A fairy (also fata, fay, fey, fae, fair folk; from faery, faerie, "realm of the fays") is a type of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore (and particularly Celtic, Slavic, German, English, and French folklore), a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural.
Myths and stories about fairies do not have a single origin, but are rather a collection of folk beliefs from disparate sources. Various folk theories about the origins of fairies include casting them as either demoted angels or demons in a Christian tradition, as minor deities in pre-Christian Pagan belief systems, as spirits of the dead, as prehistoric precursors to humans, or as elementals.
The label of fairy has at times applied only to specific magical creatures with human appearance, small stature, magical powers, and a penchant for trickery. At other times it has been used to describe any magical creature, such as goblins and gnomes. Fairy has at times been used as an adjective, with a meaning equivalent to "enchanted" or "magical".
A recurring motif of legends about fairies is the need to ward off fairies using protective charms. Common examples of such charms include church bells, wearing clothing inside out, four-leaf clover, and food. Fairies were also sometimes thought to haunt specific locations, and to lead travelers astray using will-o'-the-wisps. Before the advent of modern medicine, fairies were often blamed for sickness, particularly tuberculosis and birth deformities.
In addition to their folkloric origins, fairies were a common feature of Renaissance literature and Romantic art, and were especially popular in the United Kingdom during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The Celtic Revival also saw fairies established as a canonical part of Celtic cultural heritage.
A portrait of a fairy, by Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1869). The title of the painting is Take the Fair Face of Woman, and Gently Suspending, With Butterflies, Flowers, and Jewels Attending, Thus Your Fairy is Made of Most Beautiful Things – purportedly from a poem by Charles Ede.
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Tuatha Dé Danann
The English fairy derives from Old French form faierie, a derivation from faie (from Vulgar Latin fata) with the abstract noun suffix -erie. In Old French romance, a faie or fee was a woman skilled in magic, and who knew the power and virtue of words, of stones, and of herbs.
"Fairy" was used to represent: an illusion or enchantment; the land of the Faes; collectively the inhabitants thereof; an individual such as a fairy knight. Faie became Modern English fay, while faierie became fairy, but this spelling almost exclusively refers to one individual (the same meaning as fay). In the sense of "land where fairies dwell", archaic spellings faery and faerie are still in use.
The term fairy is sometimes used to describe any magical creature, including goblins and gnomes, while at other times, the term describes only a specific type of ethereal creature or sprite. The concept of "fairy" in the narrower sense is unique to English folklore, later made diminutive in accordance with prevailing tastes of the Victorian era, as in "fairy tales" for children.
Historical origins include various traditions of Celtics (Bretons, Welsh people), Gaelics (Irish, Scots), Germanic peoples, and of Middle French medieval romances. Fairie was used adjectivally, meaning "enchanted" (as in fairie knight, fairie queene), but also became a generic term for various "enchanted" creatures during the Late Middle English period. Literature of the Elizabethan era conflated elves with the fairies of Romance culture, rendering these terms somewhat interchangeable.
The Victorian era and Edwardian era saw a heightened increase of interest in fairies. The Celtic Revival cast fairies as part of Ireland's cultural heritage. Carole Silvers and others suggested this fascination of English antiquarians arose from a reaction to greater industrialization and loss of older folk ways.
Fairies are generally described as human in appearance and having magical powers. Diminutive fairies of various kinds have been reported through centuries, ranging from quite tiny to the size of a human child. These small sizes could be magically assumed, rather than constant. Some smaller fairies could expand their figures to imitate humans. On Orkney, fairies were described as short in stature, dressed in dark grey, sometimes seen in armour. In some folklore, fairies have green eyes. Some depictions of fairies show them with footwear, others as barefoot. Wings, while common in Victorian and later artworks, are rare in folklore; fairies flew by means of magic, sometimes perched on ragwort stems or the backs of birds. Modern illustrations often include dragonfly or butterfly wings.
Early modern fairies does not derive from a single origin; the term is a conflation of disparate elements from folk belief sources, influenced by literature and speculation. In folklore of Ireland, the mythic aes sídhe, or 'little folk', have come to a modern meaning somewhat inclusive of fairies. The Scandinavian elves also served as an influence. Folklorists and mythologists have variously depicted fairies as: the unworthy dead, the children of Eve, a kind of demon, a species independent of humans, an older race of humans, and fallen angels. The folkloristic or mythological elements combine Celtic, Germanic and Greco-Roman elements. Folklorists have suggested that 'fairies' arose from various earlier beliefs, which lost currency with the advent of Christianity. These disparate explanations are not necessarily incompatible, as 'fairies' may be traced to multiple sources.
King James, in his dissertation Daemonologie, stated the term "faries" referred to illusory spirits (demonic entities) that prophesied to, consorted with, and transported the individuals they served; in medieval times, a witch or sorcerer who had a compact with a familiar spirit might receive these services.
