There are as many types of fairies as there are countries that claim to have them.
Within the countries are regions, within those are towns and villages, and within those, there are specific fairies related to specific plants, wooded areas, streams, and even families.
There are some general fairy types and we will cover a few. You might be surprised by what actually constitutes a fairy!
The Various Types of Fairies
Some of the most common storybook fairies look like Disney’s Tinkerbelle or the common pixie fairy. Some are almost 4 feet in height and have pixie features, while some look very human-like.
Other fairy folks can look almost like gnomes, and not all fairies have wings. Some can have almost sinister qualities, but these beings stem from folklore designed to keep children safe, such as the Celtic Afanc, a welsh water demon fairy who is said to live at the bottom of a haunted–and very deep–lake. No doubt the legend about Celtic Afanc will grab you and pull you down to a watery depth was designed to keep small children from venturing near the edge of a body of water.
The willow fairy is often associated with the swamp gases thought to have originated with the “will ‘o the wisp” legend, luring followers of the bouncing light deep into the swamps and woods.
Other fairies associated with naturally occurring phenomena are rainbow fairies, which paint the colors of the rainbow and make sure that the end never actually touches the ground, a testament to their mischievous ways.
Fire fairies are made up of sprites or elementals and have the ability to create or destroy, as fire often does.
Fairies Related to Superstitions
The Irish Banshee is actually from the fairy family, and to hear her wail on a dark night is said to foretell impending death in the home.
The Jinn are Arabian fairies can even shapeshift. It is believed that the most dangerous ones must change into a form that depicts their nature, and so dangerous animals have been accused of Jinns in disguise.
Leprechauns are shoemakers who produce footwear for the fairies of Ireland. While not considered fairies themselves, they are often placed in the same broad category.
Asrai are small and delicate water fairies who often get caught in a fisherman’s net by accident. They will melt when they hit sunlight, but not too worry; they turn back into water as soon as they touch it again. They are very forgiving if the fisherman is simply trying to catch food to feed his family.
Brownies come out at night to help complete work left unfinished sorta like the Hawaiian Menehune. They are kind and helpful, if not a little arrogant regarding the laziness of humans who retire before completing a project. Brownies greatly appreciate it when you leave them some sweet cakes which provide reassurance that you will receive their assistance.
No matter the source: legends, superstition, or rooted in a belief system of fairies as nature and earth stewards, the different types of fairies paint a fantastic and intriguing story.
Maybe next time you see a rainbow the thought of a rainbow fairy trailing along will bring a smile to your face as you try to reach the end of the light beam.