Don't Mess With The Fairies

kamalktk

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#6
"The Irish Times reports that the council's road department replied that it was due to a "deeper underlying subsoil/geotechnical problem".
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Yes, "Underlying subsoil/geotechnical problems"... caused by fairies. :cool:
 
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#8

Brig

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#9
Back a decade or so ago, when I taught grade school; the intermediate grade girls (4 thru 6) were constantly asking me to draw fairies. Then they'd gripe that I was drawing regular girls and putting wings on them. So I did some investigating of fairy literature and Mr. Disney. Old fairy lit had fairies as regular people, somewhat smaller and wingless. That didn't help so I tried Fantasia fairies. I don't think I ever got it right. What did these kids want? My version of Fantasia fairies were liked by some; but I don't think I ever actually got what they wanted. Some modern fairy artists make fairies grotesque. I'd hate to think they looked like that. What did the old Celtics think fairies looked like?
 
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#15
Back a decade or so ago, when I taught grade school; the intermediate grade girls (4 thru 6) were constantly asking me to draw fairies. Then they'd gripe that I was drawing regular girls and putting wings on them. So I did some investigating of fairy literature and Mr. Disney. Old fairy lit had fairies as regular people, somewhat smaller and wingless. That didn't help so I tried Fantasia fairies. I don't think I ever got it right. What did these kids want? My version of Fantasia fairies were liked by some; but I don't think I ever actually got what they wanted. Some modern fairy artists make fairies grotesque. I'd hate to think they looked like that. What did the old Celtics think fairies looked like?
In classical Irish Celtic Myths the Fairies are more like Tolkien's Elves. The Tuatha Dé Dannan were a sort of "Fallen Angels" (Aliens?) Warrior Race who eventually became the Aes Sídhe who lived under Fairy Mounds (Forts).
 
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#17
Tuatha Dé Danann
This link is a great hub for wikiwanderings. Hours of interesting history and mythology.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuatha_Dé_Danann

Any good books on the Tuatha to recommend, Ramon?
A review I wrote, published in FT 350.

Ireland's Immortals: A History of the Gods of Irish Myth

Mark Williams


Hardcover | 2016 | $39.50 | £29.95 | ISBN: 9780691157313

608 pp. | 6 x 9 | 22 halftones. 3 line illus. 1 table.

Late Celtic Era scholars and Forteans will be familiar with Mark William's opus Fiery Shapes: Celestial Portents and Astrology in Ireland and Wales, 700–1700. In that book (based on his doctoral dissertation) he mined Irish and Welsh medieval literature, merging the field of Historical Archaeology and Celtic Poetry; slaying some dragons of pseudo-scholarship along the way.

Williams doesn't hide the paucity of early sources making clear the divinities emerge not from the dark abyss of creation myths but from an enigmatic and patchy archaeological record. Indeed the earliest written evidence for native Irish Gods come from early Christian sources, as part of the co-option of the pagan deities in to the Celtic Christian Church Canon.

The invention of new mythologies in the Middle Medieval period necessitated the creation of a chronological narrative for the island's past [to] integrate all of the [known] sources - biblical, native and classical. The Pagan Gods were transformed into the last pre-Gaelic, pre-historic people to have conquered Ireland. The Tuatha Dé Danann are cast down from Heaven to become human or perhaps (given their later Fairy incarnation) fallen angels.

Moving from pseudo-history to the Celtic revivals of both Ireland and Scotland, the mysticism of Yeats and Russel were central to the modern redefinition of the Pagan Pantheon. Augusta Gregory in Gods and Fighting Men (sequel to Cuchulainn of Muirthemne) wrote the definitive (pseudo) history of the Tuatha Dé Danann. through to their defeat by the sons of Miled. The Tuatha were transformed once more, this time into Fairy Folk behind: hidden walls, … that no man could see through, but they themselves could see through them, and pass through them. (Gregory, Gods and Fighting Men, 73.)

Ireland's Immortals is an academic text but is clearly written and is enormously entertaining. But as Williams writes in the Acknowledgements: A special demon lies in wait for those who attempt to cover millenial timespans in a single book. Likely more than one. No doubt there will be letters to the FT Editor. Well referenced it comes with a Guide to Pronunciations, Conspectus of Medieval Sources, a 40 page Bibliography of works cited, a Glossary and a 22 page index.

Archaeology, Poetry, History, Pseudo-History, Mysticism. 9/10.
 
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skinny

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#18
Wow. On order as of right now. Thanks. And your critique is excellent.

