My Grandmother's History of Fairies
Although there are a lot of stories about how fairies came to be, I’d like to share with you a story that I was told as a child by my grandmother. It may not be accurate, but I have found some pieces of it to be true in Irish Mythology when I did my own research of it as an adult. Here is a generalization of what she said:
Long ago, there was a huge battle between two races: the Fir Bolgs and the Tuatha De Danaan. They were like the forces of dark and light. In fact, the Tuatha De Danan were considered the children of the Goddess Danu who was the bringer of light. They fought long and hard, and the Tuatha were forced to use their four weapons of power (the stone of destiny, the spear of destiny, the caldron of destiny, and the sword of destiny) in order to overcome the mighty forces of the Fir Bolg. Much of Ireland’s land was changed because of this fierce battle. In the end, even though the Tuatha were able to push back the Fir Bolgs, they went into hiding themselves in the woods of Ireland. When they did, they began to change and morph. They hid away from humans as much as possible, and when they were seen, they appeared tiny and harmless. They became known as the fairies. Some of them were good and welcomed visits from humans, while others became jaded from the battle and wanted to punish humans for the war they were forced to endure.
Memories that Still Hold True
Long ago, I remember attending a camp called Camp Pattegansett. Every day I would pass by the main office just so I could get a glimpse of their little gnome village. I can’t remember too much as it was twenty some odd years ago (mumble mumble, give or take a few years), but I do recall the ceramic gnomes they had outside and a tree that was their home. Every so often, one of them would be holding a note or a flower or something. I know as an adult that one of the staff put it there, but as a child I thought that it was magical and it made my day.
The Creation of Our Fairy Home
Fairy Villages can be bought piece by piece at places like A.C.Moore, Target, Michaels, Joann Fabrics, and more. They can also be created out of falling twigs and branches. When my son and I created our first village in our backyard, we bought things and placed them in our village. After a while, I looked at it and was a little bummed out. Although it was pretty, it didn’t look very realistic to me (don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen hundreds of villages that had bought items in them and looked magnificent).
One day, I decided that we were going to remake the village. Connor and I sat on the back porch with a glue gun, twigs, leaves, some clay pots, and bale twine. He would run to the backyard and fetch me more materials as I glued the pieces together to create beds, houses, and more. We even created a fence and a laundry line. It was so much fun and you should have seen the excitement in his eyes when it was complete. I even bought a little Victorian key at A.C.Moore and gave it to Connor. I told him that he was the guardian of the village and that it was his duty to look after it.
Now, whenever he has friends over, they all go over to the fairy village and marvel at it for a few minutes before continuing on with their games. I have smiled to myself on more than one occasion when I hear them playing fairies and trolls. My son stands guard with laughter in his eyes as he solemnly guards the fairy village against the friendly “trolls” that run across the yard, attempting to steal the magic key to the fairy home.
The Present Calling
Just the other day I was out for a photo shoot with my team. As we walked through the woods, we stumbled across a “fairy village” made from old action figures. Even in the craziness of the shoot, the entire team began to smile and take a break. Everyone pulled out their cellphones and took pictures of this little treasure. It didn’t matter that it was action figures and not the fairies that you buy at the craft store, just the idea that someone took the time to make it for others to enjoy was worth it…and we all enjoyed it immensely.
It made me realize that creating a fairy home or village has a lot of wonderful benefits. It teaches kids to use their imagination and creativity. It gives adults a break from the stresses of life and brings us back to the happiness of child-like wonder.
I have a plan this year to create a village somewhere that isn’t my home. I don’t really need to buy anything. It could be another fun art project for Connor and I to do. We will make it out of sticks and stuff and plan to randomly place it in a park for others to discover and enjoy. When I create it, I will definitely take a picture. Someone may end up destroying it, but if one person sees it and it makes their day, then I consider it a success.
The Mysterious Remains
There is a place I have been curious to visit. It is called the “Little People Village” and it is located in Middlebury, CT. Seated deep in the woods, there are a few old “little” houses that have been created with brick and mortar. According to local legend, a husband and wife lived in that area many years ago. When the wife claimed to see fairies in the woods, the husband began to build houses for them to live in. The village still remains standing to this day. I have included a link at the bottom of this blog for anyone that wishes to see what the houses look like.
Sharing Your Fairy House with the World
Building fairy houses has become quite a popular event. In Connecticut, there have been several events with fairy houses in display at the Florence Griswald Museum and many other places. There are also many fairy festivals in which people showcase their villages and there are contests as well on the internet. If you choose to build your fairy home/village, feel free to take a picture and share it in one of the contests.
There are also a lot of really great tutorials on Pinterest and just on the internet in general. People have made fairy houses and village in things as small as a birth bath and as big as a tree. Please feel free to check them out, or to share some of your own fairy stories.
"Find that magical place in your world, and live there."
"some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
Little People Village in Middlebury, CT
Fairy House Contests