Main The Fair Folk Discussion

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02:21:28 PM Oct 3rd 2014
Describing it as a "real life" example might be pushing it a bit, but I think the sad fate of Bridget Cleary should be mentioned somewhere; an Irish peasant woman, she was beaten to death by her husband on the assumption that she had been replaced by a fairy changeling.
01:27:10 PM Jul 17th 2013
Ironically the Hebrew "Shade" I would consider the ideal translation for Wraith, as in the Ring Wraiths.
08:02:28 AM Feb 26th 2013
Removed some examples for shoehorning:
  • Two Medieval accounts mention a pair of green children who showed up in the English town of Woolpit in the 12th century. They claimed to be from "Saint Martin's Land", an underground world.
There is no apparent connection to The Fair Folk.
  • The classic "The Elves And The Shoemaker" features a couple of the Fair Folk being helpful, until the shoemaker and his wife leave them new clothes in gratitude. In a benevolent response, all the elves do is go away forever; it could have been much worse for the shoemaker if they'd decided to take offense. The behavior of the little men is more in keeping with the German house-elf than with any other type of the Fair Folk, and considering that the story was first collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, that's the most likely reason for their kindness.
In other words, they aren't The Fair Folk.
  • In an Older Than Print example from ancient Celtic Mythology you have the Aes Sidhe and their subculture the Tuatha De Danaan. The original Fair Folk, these guys were brutal and unrelenting. You did not want to piss these guys off under any circumstance.
The Tuatha De Danaan were no more "brutal and unrelenting" than humans. Not enough to be The Fair Folk.
06:06:00 AM Jun 18th 2013
but the Aos Si were explicitly called the Fair Folk, and carried much of their characteristics and were considered unrelenting and brutal.
12:46:51 PM Jun 18th 2013
I am not sure whether the phrase "these guys were brutal and unrelenting" in the above example refers to the Tuatha De Dannan or the Aos Sidhe. It could mean both. I took it as referring to the Tuatha De Danann. But if you read Irish Mythology, the Tuatha De are no more 'brutal and unrelenting' than the Fir Bolg, the Fomor, or even the Milesians. In fact, many peoples or races in real-life or fiction can be described as "brutal and unrelenting", so whether you take "brutal and unrelenting" as referring to the Tuatha De or the Aos Sidhe, it remains a Zero-Context Example.
09:55:43 AM Jan 15th 2013
Can I just say the name The Fair Folk cofuses the hell out of me and the description is so long that I can't read it. This is coming from a guy that launched a YKTTW and has two more almost ready to go. Do we really need examples of The Fair Folk in the description? Shouldn't that go in mythology?
04:38:41 AM Feb 13th 2013
Ummm... The Fair Folk is the most common taboo name (because they were easily offended and could appear) for old fashioned fairies in English speaking countries. I agree that the description got a bit long and maybe could use a cleanup (by native English speakers preferably) but overall quite clear in my opinion.
07:45:23 PM Feb 13th 2013
The "Fair Folk" sounds like something you would call an elf that doesn't want to eat you.
01:53:35 AM Feb 14th 2013
"The Fair Folk" is what they've always been referred to as, to my knowledge. It may be the source of the word fairy itself. Calling them the Fair Folk means they won't be offended (it's not a derogatory name), they aren't going to come find you (it is said that they can if you speak their actual names), and is what is done by those who believe they exist (who are around, but are rare). It does bring up the question of their morality, of course, but maybe the idea is that they are either fair on a different level than humans or that it's fair as in beautiful.


As for the description, it is long and some of it should probably be moved to Analysis/. I'll see about doing so at some point; currently, I'm making a sandbox for it.
05:49:50 AM Feb 14th 2013
Sounds good.
03:38:51 AM Feb 15th 2013
Split complete.
07:29:04 PM Feb 17th 2013
08:11:51 AM Jan 8th 2013
What is there to this? A memory of time when humans were not the top predator>? Attempts to make sense out of a chaotic world-by assuring ourselves that it is Otherworld that is chaotic. I know every culture seems to have some variation of fair folk. I also know that if you look into the forest while camping at night you can start to believe in spooks(I know, I only frightened myself enough for it to be fun; disbelief is fortunately habitual).

