July 14, 2011
Introducion to fairies
When I am a fairy, I’m often confused for an elven girl. Yet the cousinhood is closer to mermaids.
I found a good description over here:
Faerie kin can be divided into numerous classes, or races. Fairie is a collective term for many different beings, usually possessing magical powers. Many fairies have a human form, but some have animal or human/animal shapes. Who they are and how many there is, is something that varies among the facts I’ve found. So I give you all the classes I’ve found, and you can decide for yourself who you think are fay and who’re not.
Four major classes can be found:
The fay is mainly used to signify enchanters and enchantresses with supernatural powers. Some fay are mortal, others are supernatural beings or are part human and part supernatural. Two well-known fays are the Lady of the Lake and Morgan le Fay.
Certain monsters and demons having a connection with fairies and/or having some of the characteristics of fairies.
The nature fairies are mermaids, water-spirits, tree-spirits and such.
This may be considered “true” fairies. Two main groups: The communal fairies, who belong to a group, tribe, and/or nation and live together, or the individual or solitary fairies, who are usually associated with a place, occupation, or household.
For the most part communal fairies live in a Fairie land and may have a loosely organized social structure, or a distinct structure with a king and/or queen.
The solitary fairies are of two general types. Some have a connection with humans, others avoid them. The hobgoblins are friendly spirits who live in houses and do domestic chores, such as helping bread to rise and caring for unattended babies. The brownie is another type of solitary Fairie. The banshee is a solitary Fairie who wails to foretell the death of a family member. The leprechaun is a solitary Fairie who shuns human contact.
Those four groups consist of different creatures, and here are some of them:
Gnomes are earthly creatures, guardians of sacred places or things. Their weakness is sparkly things like precious stones. They make beautiful things out of stones and gems.
Sprites are playful nature spirits that live in ponds, trees or other cool places. They often play with nymphs and butterflies and were charged with changing the color of the leaves in autumn. They are muses to artists and poets and can bond to humans or elves, in which case they stay for the rest of their lives.
Elves are carefree nature spirits who dance and play stringed instruments. They live underground in in springs…sometime seven in air…They aren’t bad, but sometimes their pranks have been fatal to humans, but never intentionally. Elves apparently came in several distinct varieties. Though they were a rather mournful lot, one breed of elves was an invisible kitchen helper for good servants, the other the bringer of illness and misery. They can be of both sexes, or sexless. They can have wings, often do, and are no more than 30 cm high. Originally a part of Scandinavian mythology. The good elves lived in the air and the trees, and the evil ones underground.
Dwarfs are often thought of as strictly male, but some taletellers tell of female dwarfs…but who can tell?? Their beard is as thick as a male’s!! (ok.. some say they don’t have beards! Not even the males!!) They live for mining gold and silver and live in groups. They are masters at metalworking.
Jinn (Arabian). Spirits with shape shifting ability. They’re normally transparent, composed of flame or vapor. Some are good, while others are evil. If they take human shape, they are generally handsome if good, and horribly hideous if evil. They may also be of an enormous size and can make themselves invisible This means they cam disappear into earth, air, or through solid objects. They usually live in deserted buildings, water cisterns and wells, rivers, crossroads and markets. Ghoul, that haunt burial grounds and feeds upon dead human bodies is thought to be an inferior order of the jinn.
Mermaids are water-dwelling females with long-hair. Woman to the waist and a fish tail below. some say legs or two tails) She is musical. Often sings or plays the harp. They normally inhabits the sea, but may also be found in lakes, rivers, wells and other watery places. They have been known to warn of storms or other future events, and if one is seized, she can be forced to doso, or to perform other tasks. Mermaids may sometimes adopt land-dwelling children, making them their protector. Mermaids may also marry a land-dweller, or draw men to under the sea with them, either allowing them to live-in bliss or to be drowned, depending on her whim. Nixes are similar to mermaids, but are able to assume totally human form, but they always retain some mark of being non-human.
Goblins are pranksters, and are known to rearrange items in the house or tangle horses’ manes. On one page I found the beautiful analysis “As we near the 21st century, it seems obligatory to seethe goblins as representing the conflicts we all have within ourselves- most as ugly and mischievous as the goblins were known to be.”
Pixies are neat creatures.. They aern’t evil, but perform quite unkind tricks, like leading travelers astray or to steal naughty children. They like to pinch maids who don’t keep the house clean. They were often thought to be the souls of babies who had died before baptism.
Leprechauns. Shoemakers for the noble faeries of Ireland. They were cranky, solitary, and strangely enough, often seen by humans. A caught leprechaun tricks his captor into releasing him by telling him he can show him the way to the shoemaker’s great golden treasure, which the sad captor will never see, since the leprechaun will disappear before you know it…
Trolls. Nowadays, we often think of trolls as big, clumsy creatures who go around hitting people on the head with a hammer or something, but in the Middle Ages they were thought to have magical powers as fortune-telling.
Asrai are small, delicate water faeries. Fishermen might catch Asrai with his catch. When exposed to air they melt, leaving nothing more than water behind.
Brownies come out at night to finish work that’s been left unfinished. They are devoted to their household and expect nothing but a bowl of cream and a cake for their concern. Any offer of reward or clothing will drive the brownie away. Boggarts are “evil” brownies, they’ve often have been wronged by humans. They like tricking humans and often cause a great deal of trouble.
Changelings are fairies taking the place of a human child who has been stolen by other faeries. (in some stories like Scandinavian ones, changelings are Troll children) Parents may recover their own child if they can trick the changeling into revealing it’s age.
Selkies are faeries who put on seal skins and appear to be seals as they travel in the water. On land they shed their seal skins and have human form. A selkie maiden can be won as brides by stealing their seal skin as it lay on the beach, so they couldn’t return home.