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Tattoo Ideas: Fairies
Fairies (also known as faeries, fae or fey) are magical, mythological creatures that began appearing in romantic literature and folktales in Europe as early as the 15th century. Fairies are small, sprite-like beings with wings that otherwise resemble miniature human beings. Frequently found in plays such as William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, medieval stories and Victorian tales, fairies live in the woods and have supernatural powers like the ability to fly and cast spells. Unlike angels, fairies are not typically perceived in a positive light. The prevailing myth regarding fairies centers around the idea that they are malicious beings who are harmful to humans. Fairies have been known to abduct babies from their cribs and replace them with a fairy child substitute, or changeling, and they are typically said to be pranksters, stealing items and doctoring signs to lead weary travelers astray.
There are several different theories as to where the faery race originated. One popular view is that fairies are demoted angels. Supposedly, when God shut the gates of heaven, the beings in heaven became angels, the beings in hell became devils, and those in between, caught in purgatory, became fairies. Eternally banished from heaven but not evil enough for hell, fairies retreated to the forest to hide amongst the trees and are commonly thought to be protected by the ringing of bells. To avoid the trickery characteristic of fairies, it was best to avoid places where they were known to dwell, such as fairy hills, and to try to keep away from the paths fairies were known to travel. Chopping down "fairy trees" (such as thorn trees) or cropping "fairy forts" (underbrush) was a sure way of angering the fae people, and those who committed such atrocities were commonly found dead later on. Many legends say that fairies were fond of kidnapping babies for a variety of reasons, but the mothers could protect their children by wrapping a piece of bread in the child's bib or dress.
Regardless of the evil myths and unpleasant legends, fairies are aesthetically pleasing, ethereal creatures that have been the subject of paintings and other artwork for hundreds of years. Bright, colorful and fancy free, fairies are a popular choice in tattoo designs among both men and women, depicted either alone or in a group, flitting through the air, resting on flowers or wrapped up in magic cloaks. Whether thought to be a symbol of good or a totem of evil, these winged creatures with the power to fly wherever they please represent freedom above all else.