Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Fun and Cute Fairies That Should Be Children's Books

Article by Ty Hulse

From Pixies to Nymphs there are a lot of 'cute' fairies which could be used for children's books or any story that wants a mischievous quirky character. In this post I include a couple of my favorites, focusing on the ones that aren't as well known in America. I also include links to some amazing artists who create wonderful pictures of these fairies that will inspire you.

Buffardello (Italy)
My Favorite Fairy. Buffardello are cute, half foot tall anthropomorphic goblin like creatures which appear primarily human, but have animal features such as those of foxes or squirrels. The dress in red clothing and pointy little shoes, and can either appear as old men with long beards or children. 

As nature spirits they live in nut trees, but recently they've started moving into human houses, or living in the suburbs so that they can creep into human houses. With their power to turn invisible, they love to cause mischief, turning on and off lights, moving or hiding objects, messing up people's hair etc. They can often be heard running about people's houses at night, bouncing on objects, stealing bits of food, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. At times they can even be dangerous, they are still wild spirits after all, and like any wild creature they still hunt, most often for animals whose blood they drink like a vampire.

They love playing with human children, and at times flirting with girls, and generally seem to be lonely attention seekers. 
Buffardello from my Gallery of Cute Fairies

In addition to their ability to turn invisible, they also have power over the wind.

What I love about them is this idea of natural beings like squirrels moving into people's attics. The sort of mixing of their feral nature with the sudden need to act domesticated. I imagine them sheltering out the winter in little nests, running rampant through the spring, gathering food in the fall, etc. 

Cute Fairy Gallery

Wood Wives

Little forest fairies who sometimes have moss for their hair and will on occasion dress in leaves. If that isn't enough kawaii power for you little wood wives are known to enter people's homes at night in order to bless babies. Unlike many forest fairies they want to live close to people, for their greatest enemy is the Wild Huntsmen, a ghost or god which hunts them down like animals. People can keep them safe by drawing symbols on the sides of trees (often three crosses).

Niskepuk (Germany/England)

“What Fools These Mortals Be” Puck laughs with gleeful abandon as he weaves a web of mischief that ultimately leads people down the path they should have gone on their own. Puck, puks, or Niskepuks are capricious little fairies who have at the same time the dueling urges to be helpful and to drive people crazy with their wild pranks. Yet no matter how much mischief they cause people turn out the better for it in the end.

They were typically wilderness fairies whom people would invite into their homes. In one cases a man had a log with a hole in it brought into his home so that it could provide a place for the Niskepuk to live. He called for the “Loving Niskepuk” to come and see, and a swarm of them did. They danced about his house, and examined the little hole and ultimately one of them stayed. Because of his relationship with this little fairy he became very wealthy and his cattle thrived.

Niskepuk often appeared as the household cat, though they could also appear as a fire breathing dragon.

"There was a Frisian named Harro Harrsen. When he was planning on building a home he saw a hole in a log, he realized that it would make the perfect place for a little Niskepuk to live. So he built a home, and when it was finished he nailed a board as wide as his hand to act as a trim beneath the hole. He put a bowl filled with gruel and plenty of butter on the trim and in a friendly way called, "Come, loving Niskepuk!" He didn't have to wait long for the Niskepuk's came to look over his new home, which they danced through. Only one of them - who was three inces tall - stayed, living in the hole in the pillar in Harro Harrsen's home."
From then on Harro always made certain that the puk was given a bowl of porridge which had a large piece of butter. From then on his horses and cows were well groomed and cared for. The cows thrived, gave abundant milk and the sheep bore many lambs. All of this made Harro a wealthy man.

My Niskepuk is fox like and mischievous. (From my Gallery of Cute Fairies.).

