Ever wanted to learn more about fairies? Here are some tidbits of fairy knowledge from Michelle, Grove and Grotto's own shop fairy.
1. Fairy wings aren't just for flying.
One of the questions I get when children see my wings is, “Can you fly?” The answer is yes, if the wind is right. But flying is not the only thing wings are good for. Fairies use their wings to wave “hello” to each other, to “taste” the air, to express their moods, to look beautiful, and to show how important they are in fairy society. Wings also make a comfortable cushion when you lie down for a fairy nap.
2. You can spell “fairy” any way you want.
If you look in a dictionary, you’ll probably see the conventional spelling, “fairy.” But lots of famous authors and poets spell it “faerie” or “faery.” That’s three common ways to write the same word, so why not spell it “feyrie” or “fahreeee” in your stories? The word for “fairy” is a lot like the creatures themselves: Ever-changing and not inclined to follow the rules.
3. Fairies speak the language of gifts.
Fairies love gifts! They love to give them and they love to receive them. Their favorites are small shiny objects and good things to eat and drink. If you want to be friends with a fairy boy or girl, offer a gift first. Fairies know that humans’ words don’t always tell the truth, but gifts can usually be trusted.
4. Not all fairies are beautiful.
Many fairies are extremely beautiful—more beautiful than humans can imagine—but not all. Some look frightening or silly. Some can take the form of animals or plants. Most can change their appearance to look any way they wish. You might think, then, that a fairy would want to be young and pretty all the time, because that’s what most humans would do. But fairies have their reasons to enjoy looking ugly or old.
5. Fairies don't like iron.
You may have heard that fairies are allergic to the metal iron. Iron doesn’t kill fairies, like some people say. However, it does make them feel icky inside, and the smell is terrible to a fairy nose. In olden times, folks would hang an iron horseshoe on their door to keep bad fairies away. (Unfortunately, this also can keep away the good fairies.)
6. Fairies don't have to be tiny, but it's fun!
Fairies live in a world apart from the human world. The fairy world has its own rules about size and distance—that’s why, when fairies visit humans, no one can agree what size they are. Some people who have seen them say that fairies are tall like giants, some say they are about the same size as humans, and some say they are small enough to fit in a teacup.
A long time ago, people started to tell stories about tiny flower fairies and to draw pictures of them in books. They imagined fairies sitting on mushrooms, riding on mice, and sleeping in bird’s nests. Fairies heard these stories and thought that it all sounded like great fun! Luckily for fairies, they can choose to be any size they want when they visit the human world.
Michelle Gruben is a Faery witch and occasional costumed fairy. Read more articles in the archive!