A-Z Dictionary of Fairies and the Wee Folk
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A-Z Dictionary of Fairies
This is your one-stop shop for all terms and definitions related to fairies and the world of the fay. From letters A to Z, you will find fairies' terms and definitions right here in this article.
Alven: water fairies found in ponds in the Netherlands, though they don't have wings. They can, however, fly by being encased in bubbles and traveling on the winds. Main home is the River Elbe, as it is sacred to them. Small fairies, extremely light and sometimes shift into otters.
Ashrays: water fairies from Scotland that are mistaken for sea ghosts; have white bodies and look like a twenty-year-old human, both male and female. Nocturnal fairies, if sunlight hits them they will melt into a rainbow-colored pond of water.
Avalon: a mythological island in the Arthurian legends. The place where excalibur was forged and given to King Arthur, and also the place where King Arthur was taken after being wounded in a battle. Morgan Le Fay and Vivianne are said to have dwelled on the isle of Avalon.
Ballybog: (peat fairy ) ancient Irish fairies that protect the peatbogs of Ireland; very ugly in appearance, as they are covered in mud and they are completely round. Known as boggans in Northern England.
Banshee: (beansidhe, beannidhe, washer at the fords, washer-woman) a type of fairy that has been seen and heard in Ireland and Scotland for hundreds of years, usually believed to announce or warn of a death in some of the old Irish and Scottish families. When seen in Ireland, she is usually washing burial shrouds as a symbol for preparation for a burial. She looks different in each region where she has been seen. Some say she is a gorgeous woman, while others claim she looks more like a green hag with scraggly hair and long nails. The one distinguishable quality of the Banshee is her mourning wail, a piercing and eerie cry that can be heard miles away. Some are comforted by her wailing, while others are instilled with immediate fear.
Brownie: a benevolent house fairy thought to have come from Scotland to America by the Scottish immigrants. Associated with the element earth and are also known as a House Brownie or a Little Man. Supposed to pick a house with a nice and caring family in which to aid the woman of the house in her chores. They do so at night when everyone is sleeping. Some believe that brownies have the ability to shapeshift into domestic and farm animals such as a rooster.
Changeling: an ugly fairy child put in the place of a kidnapped human child.
Clurichaun: a cousin of the leprechaun who is usually dressed in red and guards a family's wine cellar. They choose their family wisely and pick a family who is ethical and kind to all life and never choose clergymen. Also known as the Monciello in Italy.
Devas: a type of fairy originating in Persia and Greece. Small fairies that appear as bright orbs of light that live in nature and are one with Mother Nature. Said to live in the woods and in conjunction with the natural vibrations around them.
Dryad: a type of fairy or tree spirit found in all old Celtic countries in Europe. The Celtic "Druids" are said to have gotten their names from the Dryads. Thought to be female fairies and live in the highest boughs of the 13 Celtic sacred trees. Said to have given their knowledge and secrets of magic to the Druids.
Elf: a type of fairy that has been seen all around the world. Their appearance changes from country to country, some say elves are tall and beautiful, while others claim them to be small and chubby. Most don't bother with humans, but as a general rule, trooping elves are good and solitary elves are usually malevolent. Seen in games and movies and books in modern times.
Gnomes: a type of fairy that are said to live among tree roots in deep forests. Belief originating from Scotland and brought to America by immigrants. Appear very old as they mature quickly and also look very much like dwarfs. Also usually wear pointed red hats with green or blue colored clothing. Gnomes are actually included in elemental magic, as a representation of the element earth. They are a type of elemental.
Heather Pixie: (moor sprites) a type of pixie fairy with beautifully delicate and translucent wings, seen in Scotland and England. Live in the moors and love the heather around the moors.
Irish Sea Water Guardians: a type of fairy originating in the Isle of Man. Water guardian fairies of small stature and are sacred to the Sea God Manann. They are said to be surrounded by a greenish blue light. Guard the Irish seas and are said to float on broken eggshells or surf on Irish seashells during storms. Particularly active during sea storms. Enjoy dolphins and sea life in general.
Kelpie: a type of fairy seen in Scotland and Ireland, associated with the water. Webfooted and ugly water spirits and aren't seen anymore. Some even believed them to be carnivorous and cannibalistic. They were said to snatch deer from the shoreline to eat, other fairies and even humans were eaten by kelpies. Shapeshifting was possible by the male kelpies, as they would shift into handsome human men to lure young women to the water in order to consume them.
Lady of the Lake: a type of fairy or possibly a Mother goddess who offered excalibur to King Arthur of Camelot. Said to live on Avalon or possibly under Dosmary Pool.
Leprechaun: a type of fairy who is a treasure hoarder and a cousin of the clurichaun. Lore says that they wear all green and work on shoes. Said to hide their cauldrons of gold and treasure at the end of a rainbow. If treasure is ever found, the leprechaun will also offer three wishes along with the pot of gold.
Merpeople: a type of water fairy seen worldwide. Commonly called mermaids or mermen and are half human-half fish creatures who reside in the oceans and seas throughout the world. Appear to be very beautiful creatures, both the men and the women. In many tales from sailors mermaids were said to lure ships to the rocks and to their deaths, but in other stories, mermaids were said to have rescued or tried to rescue drowning men. The mermaids are thought to interbreed with human men, but never the mermen with human women.
Nymphs: a type of fairy from Greece, said to be very seductive and are more of a classification of fairies. There are wood nymphs, water nymphs, tree nymphs, grove nymphs, etc. Have a reputation for being obsessed with sex, hence the term for someone addicted to sexual activity - nymphomaniac.
Pixie: a type of fairy that originates in Scotland but has been seen elsewhere. Usually depicted as small fairies with wings and heads too large for their tiny bodies. Pointy ears, noses, and highly defined eyebrows. Are usually friendly but tend to also be mischievous and like to play tricks on humans. They live in flower gardens and are attracted to all types of flowers. Pixie dust obviously comes from Pixies and is said to aid in flying. They hate human laziness and will pinch a lazy person to get him off of his bum.
Salamanders: a type of fairy most commonly known and seen as a fire elemental in magical workings. Salamanders appear as fiery lizards. Associated with the element fire and are known to aid in workings of passion and revenge.
Seelie Court: a classification of good fairies used in lowland Scottish folklore. They were said to ride on the wings of the heavens, on the highest waves of the winds and fight the Unseelie Court.
Selkie: a type of fairy that is a shapeshifter. A water fairy that has the ability to change from the appearance of a seal into a human being. Most of the legends told of women selkies who would be caught by a fisherman and made to be his wife, only to find her seal coat later on and take back to the sea, forever leaving her grieving husband and children behind on land.
Sprite: an elf fairy.
Will O'Wisp: a type of fairy that dances across lakes and bodies of water at night. The light that these fairies give off tends to look like a flickering candle or flickering orb of light. They have been seen all over the world.
Unseelie Court: these types of fairies are the opposites to the Seelie Court and tend to wage war against the Seelie Court fairies.
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© 2011 Nicole Canfield