The Welsh Tylwyth Teg, or fairies, is said to take human mates. This website mentions how:

There are many tales of intermarriage between faeries and humans, and advice on how to make sure you actually have a fully human mate.

Which implies it goes both ways, but it seems to be mostly fairy women marrying human men. Wikipedia for instances states only that:

[F]airy maidens may become the wives of human men.

Without any word on the reverse. Are there Welsh tales involving fairy men and human women marrying, or is this phenomenon restricted to fairy women?

  • 2
    I have been looking into it over the last couple of days, but so far, I haven't found any stories about the other way round. Good question though! :)
    – Luna
    Commented May 2, 2015 at 13:04

2 Answers 2


I can't find any specifically Welsh stories about a fairy husband with a human wife. Below I've listed the closest relevant motifs that I can think of. (Note I'm only including stories where the Tylwyth Teg resemble human beings in appearance and stature.)

  • Stories where both spouses are fairies. For example, versions of the tale where a human woman is asked to serve as a midwife to a fairy birth. Clearly not what you're looking for, other than there is a married fairy man and a human woman involved.
  • Stories where a man is somehow detained in faerie ("fairyland"). Many tales of fairy brides involve the bride needing to be coerced or persuaded to marry a human (and stay in the human world) when that might not be her initial desire. In contrast, stories involving the reverse (a human staying in faerie when they may not necessarily wish to) more often involve men.
  • If you go outside Welsh folklore to its sister traditions in Manx or Scotland, you don't get much closer, either. To the previous point, you might add tales of kelpies tricking women to their deaths. Here at least there may be physical attraction involved, but again this doesn't involve marriage, per se.

(As a side note, while not folklore, for completeness' sake I'll mention the Bretton tale of Sir Orfeo since it's so well known. Obviously not Welsh, but being Bretton, it's within the Welsh orbit. The tale essentially blends elements of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice with fairy folklore. Sadly, this is the closest thing I could think of!)


I haven't been able to find any reference for fairy men marrying human women, or the existence of full-sized fairy men at all.

Note that the Tylwyth Teg only ever kidnapped human boys, not girls. This seems to support this (emphasis mine):

Mr. John Jones speaks very little English, and Mr. John Rees, of the Council School, acted as our interpreter. This is the testimony:--

Pygmy-sized 'Tylwyth Teg'.--'I was born and bred where there was tradition that the Tylwyth Teg lived in holes in the hills, and that none of these Tylwyth Teg was taller than three to four feet. It was a common idea that many of the Tylwyth Teg, forming in a ring, would dance and sing out on the mountain-sides, or on the plain, and that if children should meet with them at such a time they would lose their way and never get out of the ring. If the Tylwyth Teg fancied any particular child they would always keep that child, taking off its clothes and putting them on one of their own children, which was then left in its place. They took only boys, never girls.'

Human-sized 'Tylwyth Teg'.--'A special sort of Tylwyth Teg used to come out of lakes and dance, and their line looks enticed young men to follow them back into the lakes, and there marry one of them. If the husband wished to leave the lake he had to go without his fairy wife. This sort of Tylwyth Teg were as big as ordinary people; and they were often seen riding out of the lakes and back again on horses.'

Source: The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, By W. Y. Evans-Wentz, 148

This passage, coupled with the fact that I haven't been able to find any stories to the contrary, suggests to me that there are no male fairies to marry human women.

  • 1
    Sorry, but I don't think it is true to say there are no Tylwtyh Teg men. Giraldus Cambrensis retells a story (Elidorus and the Fairies) where "a youth of twelve years" hiding in the wild met "two little men of pigmy stature" who brought him to meet their king. A description given for the Tylwtyh Teg he met was "These men were of the smallest stature, but very well proportioned in their make; they were all of a fair complexion, with luxuriant hair falling over their shoulders like that of women." Besides presumably the boys they took would've been replaced by fairy boys as changlings.
    – Semaphore
    Commented May 11, 2015 at 5:05

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