The Life of a Fairy: Their Diet, Habitat, Reproduction and More!

The life of a fairy has been shrouded in mystery...until now!
The life of a fairy has been shrouded in mystery...until now! | Source

Fairies

Ever since we were children, the idea of fairies captivated our imaginations and flew us away in our dreams. We waited patiently for the tooth fairy to come and leave us penance for our baby teeth. We watched the television screen in awe as Tinkerbell fluttered around with pixie dust trailing after her. We wondered if fairies really could be real.

What would it be like to actually live a day in the life of a fairy? Let's explore how fairies survive - what they eat, what they do for fun, how they reproduce, where they live, and so much more! Keeping in mind that there are different types of fairies and each fairy is different as an individual.

The perfect little meal for a household fairy such as a brownie. Milk and cake!
The perfect little meal for a household fairy such as a brownie. Milk and cake! | Source

Diet: What do fairies eat?

If fairies exist, then what do they eat in order to survive? Well, the truth is that no one knows if fairies even need to eat at all, BUT if we look back at folklore from places in Europe we can see that the fairies did partake in human food from time to time. Depending upon the region and the fairies involved, often people would leave offerings to the "good folk" in order to keep them happy. For instance, in Ireland on All Souls Night (Halloween), people would leave a little bread and water on their tables so that when the fairies might pass by they would be pleased and leave the home in peace.

Another beverage that is steeped in fairy lore is milk. For centuries people in Ireland and Scotland would leave a bit of milk in a pail on the doorstep to prevent the fairies from stealing it straight from the cows! Fairies were known to love milk and would wreak havoc on a farmer's milk supply if not appeased. They might be inclined to dry the cow's milk up so that the cow produces none, or they might be inclined to turn the supply of milk and butter sour. Even though the Irish called them the "good folk", they weren't always so nice if offerings weren't left out for them.

Traditionally, other beverages that the fay liked to partake in included (but wasn't limited to): water, ale, beer, cream, wine, and mead. The cousin of the leprechaun, called the clurichaun, was said to invade a person's wine cellar and lay it to "ruin" according to folklorist Nicholas O'Kearney. He would be seen around at night, drunk as a skunk, off of wine or whatever other type of alcohol he could get his tiny hands on.

As far as what a fairy will eat, I believe that depends on the area where the fairy lives as well as the type of fairy. Again, tradition says that the smaller fairies prefer to eat foods that are sweet such as cakes and other sugary treats. But some folklore says that they would eat bread right off of a person's table given the opportunity. But what do they eat when they aren't eating from the humans' tables? Most likely the fairies eat whatever they can from nature - berries and fruit of any kind, herbs and vegetables, nuts, etc. There are those fairies that are considered dangerous and violent, and these are said to capture and eat humans as often as they can.

To read more about what fairies like to eat, click here.

A family of gnomes might be living in this tree!
A family of gnomes might be living in this tree! | Source
Fairies are said to live under the earth and within the earth...perhaps in caverns such as these.
Fairies are said to live under the earth and within the earth...perhaps in caverns such as these. | Source

Where do the fairies live?

Fairies are found on every continent around the world and even on the tiniest inhabited islands in the largest oceans. Many of us would like to know what is a fairy's habitat like? Where do they live? Do they reside in tiny houses or within the earth? Are they living on another plane of existence or our mundane plane here on Earth? The answer to these questions is simply yes. How can that be, you might be wondering.

To say that fairies only live on one plane of existence and in one type of habitat would be a fallacy. Fairies are so prevalent throughout the world's mythology and folklore, that they are said to have lived in almost every type of home and habitat one could think of. We will begin by discussing those otherworldly habitats that the ancient Celts spoke of long ago.

Fairyland

There are stories upon stories of people in Ireland, Scotland, and England (particularly) that tell of humans who are seduced by the wee folk into going off to "fairyland", and when and if these humans return to the land of the humans they return after years of being gone...and they are quite bewildered to find out they've been gone for years when they thought they had only been gone for mere minutes! This shows us that if the fairies live in a place all their own, this place might very well be on another spiritual plane of existence. Or another realm or dimension perhaps. This might be what some people call the "astral plane". There are different names for "fairyland" including Tir na nOg, elfhame, and elfland. This again depends on the region and the people who occupy that region and what they called it.

