WEE FOLK AND THEIR FRIENDS



All cultures have their stories of the wee folk, the nature entities, that appear so often to be a mirror-image of humankind and somehow indicate that humans are part of a larger community of intelligences—both physical and nonphysical. Since the beginning of time, the human race and the wee folk have shared this planet, experiencing a strange, symbiotic relationship. In such cultures as ancient Rome, the household spirits were called "Lares," and the tradition of each home having its own guardian of the hearth survived throughout most of Europe. Although the great majority of modern people stereotypically envision fairies, elves, brownies, and so forth gamboling about only in the woodlands, there are long traditions of friendly spirits who guard the home and look after the barn, stables, and farm animals.

In many traditions, especially in the British Isles and Scandinavia, the fairy folk were supernormal entities who inhabited a magical kingdom beneath the surface of the earth. In all traditions, the wee people are depicted as possessing many more powers and abilities than humans, but somehow they are strongly dependent on human beings and from time to time they seek to reinforce their own kind by kidnapping both human children and adults.

While the wee people and their associated entites—elves, gnomes, and leprechauns—are most often depicted as sweet, little winged "Tinkerbells" and jolly forest creatures in bright costumes and pointed hats, each of the fairy folk and their kin have a dark side. Some of the nursery tales throughout the centuries have depicted a certain mischievous nature to the wee people, but the creatures can become downright nasty—even dangerous—if provoked.

Medieval theologians seemed to favor three possibilities to explain the origin of these beings:

  1. they are a special class of demoted angels,
  2. they are spirits of the dead or a special class of the dead, or
  3. they are fallen angels.

Most of the ancient texts declare that these entities are of a middle nature, "between humans and angels." Although they are of a nature between spirits and humans, they can intermarry with humans and bear half-human children. One factor has been consistent in all traditions: the "middle folk" continually meddle in affairs of humans, sometimes to do them good, sometimes to do them ill.

C. S. Lewis (1898–1963), author of many books on spiritual matters, once suggested that the wee folk are a third rational species. The angels are the highest, having perfect goodness and whatever knowledge is necessary for them to do God's will; humans, somewhat less perfect, are the second; fairies, having certain powers of the angels but no souls, are the third.

Because the folklore of the wee people is so multicultural and worldwide, some theorists have suggested that the fairy folk may actually have been the surviving remnants of a past civilization populated by a species of early humans or humanoids that were of diminutive stature compared to evolving Homo sapiens. These little people may have been quite advanced and possessed a technology that seemed to be magical compared to the primitive tools of the primitive hunter-gatherer humans who later became the established residents of the area. The little people may have died out, they may have been assimilated into the encroaching culture by interbreeding, or they may largely have gone underground, emerging topside often enough to be perpetuated in folklore and legend.

DELVING DEEPER

Bord, Janet. Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998.

DuBois, Pierre, with Roland Sabatier and Claudine Sabatier, illustrators. The Great Encyclopedia of Fairies. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Random House, 2000.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Spence, Lewis. The Fairy Tradition in Britain. London: Rider, 1948.


DELVING DEEPER

Bord, Janet. Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998.

DuBois, Pierre, with Roland Sabatier and Claudine Sabatier, illustrators. The Great Encyclopedia of Fairies. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Froud, Brian. Good Faeries, Bad Faeries. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Random House, 2000.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Spence, Lewis. The Fairy Tradition in Britain. London: Rider, 1948.


DELVING DEEPER

Bord, Janet. Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998.

Chollet, Laurence. "Under the Fairy Influence." The Record, March 14, 2001. [Online] http://www.bergen.com/yourtime/lc14200103146.htm.

DuBois, Pierre, with Roland Sabatier and Claudine Sabatier, illustrators. The Great Encyclopedia of Fairies. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Froud, Brian. Good Faeries, Bad Faeries. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore.

New York: Larousse, 1995.

Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Random House, 2000.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

"More Than Just a Fairy Story." The Kingston Guardian, February 12, 2001. [Online] http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/local_london/news/weird/2001/february12/ed01120201.htm.

Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.


DELVING DEEPER

Bord, Janet. Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998.

DuBois, Pierre, with Roland Sabatier and Claudine Sabatier, illustrators. The Great Encyclopedia of Fairies. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Froud, Brian. Good Faeries, Bad Faeries. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Random House, 2000.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Spence, Lewis. The Fairy Tradition in Britain. London: Rider, 1948.


DELVING DEEPER

Bord, Janet. Fairies: Real Encounters with Little People. New York: Dell Publishing, 1998.

DuBois, Pierre, with Roland Sabatier and Claudine Sabatier, illustrators. The Great Encyclopedia of Fairies. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

Froud, Brian. Good Faeries, Bad Faeries. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Random House, 2000.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Spence, Lewis. The Fairy Tradition in Britain. London: Rider, 1948.


DELVING DEEPER

Froud, Brian. Good Faeries, Bad Faeries. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Random House, 2000.

Stern, Dave. "The Great Gremlin Caper." Fate (December 2001): 8–13.


DELVING DEEPER

Froud, Brian. Good Faeries, Bad Faeries. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Keightley, Thomas. The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People. New York: Random House, 2000.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Spence, Lewis. The Fairy Tradition in Britain. London: Rider, 1948.


DELVING DEEPER

Beckwith, Martha. Hawaiian Mythology. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1970, 1989.

Grant, Glen. Obake Files: Ghostly Encounters in Supernatural Hawaii. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing, 1996.

Westervelt, William D. Hawaiian Legends of Ghosts and Ghost-Gods. Rutland, Vt.; Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1963, 1971.


DELVING DEEPER

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Shuker, Karl P. N. "Menagerie of Mystery." Strange (spring 1995): 20–23; 54–56.

DELVING DEEPER

Booss, Claire, ed. Scandinavian Folk & Fairy Tales . New York: Gramercy Books, 1984.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Mack, Carol K., and Dinah Mack. A Field Guide to Demons, Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subver sive Spirits. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Rose, Carol. Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia. New York: W. W. Norton, 1998.

Simek, Rudolf. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Trans. by Angela Hall. Rochester, N.Y.: D. S. Brewer, 1993.

DELVING DEEPER

Benwell, Gwen, and Arthur Waugh. Sea Enchantress: The Tale of the Mermaid and Her Kin. New York: Citadel Press, 1965.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Spence, Lewis. The Fairy Tradition in Britain. London: Rider, 1948.


DELVING DEEPER

Booss, Claire, ed. Scandinavian Folk & Fairy Tales. New York: Gramercy Books, 1984.

Jones, Alison, ed. Larousse Dictionary of World Lore. New York: Larousse, 1995.

Simek, Rudolf. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. Translated by Angela Hall. Rochester, N.Y.: D. S. Brewer, 1993.



User Contributions:

stomi
Report this comment as inappropriate
Dec 16, 2006 @ 4:04 am
well, i'm interested to such magical creatures after reading harry potter and artemis fowl. Before, i thought they r just imagination creature--althought they may be so. But, i have a thought, what if they r really exist? In my religion, we believe that there are other creature beside human beings, but most of those creature were told in the tales. And in my culture tales, most of those creatures were told as they have bad manner and ugly. Not like tales from most of western countries in europe, there are good fairy and such. Anyway, i want to share more with other people on the other part of the world about these stories. Is there any discussion forum where we can talk about these stuff scientifictly? Thanks a lot....

Regards,

Stomi

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