Friday, April 30, 2010

How to be a (Newfoundland) Fairy


You want to be a fairy, do you? What sort of fairy? The beautiful ones found in literature or the tricky ones found in the hills? I am often caught off guard when people talk about fairies, saying they would like to be one, or that they find them beautiful, etc. I have to remind myself that there are different sorts of fairies, and people view them in different ways. Though I grew up in an area where there is not a fairy tradition, through my folklore classes, I have learned much about the fairy traditions that exist within my home province.

I wish to now give you a guide on how to be a particular type of fairy, a Newfoundland fairy. I got the idea for this entry after reading Ariel Grimm’s blog post How to Be a Real Fairy (Be sure to check out her website-blog, The Forest).

And so I give you the guide...

How to be a Newfoundland Fairy

~ Clothing.
Wear a red hat, and green clothing. On the topic of clothing, you must be prepared for all kinds of weather, so dress warmly! The weather can be a tricky thing here. Like they say if you don’t like the weather in NL, just wait five minutes. It will change.

~ Environment and Weather.
You’re home is the most eastern province of Canada, Newfoundland. Learn your way around your home, be it a forest or a bog. A fairy must have a place to haunt. If you plan to live along the coast, it will be a marine environment. For example, it is now late April and the forecast tonight is calling for snow. For tomorrow, the forecast is for rain. As for temperature, it varies. Tonight will be 1 degree Celsius (converted into Fahrenheit, that’s approximately 33). How close you live to the ocean will affect the temperature. Though I do recommended residing near the water, it is very beautiful. Your winters will be mild, and your summers will be cool, all thanks to the ocean breeze.

~ Interaction with humans.
There is no need to be nice, cause mischief! Your actions can range from mischievous to down right malevolent. You can lead berry pickers astray. Confuse fishermen by having lights on shore, where they should not be. Be sure to punish those who use the word “fairy”. Steal babies, leave changelings in their place. These changelings can be either an old fairy, or a piece of wood disguised with glamor to look like the child for a short time. A word of caution to those would-be-fairies who wish to stay in the place of an infant: parents will go to great lengths to get their child back. They may threaten the changeling with a red hot shovel or even expose it to the elements (ie. leave it on a hill).

~ Music.
Learn to play an instrument, and to dance. Fairies are known for their dancing, usually in groups in a circle. It almost goes without saying that you need to be social, to some degree. You may need assistance to execute pranks.

~ Things to avoid.
If you spy a human wearing odd socks, or an item of clothing inside out, avoid them. Humans carrying bread should also be avoided. It has also been said that fairies dislike the bright lights of the city and of cars.

~ Above all else, cause mischief. Humans deserve it.

There are so many different fairy traditions that exist within different countries. They may not always even be called fairies, but most every country has their own race of little mischievous men. Traditions vary not only from country to country, but within countries as well. If you do some looking in a library or online you’ll be sure to find out lots!

I feel that some day I will update the guide. I have pages upon pages of notes about fairies from my folklore classes that I have kept, and one day I shall get it into my mind to look through them, and add more to this guide.

If you would like to learn more about the fairies of Newfoundland, I suggest getting a copy of Barbara Rieti’s Strange Terrain (link!).

So my dear guests, how do you feel about fairies? And to my NL guests, is there anything you wish to add to the guide?

Thank you all for reading, take care and see you next time,

DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert on fairies. I have learned much about them in my folklore classes. The things included in this guide do not apply to all Newfoundland fairies. Fairy traditions and the fairies themselves vary from place to place. This guide was also meant for fun. I did not intend to offend anyone’s beliefs by making this guide. I am sorry if I have offended anyone in any way.


  1. So sweet of you to link to my post, sister dear. I love your interpretation of fairies and think it's amazing you've collected so much research from your folklore class. Most of my ideas came from playing Pixie Hollow online...

  2. You are most welcomed!
    I would much rather be the sort of fairy you described than the one I did. NL fairies are tricky bunch to be sure.