Under or Within the Earth

Often fairies are believed to live under the earth, in hills and caves and the like. Eyewitnesses dating back centuries would say that they saw a group of the good folk disappearing into the hills. In The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien, the dwarves were considered to be miners that created entire towns within the hills and mountains of Middle Earth. Tolkien was inspired by folklore and old world stories when he wrote his classic trilogy. Tommy-knockers are thought to be malevolent fairies that live under the earth that have often confused miners by incessantly knocking on the walls of the caves...while others say that the tommy-knockers are good-hearted and are knocking to warn the miners of an oncoming danger. These are just a few stories of fairies that live within the earth.

In and Below the Ocean

Some water-loving fairies live in and below the ocean waves. Folklorists today claim that merpeople are a type of fairy, and that merpeople live in palaces under the ocean floor. In Ireland, the merrows were merpeople that made their homes on the bottom of the oceanfloor. Other fairies are said to live in streams, lakes, ponds, lochs, and even in sacred wells. These types of fairies are either able to breathe underwater or live on another plane of existence in which the water would have no effect on their biological survival.

On Islands Hidden by the Mist

In the British Arthurian legends, Avalon was the Isle of the Blessed or the Isle in the Mist. Legend has it that either followers of the old ways lived there along with the Lady of the Lake. Other legends say that the people who lived in Avalon were either deceased or were in fact the "fairies". Morgan Le Fay from Arthurian legend was said to have been a fairy, or at least half-fairy. In an old Irish story, fairies or the good folk would come from an island in the mists and travel under the ocean's waves in order to receive a certain family's deceased. They would carry the deceased back to their Isle in the mists. Is this island hidden by the mist in fact the same place as the supposed "fairyland" of other stories?

Everywhere in Nature and Beyond

So if the fairies live on our plane of existence, we can find them almost anywhere in nature. There are those who live within hollowed out tree trunks, under and within the trees' roots, in the highest boughs of the trees, in homes made out of toadstools and mushrooms, and even homes made out of rocks by a stream or riverside. They can be found in gardens and living with the woodland animals. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you will even find a fairy living in your very own home!

A bridge known to be where the fairies cross.
A bridge known to be where the fairies cross. | Source

How do fairies procreate?

You might be wondering, if there's so many fairies and have been throughout history, where do they come from? How do they procreate or reproduce? Again, there are different theories on where fairies come from.

If we go by classic literature, in JM Barrie's Peter Pan, fairies were said to be made by children's laughs. This is a sweet thought and concept, but perhaps not everyone would agree that this is exactly logical. It is more likely that pixies and small flower fairies are made in this way, but what about the larger and more capricious fairies? What about the malevolent-type fairies who not only dislike human beings but are out to wreak havoc upon them? I doubt a baby's laugh would create such monstrosities. So for the next theory of fairy procreation...

Fairies are very similar to human beings in their physical make-up, so many people believe fairies can reproduce just as humans do. With a male and female fairy coming together to reproduce and therefore birthing fairy babies. This theory could tie into the stories of "changelings". Changelings were thought to be fairy babies (usually hideous in appearance and extremely mischievous) that were substituted for a human baby when human babies were kidnapped by the fairies. (To read more about changelings, click here.)

Some people in the Dark Ages believed that fairies weren't "born" at all, but that they were spiritual in that they are the souls of pagans or that they were fallen angels. And again, if we believe that fairies are actually spiritual or astral in nature, perhaps they are made just as human souls are made...by the Universe or Creative force.

Fairies are known to dance in circles called fairy rings, and will sometimes pull an unsuspecting human inside.
Fairies are known to dance in circles called fairy rings, and will sometimes pull an unsuspecting human inside. | Source

What Fairies Do For Fun

What do fairies like to do for fun? This question has many answers, just as the other questions do. Fairies are so different by group, region, and even by individual fairy. In many stories, fairies are seen dancing, making music and generally being merry. They sing, frolick through fields, and even enjoy entrancing any human beings that happen by. Don't get caught up in the fairy's dance lest you be "pixie-led" into fairyland or even off of a cliff!

