The Victorian image of a fairy is a tiny creature, perhaps the size of your palm, with dragonfly-like wings. Unsurprising that a creature that resembles an insect and is only slightly larger than one, then, would frequently find itself caught in a jar like an over sized firefly. It's also a visual pun on the Victorian "fairy light", a candle with a porcelain hood, since fireflies captured in a bottle can be used as a light source.
Fairies in a bottle have many different purposes. They can be used to heal you, grant you wishes and combine their abilities with yours to make you stronger or to grant you powers.
Although she might have been captured for legitimate reasons, far more often the fairy is innocent of wrongdoing, and will reward you for saving them. Although frequently no mention of the reasons or lack thereof will be addressed, as the fairy will be used more like an object or tool rather than a living being.
Because of this abuse from other species especially humans, the tiny fairies may despise humans and distrust them. This view can be changed by a kindly human setting them free, although they may be ostracized from the fae community for their new beliefs.
Fairies in a bottle are much more likely to be female, have an Ambiguous Gender
, or have No Biological Sex
than be male.
Despite fairies being sapient beings, there's almost no squick
factor to this, unlike the one you get from putting human beings in a similar container.
In spite of the trope name, this can apply to fairies in mason jars, glass lanterns, and other small prisons, especially if they are often used for light or catching insects or small animals.
Subtrope to Our Fairies Are Different
. See also Fairy Companion
, Genie in a Bottle
, and The Fair Folk
Not to be confused with the anime Bottle Fairy
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Film - Animated
- In the background of one of the Shrek movies bottled fairies are used for light.
- Captain Hook captures Tinkerbell in a lantern in the Disney adapation of Peter Pan. Although the container is different, the effect is the same.
Film - Live Action
- In the very weird 1909 short film Princess Nicotine, a man smokes a cigar and then falls asleep, whereupon he has a very strange dream in which two fairies appear and cavort around the table for him. One of the fairies gets stuck in a jar temporarily.
- In Neopets there are six types of bottled faeries that, once freed, will bless a pet with an element of their respective type. According to the back story, they are put in the bottles by a faerie hating Lupe named Balthazar.
- Kitschy restaurant chain Cracker Barrel is selling My Pet Fairy with a tiny fairy that actually flutters around inside a mason jar.
- A staple of the The Legend of Zelda series, where a captured fairy in a bottle will restore all your Heart Containers or restore you to life if you die, depending on the game. The fandom has a disturbing tendency to show the fairies as entirely unwilling captives. As does The Wind Waker: Normally fairies are vague balls of light, but in this game they are tiny winged humanoids who look distinctly unhappy when they're bottled up.
- In Star Ocean The Last Hope, you can create one of these for each stat using the game's crafting system. Their only use was synthesizing onto weapons and armor, which made the item much more powerful.
- In Final Fantasy I, a desert caravan has a mysterious bottle for sale. Using the bottle releases the fairy trapped inside it. The fairy helps the party by drawing Oxyale from the spring, which enables underwater breathing.
- In Chrono Cross, you rescue the fairy Razzly from a tiny bird cage. Although the fairies don't like or trust humans, she will join your party in gratitude for saving her.
- The introductory cutscene of Super Mario 3D World sees Bowser stuffing the Sprixie Princess in a bottle.
- In one episode of Samurai Jack, we hear a legend of a fairy can grant any wish, but only one in her entire life. When Jack tries to acquire her so he can go back to the past, his hand ends up trapped in the magic sphere where she was captured and the key to open it was destroyed on the fight with the fairy's captor. Jack uses the wish to set them both free.