A fairy (also fay, fae; from faery, faerie, “realm of the fays”) is a type of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural or preternatural. Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term fairy offers many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, including goblins or gnomes: at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature or sprite. Various folkloristic traditions refer to them euphemistically, by names such as wee folk, good folk, people of peace, fair folk (Welsh tylwyth teg), etc.

19 Mar   /  1,231 notes


An elf (from the Old English ælf, elf, ylve, etc.) is a type of supernatural being in Germanic mythology and folklore. Early elves, whose description depends almost entirely on Norse mythology texts, were a race of beings with magical skills, ambivalent towards humans and capable of either helping or hindering them. But Christianized societies were viewing elves in increasingly sinister light. In Anglo-Saxon England as early as the 10th century, Old English medical books attest to elves afflicting humans and livestock by “elf-shots”. The German elf or alp was seen as an “addler" of people in medical books, but already in the High Middle Ages there were prayers warding against it as the agent causing nightmares, and eventually for the alp its identity as nightmare spirits became predominant.

16 Mar   /  147 notes


A nymph (Greek: νύμφη, nymphē) in Greek mythology and in Latin mythology is a minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. Nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis. They are believed to dwell in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and in valleys and cool grottoes. Although they would never die of old age nor illness, and could give birth to fully immortal children if mated to a god, they themselves were not necessarily immortal, and could be beholden to death in various forms.

13 Mar   /  2,431 notes