This week: Fairies Edited by: Annette
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|"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." ― Albert Einstein|
“Tink was not all bad: or, rather, she was all bad just now, but, on the other hand, sometimes she was all good. Fairies have to be one thing or the other, because being so small they unfortunately have room for one feeling only at a time. They are, however, allowed to change, only it must be a complete change.” ― J M Barrie, Peter Pan
When I went to elementary school in Germany, we had one main teacher who stayed with us from first through sixth grade. This teacher led us through life from early childhood until almost puberty. In my case, I had a teacher who was near her retirement. I was the last cohort to stay with her until sixth grade. She was my German, English, Science, Geography, and History teacher. She also taught me about Heinzelmännchen. They were short humanoids, less than a foot tall, with red pointy hats that came at night to clean people's kitchens. Unfortunately, they stopped coming to clean up when a greedy person poured glue over the stairs so that they would stay stuck and be seen. The glue did not dry fast enough and instead made the Heinzelmännchen slip and fall. After that night, they never came back to human houses. I was so appalled by that. I could have had Heinzelmännchen come to my house and clean for me.
Every culture has some version of fairy tales. The one thing all of the stories have in common: they are all true. My experience with fairies is limited to the European and American fairy lore, so I will share some of it with you today.
Pixies are quite common and humans see them the most often.
These winged fairies are about 6 inches small and humanoid shaped. Pixies love flowers, gardens, and live off nectar and cream. They live in large groups in trees. To avoid detection, they cloak their tree magically. If attacked, they will swarm their enemies like a swarm of angry bees. Pixies can live up to 100 years and they follow a queen or king.
Brownies are friendly to humans.
They are also 6 inches short and have their name because they wear brown clothes. They have no wings, but they can ask birds for a ride if they have to go up high. Brownies live in forests or build underground homes underneath high grass. They form towns or live in extended family groups.
Trooping Fairies would like to think of themselves as something specific, but they are brownies that form a long line when they are going to war. Because of their profession, they are more organized and serious than the other brownies. It's hard to come across trooping fairies because they travel deep in the underbrush of forests.
Fauns have horns on the head, a human torso with a two-legged goat body below the navel. They play pipes or flutes to control people. Nobody is really upset about that because they are very alluring and seductive. If you ever see one and don't want to fall under its spell, quickly avert your eyes and get away. Once a faun has your attention, you will be under its control.
Mermaids live in the water in large communities united by one ruler. They spend their days hunting for fish and other sea creatures. Mermaids have the reputation to lead sailors into treacherous waters. Their real concern, however, is loss of habitat due to ocean pollution.
Leprechauns are master craftspeople who specialize in shoemaking. They love gold and ale.
As they live mainly in Ireland, you will have to travel there if you want to meet one. Even there, it might be hard to see them as they protect their villages with magic. Some fairy tales make leprechauns out to be tricksters, but they are really good-hearted and honest. You can settle any dispute with them over a pint.
Gnomes are what I call Heinzelmännchen.
Since humans ran them off, they live in remote and isolated communities. They are deeply connected to nature and live off fruit, mushrooms, nuts, and root vegetables. They use their healing craft to help sick and injured animals.
Hobgoblins are solitary, dark brown creatures who live in trees.
As long as a hobgoblin is undisturbed, he is peaceful. Stay away from his tree and you will be just fine. A hobgoblin gets extra nasty when his home is at risk or he feels provoked.
Elves are magical creatures, so they fall into the fairy group.
They are about the same height as humans and live all around the world. They have sharp senses, move with grace, excel at arts and crafts, and are very long lived. They prefer to live close to nature and avoid technology.
Grundels have a symbiotic relationship with elves.
In exchange for a safe home, Grundels live in service to elves. They dedicate themselves to their host family for many generations. Beloved and cherished by elves, grundels are considered to be family members. At about 3 feet tall, they are about half the size of their elven hosts.
Which is your favorite kind of fairy?
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|In my last Fantasy newsletter "Dragons" , I asked Is it really that simple? All we need is a dragon or two and it's fantasy?|
Robert Waltz wrote: I've long held the hypothesis that dragon legends were the result of people finding dinosaur bones and, having no knowledge of deep time, figured they must be from some recently-deceased giant beast. At the same time, dragons can be symbolic in Fantasy writing, often representing things such as the forces of Nature or the mysteries of the world. Also, they can be excellent transportation.
buddhangela's Crazy & ...Crazy wrote: Loved this NL – I've never included a dragon in a story because I worry dragons have become commonplace in fantasy (though perhaps my muse just hasn't pulled that rabbit out of the hat yet.) That said, my favorite 2-book series by Patricia Briggs contain an even mix of political maneuverings, human relationships, and dragon legend: the Hurog Duology's 'Dragon Bones' and 'Dragon Blood.' Thank you, Annette!
Beholden wrote: Thank you for including my story, Sir Gawain and the Dragon, amongst your Editor's Picks.
oldgreywolf scribbles wrote: Dragons in Western lore are evil, firebreathing, maiden-eating, gold-hoarding, flying, rapacious, cunning beasts.
In Eastern lore, dragons live in (mostly) rivers, are intelligent, benevolent, control rain and flooding for the benefit of people, and are royalty, who sometimes travel among humans while wearing the aspect of a fellow human.
Roger Zelazny, in Wizard World (two-volume set) had his own version of "dragon".
What type of dragon do you mean?
BIG BAD WOLF 34 on June 3 wrote: I got plenty of dragons.
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