The Women Discovers the Niskepuk
A farmer suddenly became very wealthy and succeeded at everything he tried. The people around him would occasionally see a dragon carrying money to his house and so believed that his luck was supernatural, the result of Niskepuk.
Once when the farmer had gone out with a woman the maid, who had been curious about his success for a long time, went looking for the fairies home. Eventually she found a chest in the cupboard and opened it. Inside was a tiny box which she opened as well. The moment the box was opened a small man with a pointy red hat jumped out of it. The moment he was out of the box he rushed off, leaving the maid to try to catch him. But her efforts were all in vain. Whenever she managed to chase him into one corner he was suddenly back in the other.
Eventually he ran up the stairs, teasing and mocking the girl who was horrified that the farmer would return and find out what she’d done.
At last she ran into the kitchen, grabbed up the fire tongs, and heated them until they were glowing. She ran up the stairs and chased the little fairy about, causing him to scream and cry miserably. At last he jumped through a small hole in the floor, down the stairs and back into his box.
When the farmer returned home the maid acted as if nothing had happened.

Ainsel (England)
Ainsel is a lonely little fairy who in looking for someone to play with comes down a human chimney and finds a bored little human boy. 
When she plays she's able to bring ashes, and presumably other things to life in the form of little animals. She's clearly overly curious and always getting into mischief, using her ability to fly to go to places she shouldn't where she gets into trouble, which obviously leaves her mom feeling frazzled.

What I like about her. There's of course the obvious, a fairy child who plays with human children, but what really strikes me about her tale is the challenges the mother must face in raising a naturally mischievous child with magical powers.

Anjana (Spain)
Beautiful female forest fairies, who live along rivers and streams so that they can talk to the water and find out what's happening in the world. They help injured animals and plants, and always seek to thwart evil beings.

What I love about them is that they are a bit like Santa in that they bring small gifts to those in need. But they live closer at hand, in forests, and they fight evil and help animals. 

Brownie, Tomte, Bwca, and Other House Fairies
There are many fairies which help and protect the people living in houses. In Europe these typically look like little old men. In Scandinavian Lore the house fairies known as Tomte, Nis, and a number of other names often make close friends with little boys, and go on many reckless adventures with them.
They hate laziness and sloth, and so demand that the family they live with keep their house clean, but if the family does they'll bring them luck, and on occasion gifts. In fact the Tomte is a Santa Claus figure, bringing gifts to his family members.

Munaciello (Italy)
Italian House fairies who bring people luck and or money. People would leave them food, and in return they would leave people gifts, or warn people when danger was coming by blowing in their ears (they were invisible and rarely said anything to people. They would often leave people gifts, little treasures such as coins, rings, etc. And are especially fond of beautiful women, which can be troublesome at times.

What I love about them is that they are sneaky little spirits that do good. They creep out and clean a toilet. They sneak into someones room to check for monsters under the bed. I like sneaky things for some reason and these guys are the sneaky heroes.

Cat Sidhe (Scotland)
A fairy Cat from Scottland

Alexander Maskaev

Coblynau  (Welsh Fairy)
A friendly fairy of the Welsh mines which leads people to rich veins of ore, often by knocking where they should dig and which helps prevent cave ins.

Like the brownie, these guys are sneaky, except they creep about mines; and perhaps later about factories?

Ellyllon  (Welsh Fairy)
Welsh Elves, which fit the more modern idea of fairies. They are wispy, ethereal, beautiful little creatures which eat toadstools and fairy butter (a fungus found in the roots of old trees). Yet in many stories they also appear a bit more like pixies. When a man runs into a bought of bad luck so bad he's nearly forced to sell his home the Ellyllon step in. They come every night to do work in order to insure that he'll be able to live happily ever after.

Javinė (Lithuanian)
The goddess of the grain barn, she was a household fairy type figure who protected barns and food storage

If you haven't already check out the Totoro Forest Project for lots of Inspiring Art

By J. B. Monage

Gaudi Buendia

Raven's Shire is always on the lookout for great artists to help the world discover, so please contact us if you know of any we should list here.