Essay Fairies in Folklore and Literature

1220 Words 5 Pages
Fairies in Folklore and Literature


Fairies have been part of literature, art, and culture for more than fifteen hundred years. With them have come many stories about their interaction with adults and children. These stories have been compiled by men such as Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm, who provided the world with a large compilation of fairy tales, which are still told today. Perrault and the Grimms together compiled over six hundred legends that originated from all around Europe. These myths and legends often included imaginary being called fairies, sprites, and nymphs.

Fairies are frequently described as tiny human beings. Their clothing, which is usually green, gold, or blue, is thought to have been created from
…show more content…
When they were under ground, they "pursued activities and pleasures similar to those of humans but with supernatural speed and quality" (Rose 108). It was also thought that human time did not exist in fairyland, and many of the legends describe children that go with the fairies for festivities and dance and return the on what seems the next day to find that decades had passed.

The myth of the fairy was thought to have originated in Celtic and Norse regions. The fairy gave the Irish a sense of pride that they had never felt before. They had never had a folk story originate from their country and were proud to say that fairies were seen there first. Many countries after Ireland soon began to report the sightings of these magical beings, but in Ireland "fairies were almost a political and cultural necessity" (Silver 34). Many legends and stories originated from them and began to expand into the whole culture of Europe.

The oldest origin of the fairy was directly connected to the earth and the elements, back to the fifteenth-century alchemists and mystics. People in the Middle Ages believed that fairies were sacred guardians of nature and all the natural elements. The works of Paracelsus in the fifteenth century spoke of these beings and described them as "the sylphs of air, the salamanders of fire, the undines or nymphs of water, and the gnomes of the earth" (Silver 35). Paracelsus also said…