A Christian tenet held that fairies were a class of "demoted" angels. One story described a group of angels revolting, and God ordering the gates of heaven shut; those still in heaven remained angels, those in hell became demons, and those caught in between became fairies. Others wrote that some angels, not being godly enough, yet not evil enough for hell, were thrown out of heaven. This concept may explain the tradition of paying a "teind" or tithe to hell; as fallen angels, although not quite devils, they could be viewed as subjects of Satan.
In England's Theosophist circles of the 19th century, a belief in the "angelic" nature of fairies was reported. Entities referred to as Devas were said to guide many processes of nature, such as evolution of organisms, growth of plants, etc., many of which resided inside the Sun (Solar Angels). The more Earthbound Devas included nature spirits, elementals, and fairies, which were described as appearing in the form of colored flames, roughly the size of a human.
Arthur Conan Doyle, in his The Coming of the Fairies; The Theosophic View of Fairies, reported that eminent theosophist E. L. Gardner had likened fairies to butterflies, whose function was to provide an essential link between the energy of the sun and the plants of Earth, describing them as having no clean-cut shape ... small, hazy, and somewhat luminous clouds of colour with a brighter spark-like nucleus. "That growth of a plant which we regard as the customary and inevitable result of associating the three factors of sun, seed, and soil would never take place if the fairy builders were absent."
For a similar concept in Persian mythology, see Peri.
At one time it was thought that fairies were originally worshiped as minor deities, such as nymphs and tree spirits, and with the burgeoning predominance of the Christian Church, reverence for these deities carried on, but in a dwindling state of perceived power. Many deprecated deities of older folklore and myth were repurposed as fairies in Victorian fiction (See the works of W. B. Yeats for examples).
A recorded Christian belief of the 17th century cast all fairies as demons. This perspective grew more popular with the rise of Puritanism among the Reformed Church of England (See: Anglicanism). The hobgoblin, once a friendly household spirit, became classed as wicked goblin. Dealing with fairies was considered a form of witchcraft, and punished as such. In William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Oberon, king of the faeries, states that neither he nor his court fear the church bells, which the renowned author and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis cast as a politic disassociation from faeries. In an era of intellectual and religious upheaval, some Victorian reappraisals of mythology cast deities in general as metaphors for natural events, which was later refuted by other authors (See: The Triumph of the Moon, by Ronald Hutton). This contentious environment of thought contributed to the modern meaning of 'fairies'.
One belief held that fairies were spirits of the dead . This derived from many factors in common of various folklore and myths: same or similar tales of both ghosts and fairies; the Irish sídhe, origin of their term for fairies, were ancient burial mounds; deemed dangerous to eat food in Fairyland and Hades; the dead and fairies depicted as living underground. Diane Purkiss observed an equating of fairies with the untimely dead who left "unfinished lives". One tale recounted a man caught by the fairies, who found that whenever he looked steadily at a fairy, it appeared as a dead neighbor of his. This theory was among the more common traditions related, although many informants also expressed doubts.
There is a theory that fairy folklore evolved from folk memories of a prehistoric race: newcomers superseded a body of earlier human or humanoid peoples, and the memories of this defeated race developed into modern conceptions of fairies. Proponents find support in the tradition of cold iron as a charm against fairies, viewed as a cultural memory of invaders with iron weapons displacing peoples who had just stone, bone, wood, etc., at their disposal, and were easily defeated. 19th-century archaeologists uncovered underground rooms in the Orkney islands that resembled the Elfland described in Childe Rowland, which lent additional support. In folklore, flint arrowheads from the Stone Age were attributed to the fairies as "elf-shot", while their green clothing and underground homes spoke to a need for camouflage and covert shelter from hostile humans, their magic a necessary skill for combating those with superior weaponry. In a Victorian tenet of evolution, mythic cannibalism among ogres was attributed to memories of more savage races, practising alongside "superior" races of more refined sensibilities.
A theory that fairies, et al., were intelligent species, distinct from humans and angels. An alchemist, Paracelsus, classed gnomes and sylphs as elementals, meaning magical entities who personify a particular force of nature, and exert powers over these forces. Folklore accounts have described fairies as "spirits of the air".
Much folklore of fairies involves methods of protecting oneself from their malice, by means such as cold iron, charms (see amulet, talisman) of rowan trees or various herbs, or simply shunning locations "known" to be theirs, ergo avoiding offending any fairies. Less harmful pranks ascribed to fairies include: tangling the hair of sleepers into fairy-locks (aka elf-locks), stealing small items, and leading a traveler astray. More dangerous behaviors were also attributed to fairies; any form of sudden death might have stemmed from a fairy kidnapping, the evident corpse a magical replica of wood. Consumption (tuberculosis) was sometimes blamed on fairies who forced young men and women to dance at revels every night, causing them to waste away for lack of rest. Rowan trees were considered sacred to fairies, and a charm tree to protect one's home.
In Scottish folklore, fairies are divided into the Seelie Court (more beneficently inclined, but still dangerous), and the Unseelie Court (more malicious). While fairies of the Seelie Court enjoyed playing generally harmless pranks on humans, those of the Unseelie Court often brought harm to humans for entertainment.