Fairies are also said to enjoy playing tricks and pranks on people. They enjoy getting into the pantry, making little messes, and they especially enjoy "borrowing" shiny objects such as jewelry and stones. Fairies like to eat and drink most offerings that are set out for them...namely sweet treats, milk, and alcoholic beverages of various kinds.

In various places in Europe and the Americas, the nicer fairies are said to enjoy working...whether that be making shoes, clothing, or doing simple household chores to aiding around the farm. They also are said to be particularly nature-lovers and will help plants grow and will help animals in their times of need. Fairies were said to ride on the backs of horses on what was known as the "fairy-raide" (fairy-ride). Many of the fairies have wings and like to fly and flutter from place to place. Some fairies like to interact with certain humans, while others want nothing to do with humans.

This was just a brief look into the life of a fairy. Obviously the fairies differ from one another, just as you and I differ from each other. If you happen to meet a fairy, perhaps you can ask her what it is like to be one.

Participate in a poll:

Have you ever seen a fairy?

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Fairies love to be out in nature most of all.
Fairies love to be out in nature most of all. | Source

Want to learn more about Fairies?

I have written dozens of articles on fairies. If you are interested in learning more, please click through the articles in the series posted below. If you have any questions about fairies, feel free to ask in the comments below!

Here are a few links to my fairy articles:

Fairy Legends and Lore from Europe

What do fairies like to do?

What do fairies eat?

Are there mean fairies?

How to Find Real Fairies

© 2014 Author Nicole Canfield

More by this Author


Comments 23 comments

limpet profile image

limpet 2 months ago from London England

merrie we meet

There are moves afoot by the 'powers that be' to create an impersonal, fully automated society. Those of us (who know) are doing our best to counter their 'Tom Foolery'.

bless


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 15 months ago from the Ether Author

limpet - So true. It's sad, really. How much beauty has been given over to our waste? I wonder how much magic has truly been lost from the world since the days before industrialization. Thanks for sharing!


limpet profile image

limpet 15 months ago from London England

It's pretty safe to say that the world is in a right mess now into the 21st century. Can't speak for other global cities but mine is just one huge construction site with a constant drilling and grinding not to mention continual rubbish dumping. Fortunately we have woodland within an hours journey with some patches of woodland or heath lands closer to home. Whenever i venture into the woods i do so in total silence and nudge irrelevant thoughts out of my mind. I am part of the scenario with a right to be there in this living ecosystem i refer to as 'the eatherial realm'


Terrex profile image

Terrex 15 months ago

Chick writing about fairies hehe

I found this really cute :D


Craan profile image

Craan 24 months ago from Florida

These little fairies sound like what children love to do. You have an extremely vivid imagination. I can't say I'll ever see a real fairy. A child's lovely smile is good enough for me.


winter aconite profile image

winter aconite 2 years ago

What a fantastic article!!! Love it!!!!


limpet profile image

limpet 2 years ago from London England

I've been pondering the whereabouts of 'Elfhame' that etherial realm ruled by the Queene of the Fae. As it is not marked on any ordnance maps for obvious reasons, the best place to start is where they may have a secluded habitat. Fifteen minutes by commuter train from London still under the flight path of Heathrow and one hour ramble through overgrown tracks brings you to a heavily wooded dell, quite spooky to say the least. Nearby lived Enid Blyton the author of hundreds of children's fairy tale stories. Travelling in a westerly direction you would come to a locality which inspired Kenneth Graham to write Wind in the Willows. Further upstream is where Lewis Carroll had Alice enter Wonderland down a rabbit hole. Due south is Watership Down. X marks the spot smack in the middle of these places.


limpet profile image

limpet 2 years ago from London England

Yes, it is quite fair to say that all cultures on our planet can attest to an enchanted realm. In the Hawaian islands they have in their folklore the 'Menahuni' (or the little people) and in the far east there are various sprites or spiritual entities.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 2 years ago from the Ether Author

Thanks, Daniella. You're speaking of the Tuatha de Danaan. I have heard that theory/legend too but not sure if I can believe gods were reduced to that of the fae (not to say the fae are less but you get the picture). Thanks for sharing!


