Pixies are one of the many mystical creatures originating from Celtic folklore and typically believed to be found in Cornwall. Like many of The Fair Folk, their appearance and behavior can vary between mediums, however, pixies are among the most inconsistently depicted of all.
Common characterizations include:
- Being small in stature. This can vary anywhere between the size of children to being smaller than a human hand. Though one constant is that they are almost always shorter than elves.
- Pointy Ears which is common among fairy races.
- May or may not wear green outfits with pointed hats, like their elfish cousins. Though this is often discarded to avoid confusion.
- Sometimes will possess wings enabling flight.
- While they usually have flesh-colored skin, it's not uncommon for pixies to have more exotic skintones.
- Commonly depicted as loving mischief and sometimes antagonistic. If they're called fairies, then they also count as Fairy Tricksters.
Subtrope of Our Fairies Are Different.
- Tweeny Witches: Piskey fairies are invisible to anyone without a four-leaf clover on the head, and their fangs are used by the witches to cast the hallucination spell. They do good things for good people but tend to play tricks on bad people.
- In Artemis Fowl, pixies have pointed ears but look like young human children so much that small surgical adjustments could allow them to pass as human. They're noted to be far shorter than other Fairy races like elves and are also characterized as being exceptionally intelligent. The main pixie to appear is Opal Koboi, the Big Bad of several books, who is a contender for the World's Smartest Woman of the Fairy race. The Fowl Twins Sequel Series says that pixies from Atlantis have aquamarine skin and elf crossbreeds called pixels exist that combine the pixies' shorter height with the elves' smaller heads.
- Chronicles of the Emerged World: The pixies — folletti, in the original Italian — are diminutive winged humanoids very closely connected to magic and nature, and which make their homes in forests where other races do not go. They're a declining species in the series' time, as the Tyrant has destroyed most of the forests where they live and armies on both sides of the war are in the habit of systematically hunting them to force them to be scouts, jesters or mascots.
- Discworld: The NacMacFeegle. Rowdy, foul of mouth (if anyone can interpret them), drunken, prone to violence and generally a four or five inches tall variant on a theme of the Violent Glaswegian. They tolerate being described as Pictsies, but Gods help anyone who calls them "fairies". Then again, fairies also exist in Terry Pratchett's Elf-realm. They may look like enchanting tiny women with wings — but the Fey are really an insectoid hive-creature akin to hornets and with a taste for meat.
- In Harry Potter, pixies are depicted as winged humanoids that are electric blue in color and fond of mischief. They also don't wear any clothing and appear to be incapable of speech like other magical races.
- In Modern Faerie Tales, Pixies are a group of immortal fae who have a pair of glass-stained wings on their backs. They are known to have abnormal and different then normal-looking skin colors such as green. The Protagonist of two of the books in the trilogy, Kaye Fierch is a pixie herself who ended up in the human realm as a baby after she was swapped with a human child by her faerie parents.
- In October Daye, pixies are human-looking fae with wings who are about four inches tall and were created by Maeve in an attempt to have something to keep her happy. She created them by using drops of her own blood and infusing it into tiny stones which upon coming into contact with the blood, became the eggs of the first Pixies. Pixies have gone on since then to have their own society and customs away from the rest of the human-sized fae.
- The Princess Series: Pixies are depicted as a type of fae which is small and has gossamer wings which give of colored sparks as they beat in a hummingbird-like manner. These wings also have the ability to change color depending on the emotion of the pixie at the time and are magical with the ability to carry twenty times their own weight. They also wear clothes made of flowers and have hair that is in exotic colors such as green.
- The Spiderwick Chronicles: Pixies, also called piskies, are one of the various types of humanoid fairies present in the setting, being diminutive winged humanoids with clothing made out of leaves and seed pods. They range in size from two feet high to the size of a child, separating them from the much smaller brownies, sprites, and stray sods and the taller elves. They're highly mischievous beings, and enjoy playing mean-spirited tricks on humans (such as knotting their hair, or pinching skin black and blue) and making off with small objects. Due to their attraction to humans, they typically live in green areas close to human settlements, such as farmlands, parks, and suburban gardens.
