Elves and Faries

 

There aren't many people who take seriously the existence of elves and fairies in today's society. Yet there are people who will swear on the heads of their grandchildren that they have seen them with their own eyes - just as plainly as others have seen ghosts, Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster.

The stories of elusive little people are as ancient as civilization itself and can be found in virtually every culture on Earth.

Most familiar to us are the legends of elves, dwarfs, leprechauns and trolls from Europe and Scandinavia. They have been the subject of dozens of children's fairy tales, books, myths and inebriated tales. William Shakespeare made them central characters in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Generally, fairies were described as tiny ephemeral beings with wings who resided in forests. Elves, dwarfs and leprechauns were likewise residents of the forest. Unlike fairies, however, they were quite human in appearance - except for their diminutive size. They were often pictured as having their own miniature civilization, hidden away from the human world. On a summer night in 1919, 13-year-old Harry Anderson claimed to have seen a column of 20 little men marching in single file, made visible by the bright moonlight. He noted they were dressed in leather knee pants with suspenders. The men were shirtless, bald and had pale white skin. They ignored young Harry

In Stowmarket, England in 1842, a man claimed this encounter with "fairies" when walking through a meadow on his journey home: "There might be a dozen of them, the biggest about three feet high, and small ones like dolls. They were moving around hand in hand in a ring; no noise came from them. They seemed light and shadowy, not like solid bodies. I... could see them as plain as I do you. I ran home and called three women to come back with me and see them. But when we got to the place, they were all gone. I was quite sober at the time."

Elves and fairies were considered quite real in past cultures, and were a familiar part of their rich folklore. In today's technological society, perhaps, we've simply replaced them in our imaginations with little gray aliens.