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Fairies - Pixies - Elves

Fairies and Pixies, along with Elves, Mermaids, Dragons, Dwarves, Leprechauns and many other creatures in folklore, are supernatural beings endowed with the powers of magic and enchantment. Here we are going to discuss some of these fantasy creatures.

Literature from all over the world has tales of these fantasy creatures having interactions with humans. Belief in these mythological creatures seems to reach back into ancient times, being traceable both in written and oral tradition. Traces stem from the Sanskrit gandharva (semi divine celestial musicians) to the nymphs of the Greeks and Homer, the jinni of Arabic mythology, and other folk characters of the Samoans, Arctic, and other indigenous Americans.

Fairies as we know them

The early belief in their existence was based on the fae of medieval Western European folklore. They are often identified with a variety of beings from other mythologies.

In English folklore these wee people (See Wiki) are sometimes known as Pixies, Sprites or spirits. They are commonly represented as mischievous imps who delights in flustering young maidens and leading travelers astray.

Much of the folklore from this time revolves around protecting ourselves from malice.  In particular, it  describes how to prevent these creatures from abducting older people or stealing babies and substituting changelings for the babies. Humans, to avoid these fantasy creatures, use such means as cold iron (they don't like iron and will not go near it) or charms made of rowan and herbs, or they totally avoid these fantasy creatures by staying out of locations known to be frequented by these little pixies.

Fairies by the brook

It appears that the females find birth a difficult experience. Many children die before birth and those that do survive are often stunted or deformed creatures. The adult faeries, who are aesthetic beings, are repelled by these infants and have no wish to keep them. They will try to swap them with healthy children who they steal from the mortal world. The wizened, ill tempered creature left in place of the human child is known as a changeling and possesses only the power to work.

Today, the depictions, especially in children's stories, rest largely upon the old folklore tradition. Here they were generally described as serious and sinister. There are some exceptions that include the one that swaps children's teeth for gifts, the Godmother in "Cinderella" and "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs". Folklore about these mystical creatures is particularly prevalent in Ireland,  Wales, and Scotland.

The Tooth Fairy is a modern example that interacts with us humans.

Is the Tooth Fairy Real?

Ask any child as he wakes up and finds a present under his pillow in exchange for a baby tooth. Click here for more info.

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