- In Sword Art Online, the world of Alfheim Online features Navigation pixies like Yui, who have the appearance of winged humans and are small enough to perch on one's hand. They also typically wear a flower dress.
- Whateley Universe: The narration refers to anything elvish, tiny, and winged, as pixies, such Absinthe's hobgoblins, and Generator's psychokinetically controlled dolls:
- Absinthe's hobgoblins: As described in Absinthe:
about four inches tall and shaped like a sexy and very naked girl. She had delicate features with pointed ears, and her skin and hair were both green. A faint green glow surrounded her as she hovered in the air, apparently being held aloft by the dragonfly type wings that grew from her back.
- Actual Pixies, as described in Absinthe:
The pixie, like most of her kind, was small and fragile seeming. Because of this, most beings tended to underestimate them, though I had come to appreciate their talents. They were mischievous and playful, which often caused others to think them feeble-minded, but I had found them to be quite clever as well as greatly adept at avoiding attention when they chose. They made for natural scouts, as well as ideal spies and saboteurs. [...] she was clever, insightful, had a sharp tongue, and an almost complete lack of tact.
- Absinthe's hobgoblins: As described in Absinthe:
- The Wishing Chair, by Enid Blyton, has Chinky. He's a traditional pixie in appearance, for the most looking like a smaller elf. He's the size of a small child, dresses in green with a pointy hat. However he lacks the more malicious aspects of pixies, being firmly on the side of good, albeit a bit cheeky at times.
- Changeling: The Dreaming has the Piskie Kith, distinguished by small build, long hair, and pointy ears. They're a Kith known to wander the world, but unlike the Eshu, who tend towards brash stories and great adventures, they're more humble homebodies who don't judge others, aid people in need, and make sure essential things get done. Their one main character flaw is they don't so much "steal" as "pick up things that they may need at some point."
- Dungeons & Dragons has a few creatures which fit the mold, most of them Neutral Good. In 3rd Edition, they're notable for being some of the more practical and interesting choices for a monster Player Character (due to most other playable monsters being massively overpriced and/or only good at hitting things).
- Pixies are child-sized fey, part of a family known as sprites (which also includes the aquatic Nixies and the tiny grasshopper-like Grigs). They have dragonfly wings and a number of magical abilities, including the ability to turn invisible (which doesn't turn off when they attack) and shoot magic arrows which send people to sleep or inflict total amnesia. One in ten pixies has the additional power of compelling other creatures to dance.
- Petals are tiny fey with hair and wings resembling flower petals, who wear leaves as clothing. An individual petal can induce drowsiness by singing, while multiple petals working together can sing people to sleep. They love helping travelers through the forest get a good night's rest... but unfortunately they do this without warning, then leave the sleepers completely unguarded and dressed in unprotective Garden Garments, leaving them vulnerable to predators.
- Thorns are child-sized, green-skinned warriors who serve as defenders of other pixie-like fey. They're a bit closer to the "elf" mold (actual D&D elves are more Tolkienian in style), wearing armor of rubbery leaves and wielding both longbows and distinctive thorned swords. They're capable of performing sneak attacks and using the same sleep arrows as pixies.
- Fairy Meat revolves around an Urban Fantasy world in which fairies — small, androgynous elves with insectile antennae and wings — are very real, springing into life each spring. However, the once peaceful and playful fairies were corrupted by a plague into ravenous sadistic cannibals, and their culture fell apart into roving warbands looking to eat each other. Pixies are a subspecies of fairy.