Daniella Lopez profile image

Daniella Lopez 2 years ago from Arkansas

Such a wonderful article, Kitty! You've provided so much information. I have always heard that the fae were the people of the tribe of Danu, so they weren't really "born". I had also heard of the child's laughter theory, which is the version that my children love to hear about.

My family always leaves treats of sweet bread (usually a cornbread type of meal) and some hemp milk out for the wee folk on Samhain. I like to keep it down to simple foods that can compost easily.

Thank you for the post! Blessed be!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

I especially like the story of Tommy-knockers. I had never heard of them. Upvoted and pinning.


daborn7 profile image

daborn7 2 years ago from California

How cool! I love the creativeness in this hub. My kids will want to read this one I'm sure! Thanks for lightening my day!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

Aw kitty I love this! lol! me and fairys are like that! (fingers crossed together!) LOL! I have seen a fairy, but its cheating really, cos they live on my shelves in the bedroom! loved it, voted up and shared, nell


Tracy Halman profile image

Tracy Halman 2 years ago from Ravenna, Ohio

I love fairy folklore, thank you so much for such great tails about them. Will be ready them all.


OllieTrolley 2 years ago

I don't know if this is just a coincidence or something else, but when I was little, and I'd go to sleep, there were always glowing little dots that would be in my room and fly in and out my open windows. They resembled little people- It was probably my imagination though, I just like to think they were fairies~! I still love the idea of the wee folk!~


Torrs13 profile image

Torrs13 2 years ago from California

I remember hearing about fairies all the time when I was a child. I found them to be very enchanting and wished that I could be one because they go to fly and see the world. I really enjoyed reading your hub because I learned a lot about fairies and the different folklore that talk about them. I never realized how frequently they came up and would have never thought about what they eat, how they procreate, and so on. I like the idea of a fairy being born from a child's laugh... that just paints a beautiful picture in my head for some reason.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

That was something else kitty. I voted yes in the poll because I have seen Tinkerbell and read books. ;-) I could not resist that. My family did visit Scotland when I was about 7 and I looked for the Loch Ness Monster. I gave it thumbs up and shared it.

Kevin


Seafarer Mama profile image

Seafarer Mama 2 years ago from New England

Very lovely hub, Kitty. :0) May the fairy folk always leave you in peace or at least be kind to you!


souvikm16 profile image

souvikm16 2 years ago from Bangalore, India

A very interesting hub! Enjoyed it!


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

Dang, when I quickly glanced the first pic, I thought, "Wow! Did Kitty get a pic of a real fairy?" That would have been awesome! I'm still looking for them around my place. Gotta do some gardening this weekend. Maybe...

Another beautiful hub! Blessed weekend!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This was so fun to read! I saw a really unusual dragonfly just today! It was bright yellow. Maybe it was a fairy!


CarolynEmerick profile image

CarolynEmerick 2 years ago

Hi Kitty! great article! I never really even considered how fairies reproduce before, you really covered a lot of background in this one. I admin on a FB page about Fairies called The Wee Folk and Hidden People so I will give it a share on there :-) Upvoted!


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Kitty, I love fairies and so enjoyed reading this hub. I have seen faeries. You see, I have this little mountain behind where I live and there is a large mound under a rocky outcrop. I believe the faeries live in the mound. One of them is Dan of the ancient Tuatha de Danann. He is huge and very rough looking, but very kind. He has a little faerie friend, a tiny girl, who often follows him around and sits on my patio and giggles a lot. She loves my little Pomeranian and calls to him to play. Now, some might say I have had too much red wine, but this is part of my life, the fae, and I love it. I often leave little cakes and berries out by the mound, or at the faerie tree. Thanks for writing this hub, I love your delightful hubs about the fae. Voted up, across and shared.

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    kittythedreamer profile image

    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,897 Followers
    428 Articles

    Kitty has been independently researching and studying the fae for over 15 years. She enjoys sharing what she's learned with her readers.



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