Friday, November 30, 2012

Fairies - Always Ancient but Never Mature


Many fairies never truly mature. At the same time, however, they grow up within a few years or are born ancient from the very beginning (Grimm, 1835). Further, because of their immortal nature, they would eventually only have the slightest inkling that they were ever young at all. This situation can lead them to desire that which they cannot have, a childhood. Consider that when fairies kidnap adults, the fairies most often replace them with objects which are made of dirt or wood but are enchanted to appear to be corpses. Yet when a fairy takes a human baby, they replace the child with old fairies in disguise. So when a fairy takes an adult, it is clear that what they are after is the adult because they leave the humans very little recourse to discover the deception or to force the fairies to return the person who was taken.

When fairies take human children, however, they are after something else, something more. By leaving an elderly fairy, the fairies risk being found out because of the actions of the elderly fairy. Further, they risk having the fairy abused by the humans as often happened. If all the fairies wanted was the child, then they would simply replace them with clay or wood magically disguised to appear as a dead child as they do adults. By replacing children with older fairies, the fairies are actively seeking to take the place of the child.
In history and our own society, we can see many child actors who grew up to seek after their childhood later. They sought to create a “Neverland” for themselves. Even beyond this, however, there are many people who seek to go back to or to find a childhood again. Movies are ripe with stories of people who wish to regain their youth, or to find the happiness they never had as a child. For such people, however, the rules of society, age, mortality, as well as the fact that no matter what they do they cannot look like children prevents them from achieving childhood later in life.

Fairies, however, can change their form at will, and they don’t have the same social rules as humans. Perkiss points out that when the nymphs would kidnap heroes, it seemed that they did so in order to essentially play house with the hero the way a girl might seek to pull a father, brother, or neighbor boy into a game of tea. Thus, while even human children must follow certain rules, (they can’t force the neighbor boy to play tea without adult intervention or a lot of badgering), fairies with their supernatural powers do not have very many rules at all. Further, because of their immortal nature, they have forever to gain a greater longing for a childhood and can act childlike forever.  There is never a moment when they start to whither and get injured more easily or must worry about finding a job. So they can dance on the hillsides every night for eternity and so they often do.

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