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Fairies: The Need To Know About The Fairy, Fairy Tales, And Fairy Truths

Updated on March 2, 2012

Fairy Additude

Gothic Fairy By: Jade Penguin
Gothic Fairy By: Jade Penguin

All About The Fairy

Legend says that if you have the opportunity to pick a four-leaf clover and then quietly lie and wait patiently in a field, a dancing fairy will come and visit you. Also, you can find a stone with a natural hole that is hollowed by water running through and if you look down the hole, you will see a fairy.

Fairies are usually characterized as being human-like in appearance and portraying magical powers. Their origins vary in folklore from being dead, a form of a demon or some unexplainable species that has no affiliation with angels or humans. It is often believed that their origin lies within a race that is living in hiding for various reasons.

Folklore will tell you that cold iron is a way to protect yourself from a fairy. It is like poison to them and they can be harmed by touching it. To be safe you could wear this safe metal as charms or jewelry. The European Rowan is said to be a tree of magic as well that could offer protection from these beings as well or you could just be on the safe side and avoid locations where they would most often be found. Fairies were known for stealing babies and replacing them with changelings, which were their offspring. Fairies have appeared in many medieval chivalry tales, Victorian fairy tales and in modern day stories.

In modern stories, they are thought of as appearing young, winged and representative of a tiny human however, originally they were either radiant, tall and angelic or wizened, short trolls. The wings came with the Victorian stories but even before the wings, fairies could magically fly. At times, they would even fly on the stem of a ragwort or occasionally on a bird's back. Today they are most often visualized with mystical butterfly or insect wings.

Fairy Pictures

Origins Of The Fairy

There are many different beliefs of where the fairy originated.  Some believe that they were a subclass from the dead.  The Irish banshee was described as a ghost in Irish mythology.  She was often seen as being an omen of death or a messenger sent from the Otherworld.  One tale even told of a man who was caught by fairies and when he caught a glimpse at one, he saw that it was his dead neighbor.

Also, fairies were believed to be demoted angels.  When they revolted, God shut the gates.  The ones that were in heaven when the gates shut, stayed as angels, beings that were in hell were devils and all of those in between were stuck there forever as fairies.  Other stories are told that they were cast from heaven, not being worthy to live there; however, they were not suitable for hell either so they were turned into fairies.

Another view was that fairies were made from angels and humans and were incredibly intelligent.  This theory accounts for fairies being spirits of the air.

The growth of Puritanism brought the belief that fairies were demons and the least common was that fairy was simply a human.  The story says that woman hid her children away from God and they became known as the hidden people, otherwise called, the fairies.

Fairy Damsel

Fairy By: Ayaka Ocello
Fairy By: Ayaka Ocello

One of a Kind Fairy Houses

Hidden People

The Celtic nations have described fairies as being a group of people that have been forced into hiding because of humans.  They were believed to find their home in the Otherworld which is commonly characterized as underground, in hidden hills or somewhere across the Western Sea.  19th century archeologists at one point believed they had found some underground rooms located on the Orkney Islands that very much resembled Elf land portrayed in the fairy tale Childe Roland.

Christian Interpretation

Some people of the Christian faith believe that the fairies were possibly once worshiped as gods but as Christianity began to rise, the fairy's power dwindled.  During this time, the church spoke of them as being very evil beings.

Pensive Fairy

Gothic Fairy By: Jade Penguin
Gothic Fairy By: Jade Penguin

How To Protect Yourself From A Fairy

Fairies were thought of as mischievous and malicious and if you happened to encounter one you needed to be prepared.  Any time there was a baby to die of sudden death; it was believed to be due to a fairy kidnapping.  Additionally, if you happen to see a fairy riding on a pig, cow or duck you could be paralyzed or encounter a mysterious illness.

It was always recommended to just stay clear of them and to wear protective charms made from cold iron.  Also, you could keep them away by wearing your clothes inside out, bells, St. John's Wort, four-leaf clovers and running water.  Rowan trees are contradictory, some believe they were sacred to fairies and others believed it would protect you against them.  Bread, particularly stale bread, being associated with hearth and home, was also disliked by fairies so you could sprinkle it around your home or if you had to go into the woods or an unsafe path you could take the bread with you and form a barrier of protection.

There are certain locations that are known to be haunted by fairies and there are stories of people literally knocking corners off of their house if it crossed a fairy's path.  Some homeowners would leave their front and back door open if it was believed to be built in the way of where they fairies might travel so that they could pass through their home at night and not disturb it.  Fairy forts were always left undisturbed and if you attempted to cut the brush around a fairy's fort, it would mean death to you and it was and still is, always recommended if you see a fairy to not look to close or you would be infringing on their privacy.


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    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 16 months ago from London England

      merrie we meet

      There be 'faeries' at the bottom of my garden.


    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 16 months ago from London England

      merrie we meet

      I'm now spending much more tyme in the 'ethereal' realm (other world) than the urbane temporal realm. This is a forest of beech woods with the odd holly or two, silver birches and occasionally the ancient oak. The undergrowth consists of bracken, fern and ivy. After much contemplation i can see where the writers of children's stories obtained their inspiration. The 'fae' are not afraid of humans only the destruction done by some.

      many blessings to all kindred spirit.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      I have received a full pardon by Royal decree and permited safe conduct to my former situation

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      merrie we meet

      once in a while

      once in the middle of the mundane realm

      life gives you a little faery tale


      ths limpet

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 3 years ago from London England

      i am bound in servitude to Her Sublime Majesty the Queene of Elfhame but as a punishment i have been banished from Her realm destined to wander as a hermit

      i am a non threatening spirit rather like Puck or Peter Pan


      the limpet