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Folklore

Folklore

When I meet new people at my book signings, workshops and events, the one question everyone always seems to want to ask me is, ‘Do you believe in faeries?’

My answer is always the same, and I say it with a shocked expression as though I’m amazed that they wouldn’t naturally know the answer. ‘Of course, I absolutely do.’ I would hardly have written a collection of books on the subject if I didn’t!

Over the years, from being a little girl, right up to present day, I have had numerous supernatural experiences which have led me to my own personal conclusion that faeries are every bit as real as the birds in the sky. They are an integral part of nature and they maintain the day to day order and balance of our planet.

In the story, ‘Peter Pan,’ J. M. Barrie used a famous quote that stated:

‘Every time you say you don’t believe in fairies, a fairy dies.’

Well, I don’t think that the truth is that extreme, but I do think that in recent years faeries have simply got fed up of the human race and our pig-headedness. I think somewhere along the line they decided it was better if they left us to it, and now they very rarely allow themselves to be seen by us, let alone choose to interact with us. Only the very lucky can spot a faery nowadays and gaining communication with the Faery Realm is a tricky business. I never said impossible though. If you really want to work with faeries for all the right reasons, then they will pick up on these vibes and they will become interested and curious about you.

Once you start delving into the history books and studying the world of faery, you will find that there’s a wealth of information on the topic, dating way back and all pointing towards the evidence that faeries definitely do exist. These creatures have been a part of our culture for as long as humans have had the ability to write facts down. Every country in the world seems to have their own versions of folktales which they pass on from generation to generation, all featuring faery-type beings of some sort. From England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, right through to Africa, India, Scandinavia, Russia and Native American reservations.

As children we were immersed in the telling of traditional fairytales which featured an array of both good and bad fairy characters. And depending on your age, these go hand in hand with the wonderful Walt Disney who brought these stories to life through an additional world of colourful, uplifting movies. Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pinnochio, Peter Pan, to name but a few.

Tales of Arthurian Legend feature the powerful faery, Morgan Le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, who appeared from out of the water and took back King Arthur’s sword. She is said to have been taught by the great wizard Merlin, himself.

William Shakespeare, the most famous playwright of all time, wrote about faeries and witches in abundance throughout the Elizabethan age. ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ featuring Puck, Oberon and Titania is still performed as much on stage today as it was many hundreds of years ago.

Did you also know that there is actually an ancient law stating that it was a capital offence to kill a faery? King Henry III passed this law in 1153. It stated that even just causing injury to a faery was punishable by the death penalty.

This tells us two very important things about faeries at this time:
1) They were obviously held in very high esteem, even by royalty!
2) People clearly had no doubts as to whether or not they actually existed.

Looking through historical documents, it seems to have been a given fact that at least until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, faeries were accepted as a natural occurrence. Even in the 1700s, church records kept by priests of the time, openly discuss sightings of them. There are also reports of old court trials containing references of the defendant being guilty of cavorting with faeries.

Just for the record, Henry’s law above has never been repealed.

More recently a huge debate ensued over the famous ‘Case of the Cottingley Fairies.’ In 1917, Elsie Wright and her cousin Frances Griffiths, claimed to have seen faeries at their countryside home in Cottingley, Yorskshire, which is not far from where I live. Photographs they had taken of these supposed encounters were published in magazines and even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, proclaimed his belief in them. Many people like him – huge respected thinkers of the time – came out and admitted they had always thought faeries existed. There was also a lot of backlash from sceptics too of course, and many years later the girls owned up to having faked ‘some’ of the photographs. Strangely though, they never admitted faking them all, which seems an odd thing to do if they had decided to come out and tell the truth. What do you think? It’s a fascinating story and well worth researching if you’re interested.

Today there are many places where the local community feel that faeries are alive and well and living among them. Many say that beneath Glastonbury Tor, a whole other faery world exists and there have been many sightings in this magical area. Every year faery festivals and balls take place at Glastonbury and there is even a museum devoted to all things faery.

Stonehenge, Cornwall, Land’s End, The Isles of Scilly all come with their own cases of faery sightings and proposed faery dwellings.

In Scotland there is a place called Findhorn where the residents found that they could grow exceptionally wonderful plants in barren soil. A lady called Dorothy Maclean believed that this was down to ‘nature spirits’ communicating with her and helping with the cultivation of the land. She has written a book about her experiences at Findhorn and today it attracts many spiritually minded people to visit the location and see the wonders for themselves.

And of course, don’t forget about Steeple.

Steeple Village and the surrounding areas are home to a thriving faery kingdom, especially now the Quartz Princess has returned to the throne.

Let’s just hope Sulphur isn’t intent on spoiling that …

Copyright © 2017 Melanie J Firth