Trooping fairies refers to those who appear in groups and might form settlements, as opposed to solitary fairies, who do not live or associate with others of their kind. In this context, the term fairy is usually held in a wider sense, including various similar beings, such as dwarves and elves of Germanic folklore.
A considerable amount of lore about fairies revolves around changelings, fairy children left in the place of stolen human babies. In particular, folklore describes how to prevent the fairies from stealing babies and substituting changelings, and abducting older people as well. The theme of the swapped child is common in medieval literature and reflects concern over infants thought to be afflicted with unexplained diseases, disorders, or developmental disabilities. In pre-industrial Europe, a peasant family's subsistence frequently depended upon the productive labor of each member, and a person who was a permanent drain on the family's scarce resources could pose a threat to the survival of the entire family.
In terms of protective charms, wearing clothing inside out, church bells, St. John's wort, and four-leaf clovers are regarded as effective. In Newfoundland folklore, the most popular type of fairy protection is bread, varying from stale bread to hard tack or a slice of fresh home-made bread. Bread is associated with the home and the hearth, as well as with industry and the taming of nature, and as such, seems to be disliked by some types of fairies. On the other hand, in much of the Celtic folklore, baked goods are a traditional offering to the folk, as are cream and butter. “The prototype of food, and therefore a symbol of life, bread was one of the commonest protections against fairies. Before going out into a fairy-haunted place, it was customary to put a piece of dry bread in one’s pocket.” In County Wexford, Ireland, in 1882, it was reported that “if an infant is carried out after dark a piece of bread is wrapped in its bib or dress, and this protects it from any witchcraft or evil.”
Bells also have an ambiguous role; while they protect against fairies, the fairies riding on horseback — such as the fairy queen — often have bells on their harness. This may be a distinguishing trait between the Seelie Court from the Unseelie Court, such that fairies use them to protect themselves from more wicked members of their race. Another ambiguous piece of folklore revolves about poultry: a cock's crow drove away fairies, but other tales recount fairies keeping poultry.
While many fairies will confuse travelers on the path, the will o' the wisp can be avoided by not following it. Certain locations, known to be haunts of fairies, are to be avoided; C. S. Lewis reported hearing of a cottage more feared for its reported fairies than its reported ghost. In particular, digging in fairy hills was unwise. Paths that the fairies travel are also wise to avoid. Home-owners have knocked corners from houses because the corner blocked the fairy path, and cottages have been built with the front and back doors in line, so that the owners could, in need, leave them both open and let the fairies troop through all night. Locations such as fairy forts were left undisturbed; even cutting brush on fairy forts was reputed to be the death of those who performed the act. Fairy trees, such as thorn trees, were dangerous to chop down; one such tree was left alone in Scotland, though it prevented a road being widened for seventy years.
Other actions were believed to offend fairies. Brownies were known to be driven off by being given clothing, though some folktales recounted that they were offended by inferior quality of the garments given, and others merely stated it, some even recounting that the brownie was delighted with the gift and left with it. Other brownies left households or farms because they heard a complaint, or a compliment. People who saw the fairies were advised not to look closely, because they resented infringements on their privacy. The need to not offend them could lead to problems: one farmer found that fairies threshed his corn, but the threshing continued after all his corn was gone, and he concluded that they were stealing from his neighbors, leaving him the choice between offending them, dangerous in itself, and profiting by the theft.
Millers were thought by the Scots to be "no canny", owing to their ability to control the forces of nature, such as fire in the kiln, water in the burn, and for being able to set machinery a-whirring. Superstitious communities sometimes believed that the miller must be in league with the fairies. In Scotland, fairies were often mischievous and to be feared. No one dared to set foot in the mill or kiln at night, as it was known that the fairies brought their corn to be milled after dark. So long as the locals believed this, the miller could sleep secure in the knowledge that his stores were not being robbed. John Fraser, the miller of Whitehill, claimed to have hidden and watched the fairies trying unsuccessfully to work the mill. He said he decided to come out of hiding and help them, upon which one of the fairy women gave him a gowpen (double handful of meal) and told him to put it in his empty girnal (store), saying that the store would remain full for a long time, no matter how much he took out.
It is also believed that to know the name of a particular fairy could summon it to you and force it to do your bidding. The name could be used as an insult towards the fairy in question, but it could also rather contradictorily be used to grant powers and gifts to the user.
Before the advent of modern medicine, many physiological conditions were untreatable and when children were born with abnormalities, it was common to blame the fairies.
Sometimes fairies are described as assuming the guise of an animal. In Scotland it was peculiar to the fairy women to assume the shape of deer; while witches became mice, hares, cats, gulls, or black sheep. In "The Legend of Knocksheogowna", in order to frighten a farmer who pastured his herd on fairy ground, a fairy queen took on the appearance of a great horse, with the wings of an eagle, and a tail like a dragon, hissing loud and spitting fire. Then she would change into a little man lame of a leg, with a bull's head, and a lambent flame playing round it.
In the 19th-century child ballad "Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight", the elf-knight is a Bluebeard figure, and Isabel must trick and kill him to preserve her life. Child ballad "Tam Lin" reveals that the title character, though living among the fairies and having fairy powers, was in fact an "earthly knight" and though his life was pleasant now, he feared that the fairies would pay him as their teind (tithe) to hell.
