The legend of fairies

The legend of fairies

Read a text about the legend of fairies to practise and improve your reading skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.


Reading text

(1) Fairies today are the stuff of children's stories, little magical people with wings, often shining with light. Typically pretty and female, like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, they usually use their magic to do small things and are mostly friendly to humans.

(2) We owe many of our modern ideas about fairies to Shakespeare and stories from the 18th and 19th centuries. Although we can see the origins of fairies as far back as the Ancient Greeks, we can see similar creatures in many cultures. The earliest fairy-like creatures can be found in the Greek idea that trees and rivers had spirits called dryads and nymphs. Some people think these creatures were originally the gods of earlier, pagan religions that worshipped nature. They were replaced by the Greek and Roman gods, and then later by the Christian God, and became smaller, less powerful figures as they lost importance.

(3) Another explanation suggests the origin of fairies is a memory of real people, not spirits. So, for example, when tribes with metal weapons invaded land where people only used stone weapons, some of the people escaped and hid in forests and caves. Further support for this idea is that fairies were thought to be afraid of iron and could not touch it. Living outside of society, the hiding people probably stole food and attacked villages. This might explain why fairies were often described as playing tricks on humans. Hundreds of years ago, people actually believed that fairies stole new babies and replaced them with a 'changeling' – a fairy baby – or that they took new mothers and made them feed fairy babies with their milk.

(4) While most people no longer believe in fairies, only a hundred years ago some people were very willing to think they might exist. In 1917, 16-year-old Elsie Wright took two photos of her cousin, nine-year-old Frances Griffiths, sitting with fairies. Some photography experts thought they were fake, while others weren't sure. But Arthur Conan Doyle, the writer of the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, believed they were real. He published the original pictures, and three more the girls took for him, in a magazine called The Strand, in 1920. The girls only admitted the photos were fake years later in 1983, created using pictures of dancers that Elsie copied from a book.

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Average: 4 (63 votes)

Submitted by manemusayelyan on Sat, 02/05/2020 - 10:33

Hi everyone. First of all i think the reason of stories about fairies or other similar magical creatures in many cultures is to make this world more magical especially for children. In my country-in Armenia there is one famouse traditional hero from national epic called David of Sasun. He drove Arab invaders out of Armenia and had magic forse. David is hero for some children and even for teenagers and adults.

Submitted by Afiefah M on Wed, 29/04/2020 - 13:42

In my country, there's this story about a women named Cik Siti Wan Kembang. She was the renowned ruler of present-day Kelantan. The daughter of Raja Ahmad and in line for the throne, Siti Wan Kembang was only four when her father died, leaving her to take over his rule. Because she was still a child, the court elders appointed Raja Hussein of Johor as Kelantan’s king regent. Growing up, Siti Wan Kembang took on many responsibilities and became very skilled in horse-riding and sword-fighting. When the time came for her to take over the throne after Raja Hussein’s passing, Siti Wan Kembang was only 25 but she was ready. She ruled Kelantan for over 30 years! Although she never married, she adopted Puteri Sa’adong as her daughter after her parents’ passing. Puteri Sa’adong would later take over as ruler of Kelantan.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Tue, 21/04/2020 - 17:06

We has the story of 'Ojuju' and other mystical creatures in my culture. They are in form of spirit.

Submitted by yasmd_ on Mon, 23/03/2020 - 11:40

What stories of little magical people are there in your culture? What are they like? In the Middle Age was common the stories of little magical people who appears between trees and wins heart of prince. in that period is frequent to use supernatural beings in order to explain the origins of lineage.

Submitted by shahhoseini on Thu, 05/03/2020 - 06:56

What stories of little magical people are there in your culture? What are they like? In my culture, there is a hero called Arash. He was a great archer and in the war between Iran and enemy country, he threw an arrow and in this manner determined the border between these two countries. But, unfortunately, after throwing he died.

Submitted by Maksim on Wed, 26/02/2020 - 11:51

There is a character in Russian tales like Baba Yaga. It's an old woman who lives in a hut with chicken legs in the woods. She's very scary and likes to eat children. Also, her vehicle is a mortar with a broom.

Submitted by huyentran on Thu, 20/02/2020 - 01:16

I believed there were fairies on earth but when I grew up, I realized that there were no fairies on earth. It is just a character that people create in imagination. But who knows, they are living on another planet.
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Submitted by mtalebi on Sat, 01/02/2020 - 07:11

I don't believe in fairies.
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Submitted by Ditsy on Wed, 18/12/2019 - 14:25

What stories of little magical people are there in your culture? What are they like? In my country, we have 'domovoy'. Domovoy translates like 'man, who takes control of the house.' This is a cute small person. He has tree bottoms. He has bast shoes - this is wooden shoes. He has a red beard. He saves the house from angry spirits.

Submitted by Lujsel on Sun, 15/12/2019 - 13:09

I think stories about fairies, dryads, and nymphs are has written for children to convince them in magic around the world. But in our time, I believe only in God and angels, which helps humans if they pray, go to church to Holy Liturgy and take Eucharist. My religious says, the Holy Spirit gives us salvation and help us in the material world, such as safe us from a bad situation or people. So, what spirit (holy or evil) is in your soul that what you attract to you, and it is no magic. Even in our country, the priest-exorcist helps people with evil-spirits to salvation them from it. So, why I believe in holy spirits and their power to help people (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)