Fairy Characters

Fairy Godmothers

In fairy tales, a fairy godmother is a fairy or person with magical powers who acts as a mentor or parent to someone.

Typically the fairy godmother's protègé is a prince or princess, and the godparent uses her magic to help or otherwise support them.  Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

See also:  Cinderella   Shrek 2   Sleeping Beauty

The Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy is a fictional character said to give children a small amount of money (or sometimes a present) in exchange for a baby tooth when it falls out.

The Tooth Fairy is an example of folklore mythology which adults know is fiction, but which is sometimes presented to children as fact...  The realization or discovery that such stories are false is considered a part of the child's growing up. Such realizations can also cause significant emotional pain in some children due to feelings of betrayal, while other children regard it as a small matter. Many adults remember clearly for their whole lives when and how they discovered the truth.

Many families participate in the roles of this myth even when the children are also aware of the fiction of the supposed supernatural entity, as a form of play or tradition.

 

This tradition is present in several western cultures under different names, for example in Spanish-speaking countries, this character is called ratoncito Pérez, a little mouse with a common surname.

Typically, upon losing a tooth the child places the tooth under his or her pillow before going to sleep. In the morning the child finds a coin (or possibly a small bill, sometimes a present) in the place of the tooth. In reality this is done by the child's parents or guardians. A less-common variant is for the child to place the tooth in a glass of water beside the bed. Again, in the morning, the tooth is replaced with a coin...

The primary useful purpose of the tooth-fairy myth is probably to give children a small reward and something to look forward to when they lose a tooth, a process which they might otherwise find worrisome. Also, it gives children a reason to give up a part of themselves that they may have grown attached to.  Some believe that other useful purposes include giving children a sense of faith in things unseen, believing in the incorporeal, and helping them understand the difference between the real and the imaginary.

The Tooth Fairy calls upon the European folk tales of House Elves or Brownies who will often perform useful tasks or exchange valuable treasures for things humans view as mundane or useless. Cultural historians say that superstition has always surrounded teeth and these valuable tokens have been used to ward of witches and demons in the past. Vikings were even supposed to give kids a “tooth fee” back in the day for using children's valuable baby teeth.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

The most commonly accepted belief by academics is the fairy's development from the tooth mouse, depicted in an 18th-century French fairy tale. In “La Bonne Petite Souris,” a mouse changes into a fairy to help a good queen defeat an evil king by hiding under his pillow to torment him and knocking out all his teeth. Also, in Europe, baby teeth used to be fed to rodents and other animals in the hopes of getting sharper, more rodent-like, teeth in the future.

 

The Christmas Tree Fairy

The fairy that sits on top of the tree has its origins in the 17th century German tradition of placing small wax or wooden effigies of the Infant Jesus all over Christmas Trees. Eventually, one large effigy called the Tin-gold Angel was developed and by the nineteenth century doll-makers converted him into a Christmas angel-doll made from wax or porcelain. After Christmas, children would dress the Tin-gold Angel as a doll and at some time during the Victorian era the doll changed sex.

"The Song of the Christmas Tree Fairy"

The little Christmas tree was born
And dwelt in the open air;
It did not guess how bright a dress
Some day its boughs would wear;
Brown cones were all, it thought, a tall
And grown-up Fir would bear.

O little Fir! Your forest home
Is far and far away;
And here indoors these boughs of yours
With coloured balls are gay,
With candle-light, and tinsel bright,
For this is Christmas Day!

A doll-fairy on top,
Till children sleep; then she
(A Live one now!) from bough to bough
Goes sliding silently.
O magic sight, this joyous night!
O laden, sparkling tree!

By Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973)


Fairy Kings

King Finvarra, also called Finvara, Finn Bheara, Finbeara or Fionnbharr, is the High King of the Daoine Sidhe in Irish folklore. In some legends, he is also the King of the Dead. Finvarra is a benevolent figure who ensures good harvests, strong horses, and great riches to those who will assist him. Unfortunately, he is also a womanizer who frequently kidnaps human women.

"Lives" on Knockmaa, a hill in County Galway, north of Galway city. There is a ruin on the hill marked on Ordnance Survey maps as "Finvarra's castle". It is mentioned in manuscripts stretching back many centuries.

After the magical race the Milesians, defeated the Tuatha de Danann, the Tuatha decided to leave. There was a group led by Finvarra, who elected to remain in Ireland. They were the Daoine Sidhe. Finvarra negotiated a truce where they were allowed to remain in Ireland as long as they remained underground. There they lived among the trees underground and built great cities. A magical spirit race, who effected the affairs of men above ground, they eventually became known as the fairy folk. They were respected and feared, and no new structure was built without first asking the fairy folk for permission, or for their assistance and guidance. This gradually fell out of practice with the onslaught of modern civilization.

see also Oberon, Fairy King of Ar

 

Queen Mab, Arthur Rackham

Fairy Queens

Mab is the Queen of the Faeries. She is often portrayed as a trickster who robs dairies and steals babies. Mab first appeared in post-sixteenth century English literature, in the poems Nimphidia, and Entertainment at Althorpe by Ben Jonson. The origin of Queen Mab is most likely Celtic, either from Mabb of Welsh Mythology or Maeve (Maebhe) of the Cuchullain tales.

 

 

The Snow Queen, Edward du Lac

The Snow Queen is a fairy queen in the folklore of Denmark. She is described as dazzling in her loveliness and as beautiful as the ice crystals themselves. She is the Spirit queen of the ice realm, who travels in the blizzards blown from the Arctic wastes. The Snow Queen will entice mortal men to follow her, but to be loved by her means instant death.

see also Titania

 

Last update 27 August 2009

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