The term fairy usually apply to four kind of entities :
- Enchanters and enchantresses with supernatural powers.
- Certain monsters and demons having a connection with fairies and/or having some of the characteristics of fairies. (See the origin of Fairies)
- Nature fairies: Faeries were believed to be some of the spirits which populate all places and objects on Earth. The nature fairies are mermaids, water-spirits, tree-spirits and such.·
- Faerie people (mainly the subject of this section) or the true Fairy, or Elfin race.
Faerie people, according to the Scoto-Celtic belief, are a race of beings, the counterparts of mankind in person, occupations, and pleasures, but unsubstantial and unreal, ordinarily invisible, noiseless in their motions, and having their dwellings underground, in hills and green mounds of rock or earth. They are usually diminutive, often very small but sometimes pygmy like. They can become invisible at will, often by putting on a magical cap.
Their preferred colour is green, not only for dress but sometimes for skin and hair as well; at other times they may favour the palest of whites or the bloodiest of red.
Faeries are usually considered harmless. They delight in playing pranks; milking cows in the fields, soiling clothes on the line, appropriating food, curdling milk. Some fairies are even seen as benevolent, taking money or food to give to the poor, providing toys for children, or counteracting the spells cast by witches.
They are addicted to visiting the haunts of men, sometimes to give assistance, but more frequently to take away the benefit of their goods and labours, and sometimes even their persons. They may not be present in any company, though mortals do not see them. Their interference is never productive of good in the end, and may prove destructive. Men cannot therefore be sufficiently on their guard against them. If affronted, a fairy will retaliate with resolute vengeance; common fairy punishments are burning houses and despoiling crops.
Hundreds of different creatures are regrouped under the umbrella term ‘fairy’. They can be found on Monstropedia, the ultimate encyclopedia about monsters.