Someone asked me if the faeries are basically all the same.
The resounding answer is, “No.”
They are very different kinds of beings, and different kinds may have starkly different ancestry.
Here’s my email about this:
There are many words that categorize the beings who are able to readily move between the worlds: fae folk, faeries, fairies, the good folk, Daoine Sidhe (said “DEE-neh shee” or “DAY-nah shee”), and more.
(In parts of Ireland, some of those words also specifically refer to one kind of “faerie.”)
People can call them all “fae” or “faeries,” and it’s sort of like saying “humans.”
If someone takes it a step further and insists that the fae folk are interchangeable, they’re mistaken.
Leprechauns and banshees and so on, are all very distinct and different kinds of beings. They may all be members/descendants of the Tuatha de Danann, according to some legends, but they’re all very different beings.
(Personally, I’m not convinced that they’re all members of the TDD [Tuatha de Danann].)
There is one exception: Leprechauns may be the same beings as cluricauns. They’re among the “little people,” and they are the only ones known to actually look industrious.
Leprechauns make the shoes for the fae folk, and sometimes make clothing.
(The Bean Tighe, the “little woman of the hearth” or “our housekeeper” is also known to be industrious, but she’s rarely seen doing any work. The leprechaun is actually heard–and sometimes seen–tapping nails into little shoes.)
The cluricauns may be what leprechauns are called in the evening hours… and they only live where there’s a good wine cellar, or at least some good wine.
For amusement, they tend to ride small animals (including cats & dogs) around the house/apartment, as if they’re horses. Pets don’t like this much, after awhile.
In some parts of Ireland, the traditions clearly state that cluricauns and leprechauns are the same beings. And there certainly seem to be plenty of them, although disbelief and a fear of humans makes them harder to find in recent years.
Both leprechauns and cluricauns are small (aka “little people”), usually wear clothing of fine materials & tailoring (if old and shabby now), and they often have a pipe clenched in their teeth. The pipe is never lit; fae folk generally hate smoke.
Continued in Elves, gnomes and faeries