Hey guys! Did you know the idea of fairies having wings did not really come around until Victorian times?
In some parts of Ireland and Scotland, fairy culture stick exists today, and it is likely not what you expect. Most are not dazzlingly beautiful; in fact, most are downright scary.
In Ireland and Scotland, “Fairy” is basically a category for a type of mythological creature. For example, a banshee and a brownie(the creature, not the yummy baked goods) are both types of fairies.
Within the category of fairies, there are also two more categories; the Seelie Court, and the Unseelie Court. Those in the Unseelie court are those likely to do evil, and those in the Seelie court are those likely to do good. However, even those in the Seelie court can do mischief, and can harm you if you insult them.
First, I am going to talk about the Unseelie court, because this is where people are normally the most surprised when they research fairies. Most people today picture a tiny person with wings when someone says “fairy” but the truth is very different; especially in the Unseelie court.
The Unseelie court is home of evil creatures like a Kelpie -a horse creature that tricks people into coming near the water or riding it, then it drowns and eat them- or the Nuckelavee, a creature that is half-horse, half man, that has no skin and can kill a whole field of crops(and people) with just its breath.
Those in the Unseelie court are not trooping fairies(a type of fairy that likes to travel together) so are most often encountered in mythology individually.
Fairies actually have several different names, including several alternative spellings to “fairy,” and also fae, people of the mounds, wee folk, little folk, fair folk, and also a few names in Gaelic. Supposedly, however, the only name they liked to be called was “fair folk.”
A fairy doctor is someone who has been the the fairy realm and survived and has fairy sight, and it is his job to cure “fairy struck” people(people under a spell) or to tell if a child is a changeling(a fairy in hiding). Supposedly, many children have been killed at the hands of fairy doctors when they are announced as changelings.
One last interesting fact is that fairies are allergic to iron, so this could very well be where the tradition of putting a horseshoe above your door for good luck came from.
Just for a recap:
- Unseelie Court– Fairies likely to do evil.
- Seelie Court – Fairies likely to do good.
- Fairy Doctor – Someone who can help people under spells, or tell if a child is a changling.
- Fairy Struck – Someone under a fairy spell.
- Changeling – A fairy pretending to be your baby.
- Fairy – A category for mythological creatures.
Different Names for Fairies:
- aos sí(pronunciation: ”ees shee“ means “People of the Mounds”)
- aes sídhe (pronunciation: ”ays sheeth-uh”)
- daoine sìth
- Fairy, Fairies, Fae, Faerie, Faery, Fay, Faie, Faierie, Fayerye
- Wee Folk
- Fair Folk
- The Folk
- Good Folk