"Sir Orfeo" tells how Sir Orfeo's wife was kidnapped by the King of Faerie and only by trickery and excellent harping ability was he able to win her back. "Sir Degare" narrates the tale of a woman overcome by her fairy lover, who in later versions of the story is unmasked as a mortal. "Thomas the Rhymer" shows Thomas escaping with less difficulty, but he spends seven years in Elfland. Oisín is harmed not by his stay in Faerie but by his return; when he dismounts, the three centuries that have passed catch up with him, reducing him to an aged man. King Herla (O.E. "Herla cyning"), originally a guise of Woden but later Christianised as a king in a tale by Walter Map, was said, by Map, to have visited a dwarf's underground mansion and returned three centuries later; although only some of his men crumbled to dust on dismounting, Herla and his men who did not dismount were trapped on horseback, this being one account of the origin of the Wild Hunt of European folklore.
A common feature of the fairies is the use of magic to disguise appearance. Fairy gold is notoriously unreliable, appearing as gold when paid but soon thereafter revealing itself to be leaves, gorse blossoms, gingerbread cakes, or a variety of other comparatively worthless things.
These illusions are also implicit in the tales of fairy ointment. Many tales from Northern Europe tell of a mortal woman summoned to attend a fairy birth — sometimes attending a mortal, kidnapped woman's childbed. Invariably, the woman is given something for the child's eyes, usually an ointment; through mischance, or sometimes curiosity, she uses it on one or both of her own eyes. At that point, she sees where she is; one midwife realizes that she was not attending a great lady in a fine house but her own runaway maid-servant in a wretched cave. She escapes without making her ability known but sooner or later betrays that she can see the fairies. She is invariably blinded in that eye or in both if she used the ointment on both.
There have been claims by people in the past, like William Blake, to have seen fairy funerals. Allan Cunningham in his Lives of Eminent British Painters records that William Blake claimed to have seen a fairy funeral. "'Did you ever see a fairy's funeral, madam?' said Blake to a lady who happened to sit next to him. 'Never, sir!' said the lady. 'I have,' said Blake, 'but not before last night.' And he went on to tell how, in his garden, he had seen 'a procession of creatures of the size and colour of green and grey grasshoppers, bearing a body laid out on a rose-leaf, which they buried with songs, and then disappeared." They are believed to be an omen of death.
The Tuath(a) Dé Danann are a race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology. They are thought to represent the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland. 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. The Tuatha Dé Danann were spoken of as having come from islands in the north of the world or, in other sources, from the sky. After being defeated in a series of battles with other otherworldly beings, and then by the ancestors of the current Irish people, they were said to have withdrawn to the sídhe (fairy mounds), where they lived on in popular imagination as "fairies."
They are associated with several Otherworld realms including Mag Mell (the Pleasant Plain), Emain Ablach (the Fortress of Apples or the Land of Promise or the Isle of Women), and Tir na nÓg (the Land of Youth).
The aos sí is the Irish term for a supernatural race in Irish and Scottish, comparable to the fairies or elves. They are variously said to be ancestors, the spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods. A common theme found among the Celtic nations describes a race of diminutive people who had been driven into hiding by invading humans. In old Celtic fairy lore the Aos Sí (fairy folk) are immortals living in the ancient barrows and cairns. The Irish banshee (Irish Gaelic bean sí or Scottish Gaelic bean shìth, which both mean "woman of the fairy mound") is sometimes described as a ghost.
These Siths or Fairies they call Sleagh Maith or the Good People...are said to be of middle nature between Man and Angel, as were Daemons thought to be of old; of intelligent fluidous Spirits, and light changeable bodies (lyke those called Astral) somewhat of the nature of a condensed cloud, and best seen in twilight. These bodies be so pliable through the sublety of Spirits that agitate them, that they can make them appear or disappear at pleasure
The word "fairy" was used to describe an individual inhabitant of Faerie before the time of Chaucer.
Fairies appeared in medieval romances as one of the beings that a knight errant might encounter. A fairy lady appeared to Sir Launfal and demanded his love; like the fairy bride of ordinary folklore, she imposed a prohibition on him that in time he violated. Sir Orfeo's wife was carried off by the King of Faerie. Huon of Bordeaux is aided by King Oberon. These fairy characters dwindled in number as the medieval era progressed; the figures became wizards and enchantresses.
The oldest fairies on record in England were first described by the historian Gervase of Tilbury in the 13th century.
Morgan le Fay, whose connection to the realm of Faerie is implied in her name, in Le Morte d'Arthur is a woman whose magic powers stem from study. While somewhat diminished with time, fairies never completely vanished from the tradition. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late tale, but the Green Knight himself is an otherworldly being. Edmund Spenser featured fairies in The Faerie Queene. In many works of fiction, fairies are freely mixed with the nymphs and satyrs of classical tradition, while in others (e.g., Lamia), they were seen as displacing the Classical beings. 15th-century poet and monk John Lydgate wrote that King Arthur was crowned in "the land of the fairy" and taken in his death by four fairy queens, to Avalon, where he lies under a "fairy hill", until he is needed again.
