Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

See also Fairy, Pixie, Plant spirit


Elf, fairy, popular belief, supernatural

Description of this motif: Fairies are very small, supernatural beings, who usually are attached to nature, as opposed to goblins (pixies), who often live in buildings. Fairies are woodland creatures and correspond to the nymphs and satyrs of Greek myth.

Example :

All around him, wherever moonlight fell between the trees, he saw little elves playing merrily. They weren't disturbed when he came along because they knew he was a good and innocent fellow. It is only the wicked people who never are allowed to see the elves. Some of the elves were no taller than your finger, and their long yellow hair was done up with golden combs. Two by two, they seesawed on the big raindrops, which lay thick on the leaves and tall grass. Sometimes the drops rolled from under them, and then they tumbled down between the grass blades. The little manikins would laugh and made a great to-do about it, for it was a very funny sight. They sang, and John knew all their pretty little songs, which had been taught him when he was a small boy.

Big spotted spiders, wearing silver crowns, were kept busy spinning long bridges and palaces from one bush to another, and as the tiny dewdrops formed on these webs they sparkled like glass in the moonlight. All this went on until sunrise, when the little elves hid in the buds of flowers. Then the wind struck the bridges and palaces, which were swept away like cobwebs.

Comment on this quote: Johannes gets to see the fairies, because he is an innocent person.