Continued from Different kinds of faeries

Toadstools - evidence of faeries?The “little people” might not be from the Tuatha de Danann, but they may be beings that were in Ireland before the TDD arrived. Some speculate that their size suggests they’re of the Fir Bolg. Some say that these are the beings who inhabited Earth, even before humans were here.

(For more info about the Tuatha de Danann and the Fir Bolg, start with my short history of Ireland.)

Elves are also “little people,” but in Ireland this word is usually used to mean any small, non-winged faerie. There is no clear word for “gnome” in Irish, so elf is used to mean them, too.

Classic elves are small, often wear a red cap, and they are rarely seen. They live under the roots of trees, and prefer tangled roots. They think the roots weave pretty designs in the soil.

Classic elves protect wild animals, and these elves are what you’ll “sense” (but you won’t see) when you’re walking in the woods. Your best chance to see them is to purposely not look straight at where you hear a rustling. You may then see them out of the corner of your eye.

(If you sense something much larger, you’re near the “Green Man,” which is a very different resident of the fae world.)

Irish elves, like most Irish faeries, are almost always kindly beings, if mischievous.

This is where the etymology gets confusing: The word, elf, seems to have a Teutonic/Scandinavian background, related to words such as aelf and ylf. In the Scandinavian tradition, elves are “dark” or “light,” referring to whether they’re kind or malicious.In Scotland, where there are gnomes as there are in Scandinavia, their faeries are usually from the Seelie or Unseelie Courts, which also denote temperament, good or bad.

However, the Irish, who use the Teutonic/Scandinavian word “elf,” don’t draw lines between good and bad faeries. In fact, the only “bad” (malicious) faeries in Ireland are usually the ones who came to Northern Ireland from Scotland, with a clear Scots-Irish history.

Banshees, aka Bean Sidhe, are definitely from the Tuatha de Danann, and they’re usually full-sized women. They are NOT always dressed in white. (That misconception started when people mistakenly translated Bean Sidhe with the word “ban” [Irish for “white”] instead of “bean,” which means woman.) They protect a particular family. There are many of them, although they’re rarely seen together; usually it’s just one at a time. (If you see a cluster of them, it usually foretells the death or serious illness of a holy man or political leader.)

But the Bean Sidhe (banshee) and other fae folk are numerous, very different from one another, and their names cannot be used interchangeably.

 

9 Responses to Elves, gnomes and faeries

  1. Bekee says:

    hello fiona,
    is it true that faeries cant lie…that if a human consumes faery food that human food will no longer satisfy them…that faeries like to chase humans…that faeries can appear invisible and conseal themselves with glamour…that they can communicate through humans.
    im not sure about any of this so i thought i should ask you because you have more experience.
    i have gotten these through books and websites and i am aware that not everything shown on the internet is 100% accurate or real at all, but ive learnt that you need to look around and find your own truth
    i would love your insight and anyone else who knows anything.
    thankyou,
    Bekee

  2. Danny says:

    When mankind stops using their hearts as weapons instead of gifts they’ll find what they’re looking for…Iwished for the magic to be brought up, was granted three wishes on Mother’s Day 2 yrs ago…can see what may be and a place of magic called the three ridges…also know where the magic is hidden. Write to me if you wil love light Arcs and Ddarr Danny girl

  3. Ritsu says:

    Just feels weird to lie but if necessary though it is difficult when you think the truth, usually other way around, Yes because it is so fun, Yes but it is not universal, pretty easy to do and to influence humans, even humans can achieve that depending on the strength of their will.

  4. Tricia says:

    Bekee,
    In my experience, I’ve noticed Fae have trouble lying yes. Though, if trying to protect someone dear to them, it takes every ounce of them to do so, but they can. Not sure if that helps.

  5. Gnomes may be blushers.

  6. Vanille says:

    i think i might be related to the unseelie D:

  7. Vanille says:

    bekee yes it’s all true

  8. ᚨᚲᚻᛖᚱᛟᚾ says:

    Bekka,

    Of course faeries can lie. Anything can lie, if it sets its mind to it. Faeries are, however, not partial to lying, and rather enjoy twisting words and lying but omission as opposed to telling literal untruths. They think it’s more fun that way.

  9. Mary says:

    Bekee, actually, faeries can lie. I’m the proof – I’m half fae (my father was an angel, long story). But after I died, I was reincarnated into the body of a human girl, and that pattern has been going on for nearly eight hundred years…dying, being reincarnated, dying, and on and on (as far as I can tell, my incarnations have all been women descended from the Welsh/Scottish Padraag clan, but I can’t remember much before this life.

    My mother was an elf, half nickar (storm elf) and half leanan sidhe (pronounced long Ann she, which can feed off creativity). And yeah, Mom can lie. As can my dad. So yeah, we can lie.

    But here’s how things work in fae culture: you make a promise, sign a contract, agree to anything, you’re bound to that, no matter what. And the other person can twist, manipulate, and interpret your words however they want. There are sometimes wars fought over ‘small favors.’

    Also, don’t ever say thank you to someone there (I for one think you humans were freaking geniuses coming up with this ‘thank you’ thing, but that’s faeries for you). It’s like admitting you owe someone. And when you owe a debt, you have to repay it.

    So faeries are really manipulative. Not sure where this ‘we can’t lie’ crap came from.

    Also, most elves are actually taller than average, skinny, pale-skinned, pointy-eared, and good-looking. Not short

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