Fairies are mythical beings or legendary creatures, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysical, supernatural or preternatural. Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term fairy offers many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, including goblins or gnomes: at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature. In modern usage, faries are usually depicted as tiny human-appearing creatures with wings and the ability to perform magic.
- Up the airy mountain,
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together,
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather!
- William Allingham, The Fairies, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 253-54
- It is frightfully difficult to know much about the fairies, and almost the only thing known for certain is that there are fairies wherever there are children.
- When you were a bird you knew the fairies pretty well, and you remember a good deal about them in your babyhood, which it is a great pity you can't write down, for gradually you forget, and I have heard of children who declared that they had never once seen a fairy. Very likely if they said this in the Kensington Gardens, they were standing looking at a fairy all the time. The reason they were cheated was that she pretended to be something else. This is one of their best tricks.
- Do you believe in fairies? If you believe clap your hands.
Don't let Tinker die.
- J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1904); "Tinker Bell" thought she could get well again if children believed in fairies
- When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a million pieces, and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies.
- J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1904)
- You see, Wendy, when the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.
- When a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. They live in nests on the tops of trees; and the mauve ones are boys and the white ones are girls, and the blue ones are just little sillies who are not sure what they are.
- Whenever a child says "I don't believe in fairies" there's a little fairy somewhere that falls right down dead.
- J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1904)
- Variant: "There ought to be one fairy for every boy and girl."
"Ought to be? Isn't there?"
"No. You see children know such a lot now, they soon don't believe in fairies, and every time a child says, 'I don't believe in fairies,' there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead."
- J. M. Barrie, in Peter & Wendy (1911), Ch. 3
- Bright Eyes, Light Eyes! Daughter of a Fay!
I had not been a married wife a twelvemonth and a day,
I had not nursed my little one a month upon my knee,
When down among the blue bell banks rose elfins three times three:
They griped me by the raven hair, I could not cry for fear,
They put a hempen rope around my waist and dragged me here;
They made me sit and give thee suck as mortal mothers can,
Bright Eyes, Light Eyes! strange and weak and wan!
- Robert Buchanan, The Fairy Foster Mother, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 253-54
- Then take me on your knee, mother;
And listen, mother of mine.
A hundred fairies danced last night,
And the harpers they were nine.
- Mary Howitt, The Fairies of the Caldon Low, Stanza 5, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 253-54
- Nothing can be truer than fairy wisdom. It is as true as sunbeams.
- Douglas Jerrold, Specimens of Jerrold's Wit, Fairy Tales, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 253-54
- Nicht die Kinder bloss speist man mit Märchen ab.
- It is not children only that one feeds with fairy tales.
- Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, Nathan der Weise (1779), III, 6
- Or fairy elves,
Whose midnight revels by a forest side
Or fountain, some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while overhead the Moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth
Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
- The dances ended, all the fairy train
For pinks and daisies search'd the flow'ry plain.
- Alexander Pope, January and May, line 624, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 253-54
- This is the fairy-land; O spite of spites!
We talk with goblins, owls and sprites.
- Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night.
- They are fairies; he that speaks to them shall die:
I'll wink and couch: no man their works must eye.
- Set your heart at rest:
The fairyland buys not the child of me.
- In silence sad,
Trip we after night's shade:
We the globe can compass soon.
Swifter than the wand'ring moon.
- O, then, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.
She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes
In shape no bigger than an agate-stone
On the forefinger of an alderman.
- Where the bee sucks, there suck I;
In a cowslip's bell I lie;
There I couch when owls do cry.
On the bat's back I do fly.
- Her berth was of the wombe of morning dew
And her conception of the joyous prime.
- Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book III, Canto VI, Stanza 3
- But light as any wind that blows
So fleetly did she stir,
The flower, she touch'd on, dipt and rose,
And turned to look at her.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Talking Oak, Stanza 33, reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 253-54