What do you think of when you hear the word “fairies”? Is it a small creature, big enough to fit in the palm of your hand, with little delicate wings and a magic wand? This is the image of a fairy that has now been popularized by the pop media and that we, since recent years, also now call fairy tales. Stories where nothing bad happens and everything is happy and good.
But is there any truth behind these fairy tales and fairies? Do they exist in the world or are they just another fantastical creature of human beings?
What Are Fairies?
There is no clear definition of a fairy. It has been mentioned in various cultures over so many centuries that it is difficult to pinpoint one single definition. The word “fairy” is, however, a Latin word and in Early Modern English was “faerie” meaning from the “realm of the fays”. There are speculations that they evolved from the meaning of “fay” i.e., from “fate” as fairies in older times did not have a good reputation among the masses.
In the present times, fairies have a completely different image and role to play in society.
Origin Of Fairies.
Fairies are a part of the English culture and the European culture at large. There are folklores about fairies—calling them different names—that have mentioned them.
In Greek Mythology, fairies are referred to as Nymphs. Nymphs protected the Earth and its elements. They also took revenge when provoked. When someone walked on their lands or slept under a tree they had claimed, they played tricks on humans.
Gandharva in the Hindu mythology, Jinni of the Arabic beliefs and many other similar creatures exist in Samoans and Native American cultures are all some form of fairies.
Fairies are spiritual beings and have been dubbed many things. Some call them the spirits of the dead, some Angels or Devils or even Diminished Gods. Since the folklore of fairies was so prevalent in Europe and with the rise of belief in Christianity, Fairies were named only as Pagan beliefs—but were still to be feared.
People were afraid to take the name “fairies” and hence started calling them “The Hidden People” or “The Little People”. Fairies were not cute little pixies but creatures of evil. They would kill someone or bring them to ruin, for their fun. Travellers would carry food or other offerings to give to the fairies they would encounter in the forest, so they would be left alone. Fairies could even lead the traveller astray by using will-o’-wisps and bring more troubles for the people.
Fairies sometimes even changed their ill people with healthy human babies. Many times the death of a child, or any misfortune on a family was blamed on fairies.
To make sense of fairies regarding Christianity, they were called fallen angels. Their nature of trickery and tomfoolery made them unfit for heaven but they were not evil enough for hell. Hence, they were left on earth to sometimes help humans or to play their tricks on them.
Are Fairies Real?
In older times, people believed in everything. Not everyone travelled to far-away lands and most did not even leave the place they were born at. They were amused by giraffes and bears, or anything that they would not see in their daily lives. With so much of the world still unexplored and shrouded in mystery, it was not difficult for them to believe in fairies and other supernatural things.
With the rise of science and rational thought, people do not believe in folktales and mythology. Yet, some people believe in them and countries like Ireland, Scotland, etc. Fairies are a big part of the culture. They are believed to have meetings in lone bushes and are not believed to be evil. The fairies of Ireland are supposed to be a superior race, who visited Ireland and loved it so much that they shrunk themselves and decided to live under the ground.
To prove that fairies don’t exist is as hard as it is to prove that they do. Like any other supernatural being, they are not easy to spot or locate. We can only trace them due to their supposed actions and blame or thank them, according to our luck. Modern day fairies have lost their older ways of murder and evil and are now more friendly and helpful and are loved by children. This along with the fact, that so many people still actively believe in them, makes one wonder if it would be so bad if they do exist.