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Fairies And Their Enchanting Ways

Butterfly Fairy - dressed in red, sitting with her legs crossed, playing with the butterfly's.

When thinking of fairies its usual to envisage tiny people dressed in Medieval/Victorian clothing, that are able to fly and cast minor spells. However, this is a "Hollywood" view that seems to bear little relation to fairies from folklore.

For starters, folklore fairies have the ability to confuse even the most stalwart researcher – because its hard to “pin down” exactly what they are. Indeed, the meaning of the word fairy (from Latin) does not help us: to enchant – a state/condition/realm of enchantment.

We shall now consider several interesting points regarding fairies.

Ancient Bonds

It would seem that fairies and mankind have existed side-by-side for countless generations – and that fairies were/have been charged with looking after the natural world (woodland, lakes, mountains, etc.). In earlier times (when man was less destructive), it seems that humanity had dealings with fairies on a daily basis (even involved in trade). But because of the destructiveness of man (including his need for scientific explanations), the power of many fairies is believed to be diminishing.

Religion also attempts to explain fairies – where it seems that several faiths regard them as having been dragged out of heaven (mistakenly by Lucifer's angels), and when finding themselves unable to return – chose to settle on Earth (because they were too “good” for hell). This in turn, gives rise to the theory that they are etheric/energy beings – with no actual physical bodies.

Behaviour

Flower Fairy - dressed in pink, sitting on a tree stump, holding her baby fairy in her hands.

Possibly due to their connection with the natural world, many fairies are believed to have a strong sense of justice/righteousness – which can influence their interaction with humans (i.e. making them helpful). Despite this, they can also carry out many undesirable activities, which cannot really be fully explained by their hatred of human deceit and dishonesty. These include:

  • Abductions. Possibly in a bid to replenish their ranks. In such cases, they often leave a changeling – which is identical in appearance to the abducted, but usually ill and weak; they die within a short period of time.
  • Practical jokes. You know you were reading the map correctly, but your lost all the same.
  • Relationships. Although some humans may desire this, its believed that such encounters are very risky (because they may feed off your life force).

There is one area that all fairies have in common: glamour. Here they play on the weaknesses of the human mind: (e.g.) showing you rivers of gold – when all your really seeing is a dried up river bank. Further to this, glamour can also give rise to effects such as these: paralysis, confusion and delusion.

Possible Classifications

Mushroom Fairy - sitting on a rock, with her head inclined, holding a mushroom umbrella.

Its hard to classify the unknown, however the following serves as a starting point:

  • Communal. The masses that are believed to dwell in/around low hills, mounds, underground and undersea. It is here that species such as elves, dwarfs and goblins are believed to come from. It is also here that you may find Kings and Queens – who rule over all fairies (including other types). It is believed that some of these feature complex and deeply hierarchical societies (with their own customs and lore).
  • House. Typically live in your house or even in that tree at the bottom of your garden. It is believed that this type are responsible for a fair amount of your households fortunes – so its wise to show them respect. On the other hand, they don't tolerate laziness and could get up to all kinds of mischief (e.g. banging walls) until you do what they want.
  • Solitary. Just like solitary animals in most species, these may be eccentric, live in the middle of nowhere (by themselves) and are usually intolerant of humans. They may also be hairy – which can lead to easy confusion with wild animals/men.

Examples

Leprechaun - all in green, with orange hair, golden buckles and a large happy grin.

Because of the amount of differences between descriptions of fairies from around the world, its reasonable to assume that fairies take on the form of “whatever the local populace expects”:

  • Aloja. Indigenous to Spain – they are believed to help guard the fate of human beings.
  • Bannik. They are believed to be the guardians of Russian bathhouses, ponds and saunas.
  • Banshee. Its regarded as an ill omen to see/hear one of these – since it is believed they foretell the death of an individual (family member).
  • Cailleach Beare. A guardian in certain parts of Ireland – she is thought to appear as an old chrone, that if kissed – turns into a young maiden and offers Kingship of the land.
  • Cwn Annwfn. Indigenous to Wales – these are fairy hounds that are believed to have the responsibility of hunting wrongdoers (such as those who have abused or offended others).
  • Huldra. Associated with Norse – these are believed to be peaceful (and beautiful) folk that look after cattle and play music.
  • Leprechaun. Indigenous to Ireland – these cobblers famously hoard their pot of gold, but can be made to give it up if you get the better of them.
  • Peri. They are associated with forest and river beings found in Persia.
  • Pisky. Indigenous to Devon and Cornwall – these folk are very territorial and often blamed for misleading travellers.
  • Tylwyth Teg. Although attractive to look at and fond of singing and dancing, this Welsh fairy folk are believed to be abductors – and human children are/were brought up to fear them.

Protection From

Evil Fairy - all in grey, with green slanted eyes, pointed ears and a twisted smile.

For those fairies whose interest in you has been far from beneficial, it may be worth trying some of these:

  • Seeking a flaw in any “perfect vision” – as it will then crumble away. This approach relies upon the typical Achilles heel of all things fairy: “Nothing is ever what it seems”. Despite this, you are likely to need a strong willpower to fight the illusion.
  • Employing running water (either around or in your house) – since it seems that some fairies are unable to cross it.
  • Holding an object made of iron (which is believed to dissipate a fairies energy).
  • Becoming a magician – which will altar your perception of fairies – and perhaps even allow you to control them.

Overall

It is worth noting that fairies appear to be world wide (or at least were) – and that various humans appear to have “worshipped” them: building individual shrines and continuing folklore traditions for centuries. Even now, its possible for well respected people to claim they've seen a Leprechaun (e.g.) – although talking of it freely is another matter.

Fantasy Reviews

Fairyland, Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast, Tinker Bell and the Pirate Fairy, Tinker Bell and the Secret of the Wings, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Tinker Bell, The Fairy Bible, Gothic Fire Fairy, Astraea - The Starlight in Fairy, Luminescent - The Moonlight in Fairy, Serenity - The Calming Fairy, Cinderella, Evanescent - The Butterfly in Fairy, Titania - Queen of Fairies, Ariadne - Labyrinth Fairy

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