Each of my blogs on the Valentine Wishes Tour is about fairies and fairy lore. I am giving away a copy of one of my books to one commentator on each blog. Today’s prize is a copy of my historical story A Gentleman’s Folly. Comment for a chance to win.
Many thanks to Venus for hosting me.
A little today on the history of fairies and others of the fairy folk, a subject I find fascinating as it goes so far back in time and legend. The earliest references to fairies speak not of little winged people, but full sized people. Their fair faces, their gleaming skin and shimmering hair could identify those fairies. Some who study the legends insist this group were a separate race, one marginalised by the expanding population of Britain in the very distant past.
These early fairies had little to do with the new people arriving in all areas of Britain. They were elusive and did not always wish humans well. Much later, the introduction of the Sidhe, pronounced, ‘Shee’ to the fair folk added further to the beliefs in those with magical powers. The members of the Sidhe find their origins in Celtic religion rather than legend, some once held the role of gods in pre-Christian times. The tales about them and belief in them remained a powerful element in Celtic society for many years. They are still a revered part of folklore today.
As time passed, a catalogue of other supernatural beings joined these beautiful shimmering and powerful creatures and the notion of the ‘fairy folk’ as a generic developed. This included, Elves and Brownies, Leprechauns, Gnomes and Goblins, the People of the Mound, the Little People, the Good People, and of course other creatures such as Trolls, Pooka, Banshea and Korrigan. Each of these creatures has its own appearance, behaviours and powers. Finally, the Selkies, Mermaids and Mermen from the seas are part of the group included in the world of ‘fairy tales’.
Legends and stories of these and other magical creatures such as Dragons and Unicorns, are central to the oral history passed down throughout the British Isles and Ireland. Brittany in France has its share of legends of the Shining Ones and fairy tales too.
Later still into the Middle Ages and Tudor period fairies appear in written literature, though the references to them owe much to the earlier beliefs as can be seen by the fairy court of Oberon and Titania.
Into the time of the Enlightenment and Romanticism and the fairy folk continued to appear in all the arts, as they still do today. I couldn’t resist this little bit from Keats ballad La Belle Dame sans Merci, to illustrate what I see as the influence of the fairy world, and I happen to like Keats poetry very much.
I met a lady in the meads,
Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.
I made a garland for her head,
And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.
I set her on my pacing steed,
And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
A faery’s song.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild, and manna-dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
‘I love thee true’.
She took me to her Elfin grot,
And there she wept and sighed full sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
With kisses four.
There are other famous creations linked to the world of the fae, such as the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, Mallory’s La Mort d’Arthur with its links to the ancient chivalric tales, myths and legends, all the way down to Disney’s Blue Fairy and of course, the unforgettable Tinkerbelle.
There is a timeless appeal in all fairy stories and the dealings between mortals and elementals, the never ending battle between good and evil, the tricks and cleverness of heroes out to find a pot of gold, the loss of self in love for an immortal, as well as tales about those creatures who wish to bring us good.
My story Valentine Wishes, is an adult fairy tale full of love and follows the tradition of fairy benefactors, those who work for good and happiness in the world. I have to say too, it is rather spicy. I’ve included a little snippet from it below.
Excerpt from Valentine Wishes.
Poppy sat in thought. I don’t want to lose my mortals but I do want to see them happy. I know I can help them find the mates they want. Better slow down a bit here. She bit her lip. I’ve not actually ever made a real big wish happen before, not ever. Somehow, I don’t think a big wish will be so easy as a stay- clean wish to the windows, or a stay-dust-free wish to the shelves. Maybe I ought to think about it a good bit before the party and see if I can remember what they said about big wishes at the court. But, hey, everyone has to have a first! She crept out into the kitchen with tingles of anticipation making her wings itch. The room smelled fresh and clean. Tonight she had no fear she’d slip on a grease spot as she hovered up and landed on the window ledge. Before she made her way out of the window, she sent a little tiny wish to the surface of the stove to keep it spotless. I’ve done all I can tonight, tomorrow will be the big test. She ducked under the window net and flew out into the fresh air. While she hovered, enjoying the starlit garden, she tried to remember everything she could about big wishes. The power has to swell through me and I must wait until it’s at its strongest before I send the wish to where it’s needed. Can I do it? Not once, but three times tomorrow night? Can I grant a real big wish for each of them and still have the strength to breathe?
Valentine Wishes is due out on the 10th of February.
Buy Link http://bit.ly/1eXJOcx