Republished by Blog Post Promoter
“There is a difference between this world and the world of Faery, but it is not immediately perceptible. Everything that is here is there, but the things that are there are better than those that are here. All things that are bright are there brighter. There is more gold in the sun and more silver in the moon of that land. There is more scent in the flowers, more savour in the fruit. There is more comeliness in the men and more tenderness in the women. Everything in Faery is better by this one wonderful degree, and it is by this betterness you will know that you are there if you should ever happen to get there.”
― James Stephens, Irish Fairy Tales
The word fairy derives from the term fae of medieval Western European (Old French, from Latin fata: Fate) folklore and romance, one famous example being Morgan le Fay (‘Morgan of the Fae’). “Fae-ery” was therefore everything that appertains to the “fae”, and so the land of “fae”, all the “fae”. Finally the word replaced its original and one could speak of “a faery or fairy”, though the word fey is still used as an adjective or to refer to the word fairy as a plural.
In alchemy in particular they were regarded as elementals, such as gnomes and sylphs, as described by Paracelsus. This is uncommon in folklore, but accounts describing the fairies as “spirits of the air” have been found popularly. Many of the Irish tales of the Tuatha Dé Danann refer to these beings as fairies, though in more ancient times they were regarded as Goddesses and Gods.
When considered as beings that a person might actually encounter, fairies were noted for their mischief and malice. Some pranks ascribed to them, such as tangling the hair of sleepers into “Elf-locks”, stealing small items or leading a traveler astray, are generally harmless. But far more dangerous behaviors were also attributed to fairies. Any form of sudden death might stem from a fairy kidnapping, with the apparent corpse being a wooden stand-in with the appearance of the kidnapped person.
Fairies can be observed when the “third eye” is activated.