- Hack Master is home to pixie-fairies, which are a hybrid of pixie and fairy that appear as small, androgynous elves with insectile antennae and wings. These are actually a playable race, and a sourcebook dedicated to them reveals they have their own extensive family of Non-Human Humanoid Hybrid offshoots. The first edition of the game, having been created by the creators of Fairy Meat, incorporates Fairy Meat's fairies into its setting as Carnivorous Fairies, and even makes Merryzot, Fairy Meat's first-ever carnivorous fairy, into an evil pixie-fairy demigod.
- Pathfinder: Pixies are diminutive fairies resembling humanoids with pointed ears, brightly patterned butterfly wings, and skin in a variety of colors — blue and yellow-brown are both known. They're endlessly curious, excitable beings fond of playing tricks and experiencing new things, and tend to speak extremely rapidly. They can coat their arrows with pixie dust, which may cause their targets to fall asleep, become charmed or experience short-termed amnesia. They're a type of sprite, a broad family of tiny, winged fairy that also includes sprites proper and the insect-bodied grigs.
- Shadowrun: Pixies are a type of magical creature of unknown origins, as they're too physical to be spirits but can't be traced back to magically awakened animals or humans. They resemble miniature winged elves about half a meter tall; their wings are usually those of dragonflies, but can also resemble those of grasshoppers, butterflies, birds and bats. Regardless of their wings' nature, their flight is strictly magic-based. They typically live well away from cities, preferring to live in treehouse villages within forests; they're also rumored to have larger underground settlements, connected to their treehouses by tunnels within their trees. Most live in the Brocéliande Forest, an area in France home to and ruled by paranormal entities, but many are found in the elven nations of Tir Tairngire, Tir na nÓg and Pomoria, and in the Black Forest Troll Republic.
- The Small Folk: All the Small Folk fit the trope definition, but one of the "cliques" actually call themselves Pixies. All the cliques parody human subcultures; theirs is the "crusty" radical environmentalist movement.
- Digimon: Piximon is a small, round, pink Digimon with a pair of tattered, insect-like wings. It can perform magic — which, as with other magic-using Digimon, is explained as it using an extremely advanced programming language to modify the Digital World — and wields a spear named Fairy Tale.
- Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers introduces fae folk in the region of Il Mheg, including the Pixies, mischievous sprites that like to play games and pranks with any mortals that cross their path.
- In Monster Rancher, pixies are regular sized human women in fur bikinis with horns, leathery wings, and a devil tail. Different pixie subspecies may wear different things and have different features, and one species in 3 even appears to be male, but they all still take the form of a winged humanoid.
- Sable's Grimoire: Pixies are a One-Gender Race who need human males to reproduce. Helping with that, they have magic to grow to human size.
- In Shin Megami Tensei, Pixie is a tiny humanoid with wings. She's usually one of the weakest and earliest demons you can encounter. In many games with demon negotiation system, the tutorial often includes trying to recruit a Pixie. In some games, she can be evolved into a High Pixie, a stronger demon.
- In ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal, pixies as a common pest and the object of a lengthy Collection Sidequest. Pixies are small humanoid creatures with animal-like intellect and an annoying laugh, and although completely harmless, most residents of Zanzarah are scared witless of them. Early in the game, an aging pixie hunter tells the Player Character Amy that about 30 of them escaped captivity recently and tasks her with re-apprehending them for a bunch of rewards.
- My Roommate Is an Elf features a pixie named Flint. He's very small and from a distance resembles a glowing shape with wings. Griswold, the elf, rescued him some time before the comic began and is very protective of him, threatening Dearg after Dearg tried to eat him.
- In The Fairly OddParents!, pixies wear grey business suits and pointy hats, have square shaped wings, use magic phones rather than wands, and love all things dull and boring. These pixies are also fully antagonistic, constantly trying to take over Fairy World and turn all its fairy citizens into pixies.
- In Winx Club, pixies serve as the titular Winx Club's companions. They are inhabitants of the magical dimension and are ridiculously cute small winged creatures who have fairly large heads in comparison to their baby-like bodies. They are able to bond with fairies in order to help them in their quest to become fully successful.