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aimlesswalk

Explanations of Faery beliefs in folklore

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Looking at the folklore of the British Isle's it is full of accounts of Faeries referred to euphemistically in some folkloristic traditions by names such as wee folk, good folk, people of peace, fair folk and the good people. The are accounts of all manner of other spirits such as Boggarts, Brownies and other such supernatural beings. This has many parallels with the indigenous folklore of other countries which all have a common theme of interaction with non human entities. Focusing specifically on British folklore I would like to invite speculation on the possible origins of these once widely held beliefs.

There are several oft repeated explanations for the belief in Faery beings:

The classical Christian explanation equates all Faery beings with 'Fallen Angels' who where condemned to exist on Earth.

A more modern view is that these beings are Christianised depictions of the older Pagan Gods or deities reduced to spirits associated with superstition and certain geographical areas associated with 'bad luck' (e.g. fairy rings and mounds) or 'mischievous spirits' belaying a far greater significance they once had in pre Christian times.

Another explanation that they may be ancestral memories of a race of mythical humans or an earlier civilisation lost to antiquity. The mythical Irish civilisation of the 'Tuatha De Danann' could be an example of this who where said to be a magical race of beings who retreated to the hollow mounds after the oncoming of other people's and who subsequently became the 'Sídhe' of Irish folklore.

Another belief was that faeries where the souls of the dead.

Something that always interested me was the dependency the faery people seemed to have on human beings for instance in the case of faery midwives and replacing human offspring with changelings. Also stories of people entering the faery realm and upon leaving discover that years or even centuries have elapsed or being warned by a mysterious figure known as the 'Far Darrig' not to eat faery food.

There seem to be two distinct class of Faeries 'trooping fairies' who existed in a society presided over by the fairy Queen and 'solitary fairies' which would include 'leprechauns', 'boggarts' and 'brownies'.

It seemed that the fairy people could be capable of helping certain humans but also of malice (afflictions such as 'elf-shot') and one story is that the Scottish folklorist Robert Kirk was abducted by the Faeries for revealing their secrets in his book 'The Secret Commonwealth'. His body was found on a hill in a well known fairy locality.

en.wikipedia.org...(folklorist)#Death

I also remember the great Irish poet W.B Yeats was said to have a met a congregation of trooping faeries in Ireland and was warned 'be careful not to know to much about us'.

Whatever one thinks about these traditions until relatively recently (no more than a century ago) Faery beliefs where widely held throughout the rural areas.

It is regretful that the modern sanitised 'Disney' depiction of fairies as magical diminutive beings has gained such precedent as it has it's origins in Victorian art and literature and has little or nothing in common with actual folkloric beliefs where the Good People could people be very dangerous if trifled with but also rewarding to those who showed them the appropriate respect.

An excellent compendium of information is 'A Dictionary of fairies' by Katherine M. Briggs

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I believe in Faeries :) In fact I am going to a Samhain Faerie ball in Glastonbury this weekend!

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I think if I were creating the world I would populate it with fairies and gnomes and hobbits and elves and all such sorts of wee folk, rather than people. Far more interesting and less harmful to the woods.

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I think if I were creating the world I would populate it with fairies and gnomes and hobbits and elves and all such sorts of wee folk, rather than people. Far more interesting and less harmful to the woods.

That is a world I should like to live in. Well a world of Faery and Gnomi would do but Hobbits and Elves is a little too much Tolkien for my liking.

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I believe that they are still around, but have been driven into hiding by modern man. It is a shame, because think of what we could learn.

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I think they are real

Edited by coolguy

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Looking at the mythology, I'd rather NOT live in a world with the Fair Folk possibly under every rock or hole in the ground.

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The fairies were creepy. Just thinking about then gives Mr the creeps. Wonder if that's what the greys are.

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Lots of mythological beings appear in many cultures but like the faeries, they're not real.

Something that always interested me was the dependency the faery people seemed to have on human beings for instance in the case of faery midwives and replacing human offspring with changelings

As far as the myth is concerned, I do not see it as a dependency but rather it would seem some faeries raised human children as their own so they'd have a living link between the human and faerie world. A child would have understanding of both worlds.

Who knows...it's a myth so one can invent any reason for it.

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I think they exist for a very simple reason.

"We daren't go a huntin' for a fear of little men".

Boogeymen are very useful as tools of societal control and explanation for eerie sighting and unexplained events.

Crops failed? Faeries.

Someone wandered off and was never found again? Faeries.

Wanting to keep wayward children in line? Faeries.

The people who want to live in a world with the Fair Folk are the people who haven't done the research beyond Tinkerbell (who could be malicious if she wanted to be as well).

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Heat wave? Climate change.

Cold wave? Climate change.

Dry spell ? Climate change.

Deluge? Climate change.

Yes, boogeymen certainly are useful.

Harte

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People wove quite elaborate tales to keep their children from wandering off and encountering the world's REAL dangers.

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ahhh the likes of tinkerbell and arwen, fairydust and the evenstar

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Even though I believe fairies have no basis in reality, there was a time I saw fairies twice in about a week, but then I quit going there.

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Yes I guess it's a good idea to avoid places where one sees things.

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Yes I guess it's a good idea to avoid places where one sees things.

you can't goto that place by walking, or car, or train if you know what I mean. you just sit around doing something and.... well.. you see fairies among other things...if you know what....... I mean.

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ahhh the likes of tinkerbell and arwen, fairydust and the evenstar

Yes, I like their posts too.

Harte

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you can't goto that place by walking, or car, or train if you know what I mean. you just sit around doing something and.... well.. you see fairies among other things...if you know what....... I mean.

nudge nudge wink wink
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no, no, but yes little people * it was joe you saw ,and he drank his fill & then he went home.

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I think that having a "changling" instead of your child gave the people of the older eras a way to get rid of a child that would be a drain on their resourses.

I like the unabrigded orginal Grimm stories. They can be very frighting.

Made 15yr goddaughter & two 12yr boys cry & beg me to stop reading Red Riding Hood to them.

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I think that having a "changling" instead of your child gave the people of the older eras a way to get rid of a child that would be a drain on their resourses.

I like the unabrigded orginal Grimm stories. They can be very frighting.

Made 15yr goddaughter & two 12yr boys cry reading Red Riding Hood

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heard a radio show about lost tribes of little people. Talking about real races of humans that grew only to about 3ft. Very possible the grain of truth to the myth.

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