the fact that nature has been devastated by man, and that they were compelled to hide
in the jungle or in the woods, many of them live with human beings and are willing to serve them. To communicate with them, we should love everything
that surrounds us. They may appear under certain circumstances and on special occasions without us ever realizing of that, for they have the ability to
choose the form they shall appear under - which may be similar to the very nature either as a stone, a tree, an animal, a plant or even a human being.
These beings talk, laugh, are cautious, poor, rich, wise and crazy, just like all of us. They are the rough image of man, virtuous or vicious,
pure or impure, better or worse. They are grouped in generic families based on big differences among them, and the elements
they inhabit or preferably domain. They could be classified as follows:
Silfides The air element, featured by intelligence, represented by Spring and Dawn is inhabited by Sylphs in the form of butterflies.
They control winds, help birds in their migrations and flowers in their pollination. Their light yellow- toned translucent appearance is present
in the scent of wet herb threatening to rain.
Nymphs, Mermaids, Nereids, Naiads, Undines,and Water Goblins.
The water element featured by love and cures, represented by Autumn and Sunset, is inhabited by nymphs, mermaids, nereids, and undines. They appear as mythological
creatures in all liquids, such as seas, rivers, fresh water brooks, falls, and clouds. Their aspect vary depending on their habitat. Nereids rule
the seas; undines called Naiads by the Greek, are found in lakes. They are mostly blue and a receptive energy. Like mermaids, they attract any sailor with
their songs until they wreck. They are the ones channeling natural river beds.
The Earth element is the most dense. It is represented by Winter and the night. It is inhabited by Ladies, goblins, gnomes, and trolls. They are mostly green,
and have a receptive energy. Fairies or ladies are characterized by their kindness and for being the oldest inhabitants of the plant. They may either be
imposing or tiny; their powers, however, are incredible and dominate nature.
Salamanders The Fire element features both creation and destruction. It is represented by Summer, and daylight. It is inhabited by Salamanders, Farralis and Ra-Arus,
appearing as reddish salamanders and dragons. They give the idea that with courage and imagination everything can be done.
They send forth projective energy, and dominate the element. No fire would be ignited without their intervention.
GOBLINS, ELVES, AND GNOMES
Trying to explain or talking about beings not considered spirits, angels, or human beings is rather difficult. They, however, share something in common,
and more. We could give them the generic name of elemental creatures, nature spirits. They all inhabit the Magic World of Fairies.
TYPES OF GOBLINS DOMESTIC GOBLINS
They live inside houses or in the surroundings. For centuries they inhabited wild, woody, and mountainous areas,
living inside caves or caverns until one of them approached the places where human beings lived, firstly for the sake of curiosity, then with the single
objective of having fun. They appear preferably at night. They are about 50 cm- high and resemble man. They go out at night and love to have fun by dint
of those sleeping. Even though most of them like to bother or frighten human beings, some of them, however, love to help men in domestic households.
According to some experts, their names come from the Arabig word duar, meaning the one who inhabits or the inhabitant.
These are some little devil looking- goblins, not linked to a house, but to a person to whom they assist and make him their owner. They are linked to witchcraft.
They belong to a strange family of aggresive and individualist goblins. They cause nightmares and choose women and children as their victims.
GENERAL FEATURES OF ELVES
All these beings are very ancient, small and ugly. When they are standing, they have arms so long that they past beyond their ankles. They have abundant
and entangled hair, and a special talent for evil, though there are also benevolent Elves. They love larch roots, do not like rain, but are fond of tempests.
They have pointing ears and legs like wire.
TYPES OF ELVES Elves are huge magical beings divided into two big categories: The Ljsalfar, or Light Elves; The Dopkalfar, or Darkness Elves.
They dominate the change in appearance, have an ethereal beauty, are one of the best disposition elves. They are translucent and blue colored.
There are other light elves with the ability to move over fire or inside wood and stone. They are called Ellefolk; they can foretell the future, sing and
compose a fascinating and enraptured music.
Like lobsters, they build their homes beneath the earth. They are frequently found in houses where they prefer dark corners,
only visible at night. They may be of grey, brown, red or black colors. If a house has locks with no keys or small cracks in the wood,
Elves shall come in through those tiny spaces. They have many names, such as Cauchemar, Qaalruter, Nachtmannle.
They are the most numerous. They may be found in trees, plants, brooks or ponds. They are quite cautious and protected from the interference of strangers.
Since these elementary beings are earth spirits, they preferably work the soil and tree roots, to which they grant power. They look like funny
little old men, as they belong to a race coming from the beginning of times. It is said that they inhabited the lost Atlantis. These tiny creatures build
their homes under aging trees. They only go out at night and their home is lively after sunset. They are friends of animals, they speak their
same language and protect them from danger. The best feasts are when the freezing winds blow over the woods dancing and playing,
they start to run and some prefer rain for their dances.
Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy and http://heavenzgate2.tripod.com/faegarden/ for complete
Bibliography and References on the above reposted information
ALFF LOVE does not lay claim to any of it being original content
Bibliography and References on the above reposted information
ALFF LOVE does not lay claim to any of it being original content