Have only ever read Eileen O'Faolain's Irish Sagas and Folk Tales (Oxford UP 1955), which I stole off me Ma and is more Ulster Cycle and ancestors. Also very good.

Now. Where's m'Guinness? Ah :beer: Reading room.

Page 1

From the Dawn of Time

The Three Most Famous Tales


Three sorrows of story-telling fill me with pity,
the telling of them grates on the ear;
the woe of the Children of Turenn ~
sorrowful to hear.

And the Children of Lir, bird-shaped;
a curse on the mouth that told their doom:
Conn, Fiachra, Finola, and Aed ~
the second gloom.

And the Children of Usnach, shield of men,
who fell by force and cunning craft ~
Naisi, and Ainle, and Ardan . . .
There cracks the heart.
From the Irish
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ón nGaeilge
Ó Dawn an Am

Na Trí Scéalta Aitheanta

Trí brón an scéalta a líonadh le trua liom,
Ag tabhairt grá dóibh ar an gcluas;
An trua de Leanaí Turenn ~
Brónach a chloisteáil.

Agus Leanaí Lir, chruthach éan;
A curse ar an mbéal a dúirt a n-inniúlacht:
Conn, Fiachra, Finola, agus Aed ~
An dara gloom.

Agus na Leanaí Usnach, sciath na bhfear,
A thit i bhfeidhm agus ceardaíocht olc ~
Naisi, agus Ainle, agus Ardan. . .
Tá an croí ann.
 
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EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
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#19
... Some modern fairy artists make fairies grotesque. I'd hate to think they looked like that. What did the old Celtics think fairies looked like?
It's complicated ...

There were, of course, lots of supernatural / preternatural beings cited in ancient folklore and myths. None of them really corresponded to the 'fairy' figures of (e.g.) Victorian hoaxes or Disney flicks.

The term 'fairy' arose as a descriptor meaning 'magical' / 'supernatural' / 'enchanted' - not a category of beings with these characteristics. Medieval romance tales wove traces of the supernatural into their storylines, but mainly in terms of citing a 'fairy X' (X = some character / figure), with the 'fairy' bit connoting magical or supernatural origins or capabilities.

For example ... Under this original interpretation the 'fairy godmother' in the Cinderella story wasn't 'a godmother who was a supernatural specimen of something called a fairy' but rather 'a human godmother who performed magic.'

The Green Knight Sir Gawain faced was a 'fairy knight' in this sense.

As time went on, there was a tendency to lump together all sorts of mainly European folk figures under the label of 'fairy' (meaning supernatural or magical or enchanting / enchanted) folk. By the time of the Renaissance some had started referring to such figures as 'fairies'.

The modern notion of a particular figure called a 'fairy' represents either (a) a specific magical being of the Tinkerbell variety or (b) a vague latter-day version of the old elves / sprites / whatever figures from indigenous folklore.

Version (a) really only dates as far back as the 19th century (at least in terms of widespread recognition).
 

Mythopoeika

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#20

baleeber

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#25
My favorite book on this subject is:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/561850.Encyclopedia_of_Fairies



It's filled with anecdotes from history, personal accounts, folklore, nursery rhymes, etc. The book gives a quote from another book, Popular Rhymes of Scotland by Robert Chambers (1870):

Gin ye ca' me imp or elf,
I rede ye look weel to yourself;
Gin ye ca' me fairy,
I'll work ye muckle tarrie;
Gin guid neibour ye ca' me,
Then guid neibour I will be;
But gin ye ca' me seelie wicht,
I'll be your freend baith day and nicht.
Or, put into plain English ...

Gin (this could be either "again", or a Middle English word meaning "to begin") ye (you) ca' (call) me imp (a small mischievous devil) or elf (from the German word for "nightmare"),
I rede (advise, counsel) ye (you) look weel (well) to yourself (use caution, look after yourself; this is a threat);
Gin ("again" or "start to") ye ca' me fairy (from The Fates, beings who control destiny; sometimes fairies were referred to as "the fair folk"),
I'll work ye muckle tarrie (I'll slow you down, interfere with you, etc.;
Gin guid (good) neibour (neighbor) ye ca' me,
Then guid neibour I will be;
But gin ye ca' me seelie (from Scottish for "happy", "lucky" or "blessed") wicht (living being, child),
I'll be your freend (friend) baith (both) day and nicht (night).
According to the book, "the seelie wichts" were not fond of the words "elf" or "fairy".

