Faerie : from the Latin term for "fate" (fata), faeries (or fairies) are a "host of supernatural beings and spirits who occupy a limbo between earth and heaven" (Guiley). This is in recognition of the skill faeries had in predicting and even controlling human destiny. Faeries could be either good or evil creatures, and at various points in history have been confused with witches and demons.
Fay or fey is the archaic term for faerie meaning bewitched or enchanted. This word derives from 'Fays' meaning Fates, and thought to be a broken form of Fatae. 'Fay-erie' was first a state of enchantment or glamour, and was only later used for the fays who wielded those powers of illusion. The state of enchantment is fayerie, which became fairy and faerie.
Other terms for fairy:
Fair Folk is a welsh name, often used in literature and in Scandinavian myths.
Good Neighbors is from Scotland. It had its origin in a desire to give no unnecessary offense. The `folk' might be listening, and were pleased when people spoke well of them, and angry when spoken of slightingly. The same feeling made the Irish Celt call them `honest folk' (Daoine Coire) or `good people' (Daoine Matha).
The Green Children was used in medieval literature and versions of it is often used in modern Fantasy literature.This theme has many variations like Greenies, Greencoaties and others.
The Old People refers to Faeries that lived on earth long before Mankind.
The Silent People (the people of peace, the still folk, or silently-moving people) comes from the Irish and Scottish Gaelic, the sith people. The name sith refers to `peace' or silence of Airy motion, as contrasted with the stir and noise accompanying the movements and actions of men. The Fairies come and go with noiseless steps, and their thefts or abductions are done silently and unawares to men.
Elf (ves) means also faerie and derived from the word alfar from the Nordic and Teutonic languages which is associated with mountains and water. This clearly illustrates the close relationship between faeries and the earth.
Description of fairies:
Faeries are often portrayed in Western children’s stories as tiny, winged, and good hearted. However, this description varies widely from worldwide folk traditions in which beliefs concerning hidden races sharing the earth with us have resided for most of human history.
Within different regions different descriptions of faeries grew, all were more or less human in form although sometimes taller or shorter, but never bearing wings. Much of their behavior was much like humans as well; they had governments, societies, marriages, children, and war. They were often mortal and therefore, could be killed. However, unlike humanity, they had supernatural powers, which made them, at best, unpredictable and at worst, dangerous. Few people sought out the company of faeries and most went out of the way to avoid it.
The size of fairies:
The difference in size ascribed to the race has strangely greatly varied according to time and local customs. At one time the elves are small enough to creep through keyholes, and a single potato is as much as one of them can carry; at another they resemble mankind, with whom they form alliances, and to whom they hire themselves as servants; while some are even said to be above the size of mortals, giants, in whose lap mortal women are mere infants. The same peculiarity exists in Teutonic belief. At times the elf is a dwarfish being that enters through key-holes and window-slits; at other times a great tall man. In Scandinavia, the Troll may appear in one tale as a Giant greater than two men and in another as a small dwarf.
The existence of fairies:
From the XVIII century onwards, the fairies have been said to have departed or to be in decline. People do not see them any more and some argue that the Faeries will eventually disappear as men have stopped believing in them. Others put forward pollution, urbanization and science as the main causes for their disappearance. Yet, however often they may be reported as gone, the fairies still linger. In Ireland the fairy beliefs are still part of the normal texture of life; in the Highlands, Islands or Brittany the traditions continue.
I love the thought of Faeries! Young or old it doesn’t matter as long as you believe. And if you believe hard enough someday you just might see something out of the corner of your eye.
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