Wednesday, April 18, 2012

F: Fair Folk

The Fair Folk are etherial human-like creatures who inhabit the earth. You might know them better as "Fairies", "Fay", "Faeries", or elves. Almost any mythical being with a vaguely human appearance could be considered one of the Fair Folk depending on which folklore or mythology you are following. Most often they are associated with the sorts of beings who live in faeryland: small, flutery things on wings, siren-like queens who entice young men away from their sweethearts, pointed eared beauties, mischevious imps who like to play tricks on people. However, they can also include more obviously dangerous creatures like goblins and trolls.

Even the more beautiful versions of the Fair Folk are more dangerous than benign. Among their most famous exploits is the changling --switching a human child with one of theirs and raising it as a sort of pampered pet while the human's parents are left with a tempormental faery wreaking havoc on their lives. They are also known to entice adults --particularly men--away from their lives with their honeysicle words and wild night dancing. Many of them can change shape and appear to be something harmless until it is too late. The simplest way to keep them from harming you is by keeping a bit of iron on you.

Two of my favorite books involving the Fair Folk:
A Midsummer Night's Dream --by William Shakespeare
Perlious Guard --by Elizabeth Marie Pope

La Belle Dame Sans Merci
--by John Keats

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
Alone and palely loitering;
The sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,
So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel's granary is full,
And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek a fading rose
Fast withereth too.

I met a lady in the meads
Full beautiful, a faery's child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.

I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long;
For sideways would she lean, and sing
A faery's song.

I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look'd at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.

She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna dew;
And sure in language strange she said,
I love thee true.

She took me to her elfin grot,
And there she gaz'd and sighed deep,
And there I shut her wild sad eyes--
So kiss'd to sleep.

And there we slumber'd on the moss,
And there I dream'd, ah woe betide,
The latest dream I ever dream'd
On the cold hill side.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
Who cry'd--"La belle Dame sans merci
Hath thee in thrall!"

I saw their starv'd lips in the gloam
With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke, and found me here
On the cold hill side.

And this is why I sojourn here
Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake,
And no birds sing.


  1. Well, hello Miss F...

    I do have a soft spot for faeries. LOVE Midsummer's Night Dream. I think it was the first Shakespeare play I ever saw performed. It was so incredibly magical.

    I'm reading The Scorpio Races right now, which I think you would really enjoy. It's about water horses. The author makes the legend seem so real you totally buy it.

  2. hmmm . . . Water Horses. It does sound like something I could get into.