How Should I Behave Among Fairies?

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how should i behave fairies
It is a beautiful cool evening and you are walking along the way when you hear the peculiar jangling of fairy music and you turn to see, to your amazement, a group of twenty fairies dancing in a circle around a large toadstool. What do you do? Well, it used to be said that it was bad luck to see the fairies before they saw you. As extremely private creatures they resent being ‘spied’ upon and do not hesitate to punish those who were ‘nosey’ about their world: not for nothing they are called the secret people and in faery curiosity really does kill the cat. You should probably then take a deep breath, enjoy the sight and walk quickly on…

fairies and sleep

Of course, fairies may take it upon themselves to come into your life and your house. Even then, though, their desire for secrecy remains. For example, fairies used to give money to their favourites, but if the lucky recipient was foolish enough to mouth the fairies’ generosity around they would stop their dole payments. Some fairies, particularly brownies, are so generous with their time that they actually help around the house. However, again, they would only do work once the household had gone to sleep and they were furious if it transpired that human eyes had been upon them without their permission.

fairies and sleep 2

Fairies are also sensitive about things that might seem obvious, because they are courtesies that we would extend to any human being. For example, if you leave fairies food or drink, make sure that the water is clean and the food is wholesome. A little stale bread will not cause offence, cheese crawling with maggots will bring the wrath of the fey upon you… Fairies like things to be clean as well: pixies were sometimes credited with pinching housewives who left the kitchen in a shameful state. They also particularly resented rubbish being thrown on their heads: in days gone by when ‘slops’ were disposed of out of the window at night this was a real danger.

mad fairy dance

Traditional storytellers had one great concern, that fairies would capture or take individuals away with them. If that should happen, then, the individual in question faced a stark choice. If he or she played by the fairies rules then they would be their prisoner for a time or perhaps for ever. If, instead, they followed the rules below then they might get home by morning. First, a fairy prisoner should never dance with a fairy. W.B.Yeats records one poor woman who made that mistake and returned home a year later without any toes. She’d danced them off… The image below comes, instead, from nineteenth-century Wales.

fairy and food

Second, don’t ever take food or drink from the fairies and that includes fruit hanging from their trees and water running in their streams. As with all supernatural creatures the act of drinking or eating their foods means that you become their prisoner… If a cup of wine is pushed in your direction follow the sensible advice of the best fairy book heroes and pretend to drink it dropping it down your front, instead.

fairy food

Third, don’t get romantically involved with a fairy. Tradition claims that fairies deliberately brought humans into their realms who they wanted to seduce or marry: these relationships never ended well and the kids need lots of counselling…


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