As well, in folklore, they were extremely dangerous because they were easy to offend, tended to stay offended a very long time (in some cases, generations), and seemed to enjoy causing mischief.

Originally, they were a kind of nature spirit, but during the Middle Ages, were thought to be, variously, fallen angels or the ghosts of unbaptized infants.

In one account I liked, a young brother and sister were playing outside on a Sunday (pagans!), when they saw a troop of small people. When asked who they were, they only replied "Not of the race of Adam!"

*******
On the topic of public works, development and folklore, in Japan, people will go out of their way to re-route roads and build around sacred rocks, sacred trees, and other spiritually important places.
 

skinny

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#26
"Not of the race of Adam!"
A reference to one of CS Lewis' phrases in the chronicles of Narnia perhaps? IMO all the best fantasy fiction has a diminutive sentient species or two. Hard to find a popular series without one.
 

baleeber

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#27
A reference to one of CS Lewis' phrases in the chronicles of Narnia perhaps? IMO all the best fantasy fiction has a diminutive sentient species or two. Hard to find a popular series without one.
I would have to look it up, but I'm certain the account is from long before CS Lewis was born. All the sources in the book are quite old.

Found it at different source:
Interestingly, some sources suggest that with the emigration of the Highlanders, so too came the withdrawal of Scotland’s fairy folk. In the footnotes of his 1851 geological treatise — one of the most unique Scottish fairy sources — Hugh Miller describes what Carole Silver calls ‘The Fairies’ Farewell’:

On a Sabbath morning, nearly sixty ago, the inmates of this little hamlet had all gone to church, all except a herd-boy and a little girl, his sister, who were lounging beside one of the cottages; when, just as the shadow of the garden dial had fallen on the line of noon, they saw a long cavalcade ascending out of the ravine through the wooded hollow. It winded among the knolls and bushes; and, turning round the northern gable of the cottage beside which the sole spectators of the scene were stationed, began to ascend the eminence towards the south. The horses were shaggy, diminutive things, speckled dun and gray; the riders, stunted, misgrown, ugly creatures, attired in antique jerkins of plaid, long gray cloaks, and little red caps, from under which their wild, uncombed locks shot out over their cheeks and foreheads. The boy and his sister stood gazing in utter dismay and astonishment, as rider after rider, each one more uncouth and dwarfish than the one that had preceded it, passed the cottage and disappeared among the brushwood, which at that period covered the hill, until at length the entire rout, except the last rider, who lingered a few yards behind the others, had gone by. ‘What are ye, little mannie? And where are ye going?’ inquired the boy, his curiosity getting the better of his fears and his
prudence. ‘Not of the race of Adam,’ said the creature, turning for a moment in his saddle; ‘the People of Peace shall never more be seen in Scotland.’

Miller’s account, which he claimed to have collected first-hand from the herd-boy in the story, suggests that the fairies decided to leave Scotland at near the start of the nineteenth century.
source:https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/48655/Hight_AM_T_2014.pdf?sequence=1

Not as old as I thought, but written before The Chronicles of Narnia, though Lewis might have been inspired by it.

Even the word "hobbit" goes back to The Denham Tracts of 1859.
 

skinny

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#28
Thanks a lot. Especially the linked PDF. Filed for later reading. The bibliography ought to provide more of interest as well.
 

skinny

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#29
From memory, Lewis used sons of Adam, daughters of Eve. The dwarves of Prince Caspian were not fairies in any sense, but perhaps the dufflepuds of Voyage of the Dawn Treader referenced the grotesques of fairy lore.
 

Brig

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#30
Wow! Talk about response. Thank You All. Kinda late in the day to do any good except to satisfy my own curiosity. I guess I really wasn't that far off base after all. Did seem each group of students had a different idea of faeries. In my brief research into the subject I did discover that fairies were not tiny nor did they have wings until the Victorians started writing and painting them. The Tuatha De Danan were mentioned as the original inhabitants of the British Isles but were supposedly survivors of Atlantis. Were described as slim, small, with red or blonde hair and blue or green eyes. Not so small that they couldn't intermarry larger Celtics or other invaders of the country. Supposedly they had a great knowledge of the uses of herbal medicine which got them classified as magical by later inhabitants. Yet what you describe was also mentioned (fallen angels). But, heh, heh, I still wouldn't know how to draw them to everyones satisfaction. Tinkerbell is cute but definitely not the standard for a (real) fairy. Funny how time can change things so radically. Thanks again.
 
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