Fairies, Keshalyl, Sidhe, Tuatha de Danann, The Fair Folk, Daoine Sidhe, Tylwyth Teg, Bonne Dames…or Fae. These are all names used when speaking of this supernatural being. It is believed Fae are mischievous and tricky creatures. With the Fae, there are no gifts. Every transaction is an exchange, which is never one-sided. Fae are considered at least partially immortal…for they do not die of old age or natural causes, but they are not indestructible. They can be killed.
Fae are generally human in appearance, and possess magical powers. They are often small in stature, but size could be something that is magically assumed rather than their actual constant. They have pointy ears, are pale in complexion, have transluscent wings, and an unnatural beauty. Their eyes are most often green.
Most Fae possess the gift of tongues, glamour, flight, and limited shape-shifting. Their weaknesses include Iron, which is poisonous to the Fae, and Rowan Wands, which can break a Fae’s Glamour prematurely. Fae are highly attracted to shiny objects, and are often seen dressed in sequins and gems.
As with Elves, there are many different kinds of Fae. The following list is just a few of the many types of fairies that grace myth and literature:
- Asrais – These are small, delicate, female fairies. If they are exposed to sunlight or captured they will melt away into a pool of water.
- Banshee -(‘Bean Sidhe’ in Irish folklore, ‘Bean Nighe’ to the Scottish) This is a female spirit fairy attached to certain families. It is said, that when a member’s death approaches, the family will hear the banshee crying.
- Bogles – These are generally evil-natured Goblins although they are more disposed to do harm to liars and murderers.
- Brownies – In English and Scottish folklore, a small, industrious faerie who inhabits houses and barns. Rarely seen, he would be heard at night cleaning and doing housework. Cream or bread and milk were often left as gifts for him.
- Daoine Mait – “the good people”. They are the fairies of contemporary Irish folklore
- Dryads – These are the happy, playful wood nymphs that dwell in the trees. Some say their favorites are willow trees, others say they prefer oaks.The Druids are believed to have turned to them for inspiration.
- Feeorin – A type of diminutive fairy in the folklore of England. It is also the collective word for fairies who are usually friendly towards mankind, or at least neutral. They are depicted as small creatures with a green skin and wearing red hats. They enjoy singing and dancing.
- Fir Darrig – ( pronounced ‘Fear deang’) These fairies delight in rather gruesome forms of pranks, so it might be best to leave them alone. They can assume any visage they wish.
- Fire Fairies – There are two types of fire fairies: Flame Spirits and Elementals. They have the ability to create and destroy.
- Garden Fairies – You will find these fairies among the flowers dancing and playing wearing flowing gowns with transparent wings. At dawn they pour out blessings upon the world.
- Gwragedd Annwn – ( p. ‘Gwageth anoon’) These are Welsh water fairies, who occasionally take human men for husbands.
- Hamadryad – These are wood-nymphs. Each tree has its own wood-nymph, who dies when the tree dies.
- Kobold – According to German folklore, kobolds are spirits who dwell in mines and who like to torment humans. They are tricksters but not inherently evil (though some believe them to be the most dangerous and most ugly of all the fairy-like beings). Some sources suggest that kobolds are related to the Brownies.
- Mer-People (Mermaids) – They dwell in the water, but they are human from the waist up and have a tail of a fish. They are irresistible singers who sometimes lure fishermen to their deaths. Also called the Murdhuacha (muroo-cha) or Merrows.
- Pixies – These faeries often take the form of hedgehogs. They are mischievous creatures who enjoy playing practical jokes on humans and other fay folk. They adore music and dancing, and also love to steal horses to ride.
- Sídhee – (p. ‘shee’) Meaning ‘people of the fairy hills’, it is the Gaelic name for fairies in both Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. These faeries are described as being aristocrats, beautiful, of great size, great age, and great power. Usually these fairies are attracted to those who are beautiful as well as wealthy.
- Sprites – These are spirit fairies, their name coming from the Latin word ‘spiritus’. They are creatures of the element of water and are found only in places that are serene and cool. Their job is to change the color of the leaves in autumn. They are the muses, artists and poets of the fairyworld.
- Sylphs – These are spirit fairies of the air (the name comes from the Greek ‘silphe’ meaning ‘butterfly’ or ‘moth’). They are transparent and elusive and always seem to be surrounded by a glow. They defend high mountain peaks where they dwell.
- Will-O’-The-Wisp – A spirit of the bogs, whose delight is to mislead belated travellers.