Fairies appear as significant characters in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon and in which a disturbance of nature caused by a fairy dispute creates tension underlying the plot and informing the actions of the characters. According to Maurice Hunt, Chair of the English Department at Baylor University, the blurring of the identities of fantasy and reality makes possible “that pleasing, narcotic dreaminess associated with the fairies of the play”.
Shakespeare's contemporary Michael Drayton features fairies in his Nimphidia; from these stem Alexander Pope's sylphs of The Rape of the Lock, and in the mid-17th century, précieuses took up the oral tradition of such tales to write fairy tales; Madame d'Aulnoy invented the term contes de fée ("fairy tale"). While the tales told by the précieuses included many fairies, they were less common in other countries' tales; indeed, the Brothers Grimm included fairies in their first edition but decided this was not authentically German and altered the language in later editions, changing each Fee ("fairy") to an enchantress or wise woman. J. R. R. Tolkien described these tales as taking place in the land of Faerie. Additionally, not all folktales that feature fairies are generally categorized as fairy tales.
The modern depiction of fairies was shaped in the literature of Romanticism during the Victorian era. Writers such as Walter Scott and James Hogg were inspired by folklore which featured fairies, such as the Border ballads. This era saw an increase in the popularity of collecting of fairy folklore and an increase in the creation of original works with fairy characters. In Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, Puck holds to scorn the moralizing fairies of other Victorian works. The period also saw a revival of older themes in fantasy literature, such as C.S. Lewis's Narnia books, which, while featuring many such classical beings as fauns and dryads, mingles them freely with hags, giants, and other creatures of the folkloric fairy tradition. Victorian flower fairies were popularized in part by Queen Mary’s keen interest in fairy art and by British illustrator and poet Cicely Mary Barker's series of eight books published in 1923 through 1948. Imagery of fairies in literature became prettier and smaller as time progressed. Andrew Lang, complaining of "the fairies of polyanthuses and gardenias and apple blossoms" in the introduction to The Lilac Fairy Book, observed that "These fairies try to be funny, and fail; or they try to preach, and succeed."
A story of the origin of fairies appears in a chapter about Peter Pan in J. M. Barrie's 1902 novel The Little White Bird, and was incorporated into his later works about the character. Barrie wrote, "When the first baby laughed for the first time, his laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies." Fairies are seen in Neverland, in Peter and Wendy, the novel version of J. M. Barrie's famous Peter Pan stories, published in 1911, and its character Tinker Bell has become a pop culture icon. When Peter Pan is guarding Wendy from pirates, the story says, "After a time he fell asleep, and some unsteady fairies had to climb over him on their way home from an orgy. Any of the other boys obstructing the fairy path at night they would have mischiefed, but they just tweaked Peter's nose and passed on."
Images of fairies have appeared as illustrations, often in books of fairy tales, as well as in photographic-based media and sculpture. Some artists known for their depictions of fairies include Cicely Mary Barker, Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Amy Brown, David Delamare, Meredith Dillman, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Warwick Goble, Kylie InGold, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Myrea Pettit, Florence Harrison, Suza Scalora, Nene Thomas, Gustave Doré, Rebecca Guay and Greta James.
The Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, MI are small doors installed into local buildings. Local children believe these are the front doors of fairy houses, and in some cases, small furniture, dishes, and various other things can be seen beyond the doors.
The Victorian era was particularly noted for fairy paintings. The Victorian painter Richard Dadd created paintings of fairy-folk with a sinister and malign tone. Other Victorian artists who depicted fairies include John Atkinson Grimshaw, Joseph Noel Paton, John Anster Fitzgerald and Daniel Maclise. Interest in fairy-themed art enjoyed a brief renaissance following the publication of the Cottingley Fairies photographs in 1917 and a number of artists turned to painting fairy themes.
Absinthe (; French: [apsɛ̃t]) is historically described as a distilled, highly alcoholic beverage (45–74% ABV / 90–148 U.S. proof). It is an anise-flavoured spirit derived from botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium ("grand wormwood"), together with green anise, sweet fennel, and other medicinal and culinary herbs.Absinthe traditionally has a natural green colour, but may also be colourless. It is commonly referred to in historical literature as "la fée verte" (the green fairy). It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a liqueur, but it is not traditionally bottled with added sugar and is, therefore, classified as a spirit. Absinthe is traditionally bottled at a high level of alcohol by volume, but it is normally diluted with water prior to being consumed.