Another thing to wonder is what if all this is Your Mind Makes It Real? Imagine if modern folk widely believed in The Fair Folk. Seriously believed, the way we do in technology. Not believed in by eccentrics, willingly suspended for fun or used(as I have done several times) as a philosophical demonstration of the difference between disproof and unfashionability and of the fallacy of chronological snobbery. Really believed in Fair Folk. Surely we would take precautions to avoid offending them. Unexplained things would be attributed to them. A number of people would go insane through fear which would also be credited to them. And so on. At first glance it would seem we couldn't stand it, but we learned to endure the dangers of motor traffic. And our ancestors seem to have endured believing in The Fair Folk.
08:32:52 AM Jan 8th 2013
I remember a Hmong I used to know. A very brave and honorable Real Life Proud Warrior Race guy; and more honorable because he was sane enough to transplant his life into peaceful life in a strange culture. But anyway he was absolutely horrified at the idea of using pre-christian tropes as fantasy. He had grown up in a place where something like The Fair Folk had been a real part of his existence and having once ditched the belief he didn't want it back.
09:29:54 AM Jan 5th 2013
Are there any literary examples of the overcute fairies everyone hates? Most of the stories I've read have made Fair Folk mysterious and rather scary, even in Victorian folklore collections. They might dumb down the scaryness and mystery but it always seemed to be there. I never remember reading about dragonfly-winged, safe-and-cuddly ones very often.
12:07:29 AM Feb 19th 2013
edited by Cider
Flower Fairies? Granted even those are not always well behaved but they are mostly harmless I think.
08:23:26 AM Jan 5th 2013
Aren't their lots of stories about humans exploiting fairies, kidnapping them when their powers are weak, and making them grant us wishes? Maybe WE are The Fair Folk from the point of view of The Fair Folk?
08:27:44 AM Jan 5th 2013
Could be there is the trope Humans Are the Real Monsters (and also Humans Are Cthulhu).
06:52:17 PM May 25th 2012
edited by captainsandwich
Armies aren't the only reason faeries take changelings. but what folklore is the armies variation from? also what are the armies used for? my regrettably small (and probably inaccurate) knowledge of gaelic folklore would indicate that human armies living Land of Faerie in would be quite difficult to use (unless they are intended in the Land of Faerie) due to Food Chains and how the Year Outside, Hour Inside effects how much you need to eat when you cross back into the normal world.
06:44:04 PM Apr 22nd 2012
edited by captainsandwich
Anyone else think the word fairy comes from the term Fair Folk?
04:46:35 PM Nov 8th 2012
No shit, Sherlock.
08:54:31 PM Apr 18th 2011
I'm confused, is this about elves or fairies? It uses both to get the point across, while only specifically being one thing. Then again, is it about the said species being "Bad", or bad fairies as a species? Or just the history of fairies in works?
07:21:08 AM May 25th 2011
edited by Malitia
The answer is BOTH. This trope is about the old traditional view of "fairies". And "fairy" was originally a much broader category: goblins, elves, pixies etc. were all considered fairies, and they weren't always (well mostly) nice. Most old fairy folklore is about how to keep them away, because they were considered dangerous. Not necessarily good or bad but alien, something that doesn't understand humans and isn't really understandable BY humans.
05:04:47 PM Oct 22nd 2011
The one thing that bothers me about this trope is not about the Alien mentality or the danger they represent, even when used in shallow deconstruction.

It's their invincibility.

all the works that tend to use them put them in another realm, capable of abusing humanity left and right without repercussion (Dresden Files being the most offensive) and the best heroes only managing to outwit them temporarely.

Why this bother me?

Because we had shown to mess with the rest of Supernatural creatures, down to the Gods and God itself. Yet every time the Fair Folk or sidhe appears, they are the ones messing with other people, never the other way around.

Even in modern setting, they can addapt with offensive ease and destroy technology at will while the opposite is impossible.

This veneration to this abomination (when exist the Trope of Lovecraft Lite) is quite vexin, mainly because is so universal in fiction.
12:17:21 AM Dec 8th 2011
This is about Fairies, though early modernization of "Pagan" lore grouped elves with faeries, which is where all of that confusion came from. Elves came from Norse mythology, unlike Fair Folk of Celtic, Gaelic, and so on. Elves were not in this category in Norse mythology, they were indifferent about humanity at worst, and the Nordic versions of Angels at best. Note that the Norse also had the dark elves, which should be noted are actually grounded in mythology, and not just the invention of Gary Gygax or Ed Greenwood... though half of what I've found on them says that they're dwarves (as we think of dwarves as dwarves, more or less) and the other half of it says that they're something akin to gremlins.
06:15:48 PM May 25th 2012
edited by captainsandwich
My understanding is that faeries were to some extent gods of nature (on small scale). So a faerie could be the god of one pond, or a group of trees or even a small area. Also some Fairies are known to be helpful under some circumstances. Here is a shortened version of a fairy tale i heard. So this human sees faeries dancing, and faerie queen (this was an irish story) lost something. The guy found the item. Now the Fairies in this story were known to be dangerous. Anyways the guy returned the item to the faerie queen and the faeries thanked him and offered to give him something in return. He was interested in the dancing they were doing (humans didn't have dance yet). So she taught him to dance and then the queen ordered him to teach dancing to other humans. The guy was cautious and hesitant in returning the item, because the faeries are dangerous. I would consider this close enough to for the folklore's faeries to be classified as fair folk because in this story faeries are strange and dangerous, even if they are nice enough to give you an intangible gift in gratitude and then say that you have to share it with the your species (with what I assume was an unsaid 'or else').
06:40:15 AM Jun 12th 2010
edited by TheOneWhoTropes
Would "For other races seeing humanity as this, see Humans Are Cthulhu" be a good thing to add? I was wondering as that, because we are mentioned on Our Elves Are Better (no neanderthals around, nowadays!)

This trope is mentioned on the page I mentioned, so I think it would be a good corollary.
08:48:54 PM Apr 18th 2011
edited by Phenolatukas
It's more about "evil whatever" as a species, than an opinion. Then again, I can't tell what this trope wants to be exactly.
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