Mythology is not a stagnant thing. It grows and adapts with society. The Folk Tale Fairy is the result of the diminishing of the Faery Lineage from the great Tuatha De Danann to the Jacobean Fairy. In time, the Jacobean Fairy also changed, becoming the Flower Fairy and the Folk Tale Fairy. Both of these forms have endured into the modern age, but the Folk Tale Fairy evolved into something unique.
Literature and the Folk Tale Fairy
In the 18th century, the world of literature expanded. For the first time in Europe, books were written specifically for children. All manner of creatures, both good and evil, were pull from various mythologies to be adapted to suit children’s stories. From Irish mythology, the Folk Tale Fairy was born.
A great effort was made to ensure the children of the 18th century were taught proper morality. The literature of the time was used to do this, wherever possible. Fairies took on a new form — they became guardians and guides, relentless moralists who were intent on always driving their wards towards virtue.
Out of these tales the Fairy Godmother was born. Writers and poets embraced this new form, turning tale upon tale for the benefit of children.
The Nature of the Folk Tale Fairy
The Folk Tale Fairy didn’t have a single, standard appearance. These fairies could be as tiny as the Flower Fairy, quietly nudging their protégés with careful whispers, heard but not always seen. Folk Tale Fairies could also be larger, sometimes as large as humans. There was no rule.
Regardless of size, Folk Tale Fairies almost always took a direct interest in a specific individual, such as the literary Cinderella. They would hint and prod this individual onto the proper course, but they would never force. It simply wasn’t in their nature.
The Folk Tale Fairy was a gentle and persistent guide, always seeking the path of virtue. This image has endured into the modern era and continues to have a place in popular mythology. The picture of the Fairy Godmother has become ingrained in the minds of the populace, and will likely remain there for some time.
Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.