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The Hans Christian Andersen Center

Religious motifs : Overview. Search. About religious motifs

See also Fairies, elves, Gods, spirits and demons

Keywords:

Superstition, folklore, female

Description of this motif:

Fairies are, like elfs, classic and central element in folktales. The Frenchman Charles Perrault, coined the genre "fairy tales" with his Contes du fes from the last half of the 17th century. Perrault's tales lie behind the English word "fairytales".

Example :

Here sat two maids, a young one and an old one. You might have thought they had come in attendance upon some spinster or widow, and were waiting to see their mistress home. However, a closer inspection would reveal that these were no ordinary serving women. Their hands were too well kept for that, their bearing and movements too graceful, and their clothes had a certain daring cut.

They were two fairies. The younger one, though not Dame Fortune herself, was an assistant to one of her ladies in waiting, and was used to deliver the more trifling gifts of Fortune. The older one looked quite grave. She was Dame Care, who always goes in her own sublime person to see to her errands herself, for then she knows that they are well done.

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