Absinthe originated in the canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland in the late 18th century. It rose to great popularity as an alcoholic drink in late 19th- and early 20th-century France, particularly among Parisian artists and writers. The consumption of absinthe was opposed by social conservatives and prohibitionists, partly due to its association with bohemian culture. Absinthe drinkers included Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Amedeo Modigliani, Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Marcel Proust, Aleister Crowley, Erik Satie, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Byron, Alfred Jarry, and Marilyn Manson. Absinthe has often been portrayed as a dangerously addictive psychoactive drug and hallucinogen. The chemical compound thujone, which is present in the spirit in trace amounts, was blamed for its alleged harmful effects. By 1915, absinthe had been banned in the United States and in much of Europe, including France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria-Hungary, yet it has not been demonstrated to be any more dangerous than ordinary spirits. Recent studies have shown that absinthe's psychoactive properties have been exaggerated, apart from that of the alcohol.A revival of absinthe began in the 1990s following the adoption of modern European Union food and beverage laws which removed long-standing barriers to its production and sale. By the early 21st century, nearly 200 brands of absinthe were being produced in a dozen countries, most notably in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Netherland, Spain, and the Czech Republic.Aos Sí
The aos sí (pronounced [eːsˠ ˈʃiː]; older form aes sídhe [eːsˠ ˈʃiːə]) is the Irish term for a supernatural race in Irish mythology and Scottish mythology (where it is usually spelled Sìth, but pronounced the same), comparable to the fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in fairy mounds, across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans. This world is described in the Lebor Gabála Érenn as a parallel universe in which the aos sí walk amongst the living. In the Irish language, aos sí means "people of the mounds" (the mounds are known in Irish as "the sídhe"). In modern Irish the people of the mounds are also called daoine sídhe [ˈdʲiːnʲə ˈʃiːə]; in Scottish mythology they are daoine sìth. They are variously said to be the ancestors, the spirits of nature, or goddesses and gods.Some secondary and tertiary sources, including well-known and influential authors such as W. B. Yeats, refer to aos sí simply as "the sídhe" (lit. "mounds").Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales). Her lengthy version was abridged, rewritten, and published first by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 in Magasin des enfants (Children's Collection) and by Andrew Lang in the Blue Fairy Book of his Fairy Book series in 1889, to produce the version(s) most commonly retold. It was influenced by some earlier stories, such as "Cupid and Psyche", The Golden Ass written by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis in the 2nd century AD, and "The Pig King", an Italian fairytale published by Giovanni Francesco Straparola in The Facetious Nights of Straparola.Variants of the tale are known across Europe. In France, for example, Zémire and Azor is an operatic version of the story, written by Marmontel and composed by Grétry in 1771, which had enormous success well into the 19th century; it is based on the second version of the tale. Amour pour amour (Love for love), by Pierre-Claude Nivelle de La Chaussée, is a 1742 play based on de Villeneuve's version. According to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, the story originated around 4,000 years ago.Cinderella
"Cinderella" or The Little Glass Slipper, is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression and triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances, that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story of Rhodopis, recounted by the Greek geographer Strabo around 7 BC, about a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt, is usually considered to be the earliest known variant of the Cinderella story. The first literary European version of the story was published in Italy by Giambattista Basile in his Pentamerone in 1634; the version that is now most widely known in the English-speaking world was published in French by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. Another version was later published by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales in 1812.
Although the story's title and main character's name change in different languages, in English-language folklore Cinderella is the archetypal name. The word Cinderella has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes were unrecognized, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of Cinderella continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media. The Aarne-Thompson-Uther system classifies Cinderella as Tale Type 510A, Persecuted Heroine.Fairy Tail
Fairy Tail (Japanese: フェアリーテイル, Hepburn: Fearī Teiru) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. It was serialized in Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine from August 2, 2006 to July 26, 2017, with the individual chapters collected and published into 63 tankōbon volumes. The story follows the adventures of Natsu Dragneel, a member of the popular wizard guild Fairy Tail, as he searches the fictional world of Earth-land for the dragon Igneel.
The manga has been adapted into an anime series produced by A-1 Pictures, Dentsu Inc., Satelight, Bridge, and CloverWorks which began broadcasting in Japan on October 12, 2009. Additionally, A-1 Pictures has developed nine original video animations and two animated feature films. The series ended its initial run on March 30, 2013. A second series premiered on TV Tokyo on April 5, 2014, and ended on March 26, 2016. A third series of the anime series began airing on October 7, 2018, and is slated to have 51 episodes. The series has also inspired numerous spin-off manga, including a sequel storyboarded by Mashima, titled Fairy Tail: 100 Years Quest, which launched on July 25, 2018.
The manga series was originally licensed for an English language release in North America by Del Rey Manga, which began releasing the individual volumes on March 25, 2008 and ended its licensing with the 12th volume release in September 2010. In December 2010, Kodansha USA took over North American release of the series. The Southeast Asian network Animax Asia aired an English-language version of the anime for seven seasons from 2010 to 2015. The manga was also licensed in the United Kingdom by Turnaround Publisher Services and in Australia by Penguin Books Australia. The anime has been licensed by Funimation for an English-language release in North America. As of February 2017, Fairy Tail had 60 million copies in print.Fairy tale
A fairy tale, wonder tale, magic tale, or Märchen is a folklore genre that takes the form of a short story. Such stories typically feature entities such as dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicit moral tales, including beast fables. The term is mainly used for stories with origins in European tradition and, at least in recent centuries, mostly relates to children's literature.
