Thursday, October 11, 2007

Fairies and other magical creatures

A fairy (also faery, faerie, or fae; collectively wee folk, good folk, people of peace and other euphemisms)[1] is a spirit or supernatural being that is found in the legends, folklore, and mythology of many cultures.
The term "fairy" came into use in the folklore of Western Europe in the medieval era; it has been applied to supernatural beings of many different cultures, both those similar to, and distinctly different from, the Western European "fairy" (see List of beings referred to as fairies). Even in folkore that uses the term "fairy", there are many definitions of what constitutes a fairy. Sometimes the term is used to describe any magical creature, including goblins or gnomes, and at other times only to describe a specific type of more ethereal creature.[2]
Fairies are generally described as human in appearance, though of variable size, and with magical powers. Their origins are less clear in the folklore, being variously the dead, or some form of angels, or a species completely independent of humans or angels.[3] Folklorists have suggested that their actual origin lies in a conquered race living in hiding,[4] or in religious beliefs that lost currency with the advent of Christianity.[5]
Much of the folklore about fairies revolves about protection from their malice, by such means as cold iron or charms of rowan and herbs, or avoiding offense by shunning locations known to be theirs.[6] In particular, folklore describes how to prevent the fairies from stealing babies and substituting changelings, and abducting older people as well.[7]
Many folktales are told of fairies, and they appear as characters in stories from medieval tales of chivalry, to Victorian fairy tales, and up to the present day in modern literature.
This is a list of beings referred to as fairies that are not so called in their native folklore.
• The Aziza are a beneficent fairy race from Africa, specifically Dahomey.
• An alux is a type of sprite or spirit in the mythological tradition of certain Maya peoples from the Yucat√°n Peninsula.
• The Curupira is a male supernatural being which guards the forest in Tupi mythology.
• The duende refers to a fairy- or goblin-like mythological character. While its nature varies throughout Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, in many cases its closest equivalents known in the Anglophone world are the Irish leprechaun and the Scottish brownie.
• Encantado, in Brazilian Portuguese, is creatures who come from a paradiasical underwater realm called the Encante. It may refer to spirit beings or shapeshifting snakes, or most often dolphins with the ability to turn into humans.
• The Erlking is a mischievous creature that is said to lure children away from safety and kill them.
• Cajun Fairies (The Feufollet in French) are an American legend that emerged along the bayou as early as the 1920's with a light (a ball of fire) that shot out into the sky, likely derived from the same natural phenomena as the will o' the wisp. The lights were known as fairies, spirits and sometimes the ghosts of loved ones.
• Jogah are small spirit-folk in Iroquois mythology.
• Mogui are, according to Chinese tradition, a breed of fairy-folk that possess superpowers, which they often use to inflict harm on humans.
• Peris, found in Persian and Islamic mythology, are descended from fallen angels who have been denied paradise until they have done penance.
• Slavic fairies come in several forms and their names are spelled differently based on the specific language.
• Tien [2]are heavenly beings variously translated as Immortals, Spirits, Angels and Fairies in Vietnamese folklore.
• The Xana is a character found in Asturian mythology.
• Yaksha are creatures often with dual personalities, found in Hindu and Buddhist mythology. On the one hand, a Yaksha may be an inoffensive nature-fairy, associated with woods and mountains; but there is a much darker version of the Yaksha, which is a kind of cannibalistic ogre, ghost or demon that haunts the wilderness and waylays and devours

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin