Beliefs about *fairies imply that their world lies close alongside the human world, often underground; it is a place of beauty and luxury which humans normally cannot reach, or even see. Some, however, may enter it by accident, for instance by stepping into a fairy ring; others may be invited, or abducted, by the fairies. The theme is relatively rare in England, though common in Scotland and Wales, and is chiefly found in areas of *Celtic influence. Four elaborate and rather romantic stories from Cornwall are in Bottrell (1873: 173-85) and Hunt (1865: 114-18, 120-6). Three concern girls who go to work for a fairy master as nursemaid to his child, and eventually return home; in the fourth, a man loses his way on the moors and finds himself in a house where fairies are feasting and dancing, and where he might have been held captive for ever if a girl, formerly human, had not warned him neither to eat nor drink there. An oral tale from Wigmore (Herefordshire), collected in 1909, tells how a girl joined a fairy dance and vanished for a year, which to her seemed only a day (Leather, 1912: 45-6).
   See also *Avalon, *Herla, *Orfeo.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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