In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy-tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy-tale romance". Colloquially, the term "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale; it is used especially of any story that not only is not true, but could not possibly be true. Legends are perceived as real; fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, fairy tales usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and to actual places, people, and events; they take place "once upon a time" rather than in actual times.Fairy tales occur both in oral and in literary form; the name "fairy tale" ("conte de fées" in French) was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy in the late 17th century. Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the world. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace because only the literary forms can survive. Still, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, such stories may date back thousands of years, some to the Bronze Age more than 6,500 years ago. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today.
Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. The Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp are among the most notable. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales.Grimms' Fairy Tales
Grimms' Fairy Tales, originally known as the Children's and Household Tales (German: Kinder- und Hausmärchen, pronounced [ˌkɪndɐ ʔʊnt ˈhaʊsmɛːɐ̯çən]), is a collection of fairy tales by the Grimm brothers or "Brothers Grimm", Jakob and Wilhelm, first published on 20 December 1812. The first edition contained 86 stories, and by the seventh edition in 1857, had 211 unique fairy tales.Hans Christian Andersen
Hans Christian Andersen (; Danish: [hans kʁæsdjan ˈɑnɐsn̩] (listen); 2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875) was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children: his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality.
Andersen's fairy tales, of which no fewer than 3381 works have been translated into more than 125 languages, have become culturally embedded in the West's collective consciousness, readily accessible to children, but presenting lessons of virtue and resilience in the face of adversity for mature readers as well. His most famous fairy tales include "The Emperor's New Clothes", "The Little Mermaid", "The Nightingale", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Little Match Girl" and "Thumbelina". His stories have inspired ballets, plays, and animated and live-action films. One of Copenhagen's widest and busiest boulevards is named "H.C. Andersens Boulevard".Hansel and Gretel
"Hansel and Gretel" (; also known as Hansel and Grettel, Hansel and Grethel, or Little Brother and Little Sister; German: Hänsel und Gretel (Hänsel und Grethel) [ˈhɛnzl̩ ʔʊnt ˈɡʁeːtl̩]) is a well-known German fairy tale recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. Hansel and Gretel are a young brother and sister kidnapped by a cannibalistic witch living in a forest, in a house constructed of cake, confectionery, candy, and many more treats than are imaginable. The two children escape with their lives by outwitting her. The tale has been adapted to various media, most notably the opera Hänsel und Gretel (1893) by Engelbert Humperdinck. Under the Aarne–Thompson classification system, "Hansel and Gretel" is classified under Class 327.Leprechaun
A leprechaun (Irish: leipreachán/luchorpán) is a type of fairy of the Aos Sí in Irish folklore. They are usually depicted as little bearded men, wearing a coat and hat, who partake in mischief. They are solitary creatures who spend their time making and mending shoes and have a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. If captured by a human, they often grant three wishes in exchange for their freedom. Like other Irish fairies, leprechauns may be derived from the Tuatha Dé Danann. Leprechaun-like creatures rarely appear in Irish mythology and only became prominent in later folklore.Little Red Riding Hood
"Little Red Riding Hood" is a European fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. Its origins can be traced back to the 10th century by several European folk tales, including one from Italy called The False Grandmother (Italian: La finta nonna), later written among others by Italo Calvino in the Italian Folktales collection; the best known versions were written by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm.
The story has been changed considerably in various retellings and subjected to numerous modern adaptations and readings. Other names for the story are: "Little Red Ridinghood", "Little Red Cap" or simply "Red Riding Hood". It is number 333 in the Aarne–Thompson classification system for folktales.Rapunzel
"Rapunzel" (; German: [ʁaˈpʊnt͡səl]) is a German fairy tale in the collection assembled by the Brothers Grimm, and first published in 1812 as part of Children's and Household Tales. The Grimm Brothers' story is an adaptation of the fairy tale Rapunzel by Friedrich Schulz published in 1790. The Schulz version is based on Persinette by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force originally published in 1698 which in turn was influenced by an even earlier Italian tale, Petrosinella by Giambattista Basile, published in 1634. Its plot has been used and parodied in various media and its best known line ("Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair") is an idiom of popular culture. In volume I of the 1812 annotations (Anhang), it is listed as coming from Friedrich Schulz's Kleine Romane, Book 5, pp. 269–288, published in Leipzig 1790.
In the Aarne–Thompson classification system for folktales it is type 310, "The Maiden in The Tower".Andrew Lang included it in The Red Fairy Book. Other versions of the tale also appear in A Book of Witches by Ruth Manning-Sanders and in Paul O. Zelinsky's 1997 Caldecott Medal-winning picture book, Rapunzel and the Disney movie Tangled.
