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17 votes

Did the word "fairies" originate after the creation of stories about fairies?

Since this is more a philological question, I'm going with this somewhat different take on the matter from noted philologist J.R.R. Tolkien: Fairy, as a noun more or less equivalent to elf, is a ...
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13 votes
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Did the word "fairies" originate after the creation of stories about fairies?

The Old English word for fairies is elf (Online Etymology Dictionary): “one of a race of powerful supernatural beings in Germanic folklore,” Old English elf (Mercian, Kentish), ælf (Northumbrian), ...
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10 votes

Do Welsh fairies marry human women?

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 ...
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  • 4,409
10 votes

Why would turning clothes inside-out keep the Faerie away?

Turn your cloaks / For fairy folks / Are in old oaks - Old English saying I couldn't find a definitive explanation of why this legend happens. What I have ascertained is that it turns up absolutely ...
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10 votes
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Are there any relations between Norse elves and Celtic fairies, or their home realms?

Yes, both in characteristics and history. Starting from here, Another writer, Wirt Sikes wrote in the British Goblins (1880), comparing the Welsh fairies with that of Norse/Teutonic fairies. Sikes ...
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7 votes

Whence comes the association of Leprechauns with rainbows?

What appears to have happened is a 20th Century conflation of two different legends, one involving leprechauns and gold and another involving rainbows and gold. There is really no evidence ...
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  • 1,594
7 votes

How Do The Fairies In Irish Mythology Spend Their Time

Check out: Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland by Thomas Crofton Croker http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/39752 The Brothers Grimm translated Crokers Fairy Legends and provided a ...
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6 votes
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Who and what are the winged "faries" that feature in fairytale?

David is correct. In English winged fairies are sylphs or sylphids. sylph (n.) 1650s, "air-spirit," from Modern Latin sylphes (plural), coined 16c. by Paracelsus (1493-1541), originally ...
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5 votes
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Who was the Erlking?

The tale of the Erlking follows a common motif in Germanic folklore; a forest-dwelling evil creature, ensnaring human victims. Unfortunately, neither Johann Gottfried Herder's Erl King's Daughter nor ...
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5 votes

Are certain types of fairies associated with specific regions?

I am no expert but I think that while some are geographical, most are based on pre-existing myths. Most Celtic faeries are linked to Greco-roman nature spirits and gods. For instance La Dame du Lac ...
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4 votes

Are there any relations between Norse elves and Celtic fairies, or their home realms?

Tolkien apparently drew much of his inspiration for his elves from the Welsh supernatural owners of nature, the Tylwyth Teg: these are remarkable for the degree that the Welsh assigned their brand of ...
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  • 131
4 votes

Anglo-Saxon and Faeries

I certainly hope you weren't looking for Tolkien Elves or Santa's Helpers. "Elves" appear to be a part of the pagan Anglo-Saxon belief system; the word is Germanic in origin. However, it's hard to ...
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  • 1,594
4 votes

Who and what are the winged "faries" that feature in fairytale?

I suspect that these things become confused over time, as they often do. If I had to guess however, I suggest that a reasonable explanation if you wanted to make the distinction, the 'Winged Fairies' ...
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  • 504
4 votes

Are certain types of fairies associated with specific regions?

The above answers concentrate on "species" of fairies, but it is also worth noting that different regions tend to have different ways of understanding Faery & fairy folk in general. For instance, ...
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  • 318
4 votes
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The structure of the Fae courts

Sanderson, Stewart F (December 1957). "The Present State of Folklore Studies in Scotland", may answer your question. The one thing I believe is universal in the two courts is matriarchal ...
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3 votes

Anglo-Saxon and Faeries

Alaric Hall wrote his thesis on elves in Anglo-Saxon belief. His website also has a lot of his papers on elf-lore.
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  • 5,818
3 votes

Whence comes the association of Leprechauns with rainbows?

According to Ancient Origins Leprechauns are now understood to be the fairy tales of the past and fanciful stories to tell when one sees a rainbow. I'm afraid I can't find anything else either. ...
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3 votes

Why are mermaids naked?

A number of reasons: mermaids are part of nature, not culture, Classical depictions of marine deities and other spirits show them naked, and because mermaids are supposed to be sexy.
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  • 5,818
3 votes
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Is this a real myth? Pembroke Welsh Corgis as mounts for fairies

This got too long for a comment, so I hope it's all right to post here. The Writing in Margins blog is mine, so I'd like to offer a few addendums. It's always hard to disprove something rather than ...
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  • 453
3 votes

What do faeries do with kidnapped human children?

"Is there some sort of consensus as to what fairies actually do with them?" No. Because there is no consistent Hiberno-British folk mythology. Any apparent or alleged consistent anything about that ...
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  • 324
3 votes

What's a good source on Fairies online?

You can find a lot of sources on Internet Sacred Text Archive ... You have to scroll down to approximately 7/8 and you can find all the fairy texts you need. Or ctrl-f fairies.
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  • 6,679
2 votes

Are there any close analogues to the Fairy King & Queen Titania and Oberon, in Indian/Hindu mythology?

There is the Lore of the Yaksha & Yakshini. As well as Kinnara & Kinnari. Also Refer to a Tangential Piece of mine if you so feel. The Mythos of 'Yakshi'
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2 votes

What's a good source on Fairies online?

Katherine Mary Brigg's The Vanishing People: Fairy Lore and Legends, is a good source, as well as Evan-Wentz's The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries and Robert Kirk's The Secret Commonwealth. They're ...
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  • 5,818
2 votes

Are certain types of fairies associated with specific regions?

The Encyclopedia Mythica at http://www.pantheon.org/ has geographical sections. The Celtic section is probably a good place to start. It's the reverse of your original question, in that it lists many ...
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2 votes

Is this a real myth? Pembroke Welsh Corgis as mounts for fairies

This is most likely a recent invention by Corgi breeders & enthusiasts. From "Did fairies really ride corgis?": The earliest source I can find is the poem "Corgi Fantasy" by ...
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2 votes
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Where did the idea come from that fairies must tell the truth?

Great question. The short answer is that the development of faeries being literally unable to lie is a more modern take1. There's no question faeries could be deceptive in earlier traditions, but ...
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  • 464
2 votes
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What is the earliest example of the tiny, insect-winged fairy archetype?

Fairies were not traditionally winged in folklore, and it seems unlikely that Michael Drayton imagined Nymphidia with wings; the first mention of winged fairies is usually dated to 1712. Fairies were ...
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  • 453
1 vote

What is the earliest example of the tiny, insect-winged fairy archetype?

From "How Did Fairies Get Their Wings?": Search Google images for “fairies” and you find pages of diminutive human-like magical creatures with insect wings, often with pointed or animal ...
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  • 5,286
1 vote

Where did the idea come from that fairies must tell the truth?

Is there any surviving older source that records fairies or other beings as unable to lie, or even just keeping to a strict code of honesty? Yes! there's a lot of research in this field. You would be ...
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  • 415
1 vote

Whence comes the association of Leprechauns with rainbows?

I think the answer is that they hide their gold where no one can find it - as an article in Time magazine puts it: Irish folklore described leprechauns as crotchety, solitary, yet mischievous ...
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  • 5,818

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