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Take the Fair Face of Woman... by Sophie Anderson A fairy is a spirit (supernatural being) found in the legends, folklore, and mythology of many cultures. They are generally humanoid in form, though of a higher, spiritual nature and so possessed of preternatural abilities. They are often regarded as aloof, ephemeral, mercurial, and whimsical, among other qualities that place them outside of a human scope and have a tendency to make them associated or confused with other mythological creatures.
3 Fairies in literature
4 Fairies in visual arts
5 Fairies in modern popular culture
6 See also
7 External links
The words fey and faerie came to English from French and, ultimately, Latin. The Latin root fata, meaning fate in the sense of one of the Parcae, is an indication that fey have abilities associated with knowledge (foresight) and manipulation (luck, blessing, cursing) of fate, both of which are qualities of faeries in myth.
Fata influenced modern Italian's fada and Spanish's hada, both of which mean fey, and the Old French fée, which gained the meaning "enchanter." By adding the ending -rie, we get féerie, meaning a "state of fée" or "enchantment." This also befits fey, who are known for casting illusions and altering emotions, particularly so as to make themselves alluring, frightening, or unseen.
Modern English inherited the two terms "fey" and "fairy," along with all the associations attached to them. Since the subjects of the words are somewhat alien and ethereal, the terms are often used interchangeably and have no standardized spellings. Common ones include the following:
Fey: Fae and Fay
Fairy: Faerie, Fairie, Faery
Other spellings are rarer but do exist.
There is, however, a slight distinction between the two. Properly, "fey" is a noun referring to a specific race of otherworldly beings excersing mystical abilities (either the elves [or equivalent thereof] in mythology or their insect-winged, floral descendents in English folklore), while "faerie" is an adjective meaning "of, like, or associated with fey, their otherworldly home, their activities, and their produced goods and effects." Thus, a leprechaun and a ring of mushrooms are both faerie things (a fairy leprechaun and a fairy ring).
The question of a faerie "nature" has been the topic of many a myth or scholarly paper for a very long time. This is partially due to the fact that, by being supernatural and chaotic entities, they are difficult to pin down as being anything in particular and partially due to the fact that humans have yet to answer completely what constitutes the racial ethos of humanity. Consequently, faerie runs amok with creatures that are completely unrelated save that they are mythologic in origin. There is a central archetypal figure behind most of the stories described as a tall, delicate, radiant being of humanoid aspect. Such beings are most often called "the shining ones."
Fairies in literature
William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream deals extensively with the subject of fairy-folk and their interaction with a group of amateur theatrical players. This work details the spell cast by the mischievous fairy Puck (at the behest of the fairy-king Oberon) on Oberon's wife Titania, who falls in love with the first mortal she casts eyes upon, the unfortunate Bottom, whom Puck has transmogrified into having a donkey's head.
William S. Gilbert liked fairies and wrote several plays about them. The best is the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Iolanthe which deals with a conflict between fairies and the House of Lords and, among other issues, touches on some of the practical consequences of fairy/human marriages and cross-breeding in a humorous manner.
In his Fairy Folk Tales of Ireland (1892), W. B. Yeats coined the expression "trooping fairies" to refer to those fairies who liked to travel together in groups. This is in contrast to the solitary fairies, such as the banshee, leprechaun, or pooka. Typically Yeat's trooping fairies are compared to the elves of English lore.
Fairies figure prominently in most of Neil Gaiman's works, primarily the Books of Magic and Sandman.
Fairies in visual arts
Artists such as Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Myrea Pettit, Ida Rentoul Outhwaite. Cicely Mary Barker, Amy Brown and Peg Maltby have all created beautiful illustrations of fairies.
Conversely, the Victorian painter Richard Dadd was responsible for some paintings of fairy-folk with an altogether more sinister and malign nature. Another notable Victorian painter of fairies was the artist and illustrator Arthur Rackham. Interest in fairy themed art in Britain enjoyed a brief rennaissance following the Cottingley fairies photographs, and a number of artists turned to painting fairy themes.
Fairies in modern popular culture
Main figure in Irish writer Eoin Colfer's stories about Artemis Fowl. In the first book, Artemis Fowl discovers the existence of an underground world of fairies. Because of this threat, captain Holly Short is sent to the Earth to eliminate Artemis Fowl. Though she doesn't want to admit it, she slowly becomes friends with Artemis, and in the second book they form an alliance to fight the Mafia.
Originally from the Peter Pan stories by J.M. Barrie, but more famous for the Disney version, or the portrayal by Julia Roberts in the 1991 movie Hook. She is also often referred to as a pixie, and leaves a trail of fairy dust (or pixie dust) behind wherever she goes.
Kylie Minogue in Moulin Rouge!Blue Fairy
In Carlo Collodi's tale Pinocchio the wooden boy receives the gift of real life from the Blue Fairy. In Steven Spielberg's A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001), where an android longs to become a real boy, the Blue Fairy is voiced by Meryl Streep.
Also called La Fée Verte, a nickname for the alcoholic drink absinthe. Called such because of it's green color and intoxicating and seductive properties. originally represented as a green women, later she has been represented as a more traditional green colored fairy. Kylie Minogue played the green fairy in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge!.
The Legend of Zelda
Fairies have been Link's helpers from the very first game. In the beginning the simply replenished his health and now in the newer games they are life long companions.
ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal
The multi-platform action-adventure game features an array of various elemental fairies which the player can capture and train in the course of the game and use them to fight in fairy duels to advance the plot.
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