Rapunzel's story has striking similarities to the Persian tale of Rudāba, included in the epic poem Shahnameh by Ferdowsi. Rudāba offers to let down her hair from her tower so that her lover Zāl can climb up to her. Some elements of the fairy tale might also have originally been based upon the tale of Saint Barbara, who was said to have been locked in a tower by her father.Some researchers also proposed a connection to pre-Christian European (or proto-Indo-European) sun or dawn goddess myths, in which the light deity is trapped and is rescued. Extremely similar myths include that of the Baltic solar goddess Saulė, who is held captive in a tower by a king.Rumpelstiltskin
Rumpelstiltskin is a fairytale popularly associated with Germany (where he is known as Rumpelstilzchen). The tale was one collected by the Brothers Grimm in the 1812 edition of Children's and Household Tales. According to researchers at Durham University and the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, the story originated around 4,000 years ago. However, many biases lead us to take the results of this study with caution.Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty (French: La Belle au bois dormant), or Little Briar Rose (German: Dornröschen), also titled in English as The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods, is a classic fairy tale which involves a beautiful princess, a sleeping enchantment, and a handsome prince. The Aarne-Thompson classification system for folktales classifies Sleeping Beauty as being a 410 tale type, meaning it includes a princess who is forced into an enchanted sleep and is later awakened by a prince breaking the magic placed upon her. The earliest known version of the story is found in the narrative Perceforest, composed between 1330 and 1344. The tale was first published by Giambattista Basile in his collection of tales titled The Pentamerone (published posthumously in 1634). Basile's version was later adapted and published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. The version that was later collected and printed by the Brothers Grimm was an orally transmitted version of the literary tale published by Perrault. The story has been adapted many times throughout history and has continued to be retold by modern storytellers throughout various mediums.Snow White
"Snow White" is a 19th-century German fairy tale which is today known widely across the Western world. The Brothers Grimm published it in 1812 in the first edition of their collection Grimms' Fairy Tales. It was titled in German: Sneewittchen (in modern orthography Schneewittchen) and numbered as Tale 53. The name Sneewittchen was Low German and in the first version it was translated with Schneeweißchen. The Grimms completed their final revision of the story in 1854.The fairy tale features such elements as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, and the characters of the Evil Queen and the Seven Dwarfs. The seven dwarfs were first given individual names in the 1912 Broadway play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and then given different names in Walt Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Grimm story, which is commonly referred to as "Snow White", should not be confused with the story of "Snow-White and Rose-Red" (in German "Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot"), another fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm.
In the Aarne–Thompson folklore classification, tales of this kind are grouped together as type 709, Snow White. Others of this kind include "Bella Venezia", "Myrsina", "Nourie Hadig", "Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree", "The Young Slave", and "La petite Toute-Belle".The Fairly OddParents
The Fairly OddParents is an American animated television series created by Butch Hartman for Nickelodeon that aired from March 30, 2001, to July 26, 2017. The series follows the everyday misadventures of Timmy Turner, a 10-year-old boy with two fairy godparents named Cosmo and Wanda. He is constantly at odds with his 16-year-old babysitter, Vicky, with whom his parents are oblivious to her malevolent doings against their son. It was produced by Frederator Studios (2001–2017), Nickelodeon Animation Studios, and Billionfold Inc. (2008–2017).
The series originated from shorts on the animation showcase, Oh Yeah! Cartoons, airing from 1998 to 2001. It was later picked up as a series due to its popularity. Originally, it ended in 2006 totaling five seasons, but resumed production in 2008. Production of the show was halted after Hartman left Nickelodeon in February 2018; no new episodes have aired since July 26, 2017.The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker (Russian: Щелкунчик, Балет-феерия / Shchelkunchik, Balet-feyeriya listen ; French: Casse-Noisette, ballet-féerie) is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Op. 71). The libretto is adapted from E. T. A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King".
Although the original production was not a success, the 20-minute suite that Tchaikovsky extracted from the ballet was. However, the complete Nutcracker has enjoyed enormous popularity since the late 1960s and is now performed by countless ballet companies, primarily during the Christmas season, especially in North America. Major American ballet companies generate around 40% of their annual ticket revenues from performances of The Nutcracker. The ballet's score has been used in several film adaptations of Hoffmann's story.
Tchaikovsky's score has become one of his most famous compositions. Among other things, the score is noted for its use of the celesta, an instrument that the composer had already employed in his much lesser known symphonic ballad The Voyevoda.Tinker Bell
Tinker Bell is a fictional character from J. M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan and its 1911 novelization Peter and Wendy. She has appeared in multiple film and television adaptations of the Peter Pan stories, in particular the 1953 animated Walt Disney picture Peter Pan. She also appears in the official sequel Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital as well as the "Peter and the Starcatchers" book series by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry.
At first only a supporting character described by her creator as "a common fairy", her animated incarnation was a hit and has since become a widely recognized unofficial mascot of The Walt Disney Company, and the centrepiece of its Disney Fairies media franchise including the direct-to-DVD film series Tinker Bell and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.Tooth fairy
The Tooth Fairy is a fantasy figure of early childhood in Western and Western-influenced cultures. The folklore states that when children lose one of their baby teeth, they should place it underneath their pillow or on their bedside table and the Tooth Fairy will visit while they sleep, replacing the lost tooth with a small payment.The tradition of leaving a tooth under a pillow for the Tooth Fairy to collect is practiced in various countries.
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