Sunday, April 4, 2010

The darker side of Faerie

I love a good happy story as much as the next person, with nice fairies who grant wishes and everyone ending happily. But I'm also drawn to the darker side of fairie lore. I've said it before, but most actual fairy lore is surprisingly like what we think of as ghost lore, rather than happy, cute little flower fairies. This site describes the relationship between faerie and elf beliefs with current notions of ghosts and UFOS. Here is a small sample of some of the scarier inhabitants of Faerie. For more, go to the above website or read this book (or any other book on fairy lore).

Redcap is a goblin who dwells in ruins with a dark past. His cap is dyed red with human blood.
The Bean-nighe is a type of banshee found around water. She is seen washing blood-stained clothes-either her own burial shrouds, or your own clothing. These are supposed to be spirits of mothers who died in childbirth, doomed to wash clothing until the day they would otherwise have died.

Meet Leanan-sidhe. Basically your classic vampire. Those who write much about her don't live very long.

Banshees are females who wail when death or other disaster is about to happen.

And, just for fun, from the movie Labyrinth:
Sarah: Ow! It bit me!
Hoggle: What'd you expect fairies to do?
Sarah: I thought they did nice things, like... like granting wishes.
Hoggle: Shows what *you* know, don't it?

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