THE FOLKLORE OF FAERIES
In European tales the world of fairies is strange and secretive and is rarely glimpsed by humans. Occasionally a lone traveller would hear eerie sounds of jingling bells or unearthly music and discover the solemn procession of a fairy funeral, the bustle and clatter of a fairy war rade or the enchanting madness of a circle of dancing fairies.
Sometimes those with an unusual talent for playing beautiful flute music or possessing a wonderfully clear singing voice would unwittingly attract the notice of the fairies and draw them to their side in admiration. Some have heard fairy music floating through the woods and have successfully joined in, weaving musical strains in harmony with the tunes of the fae or simply delighting them with never-before heard melodies.
There are many stories of extravagant rewards being bestowed for the simple gift of delighting faeries, but there are many more tales of wayward humans evoking the wrath and ire of the irascible, unknowable fae folk.
DANCES AND RINGS
It is widely known that it is perilous to set foot inside a faerie ring - the circle of mushrooms or toadstools left by faerie dances. To enter the realm of faerie is to depart from the mortal realm.
Humans who have joined faerie dances have found there that matter is transient, illusion can be made real, and time does not flow in the way it does for humans. Some wandering folk who have been swept up into faerie celebrations have never been seen again. Others who have been pulled out or finally released insist that they have only been dancing with the faeries for a few minutes, when in fact they have been gone for decades.
PARADES AND PROCESSIONS
Errol Le Cain - Artist
The grand courtly processions of the fae would feature the Queen and King and all their entourage dressed in their finest garb. The Royal Court would be attended by an often unruly rabble of little creatures ranging from laughing, childlike cherubs and naughty winged imps to gnarled goblins and ethereal elementals.
Spying on the fae creatures in their revelries was considered very hazardous to humans. There are tales of humans who have been captured, enslaved or sent mad by their intrusions into faerie doings. Those who have foolishly eaten from their feasts have fallen under spells of forgetfulness, or awoken to discover that the glamoured delicacies they had greedily enjoyed where nothing more than dirt, beetles and worms.
Faeries would sometimes arrange chaotic war parties where they would do battle with spiders, bats or birds, armed with sticks and thorns. Faeries also had a fascination with human children and would occasionally raid a home a snatch an infant from its crib, replacing it with a grotesque or deformed approximation of the child - a faerie 'changeling'. The human child would be carried off and swept away with faeries.