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)
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Submitted by Toan3002 on Tue, 28/05/2024 - 04:18


In Vietnam, there are not a lot of magical stories in my culture, but in my country is widely known for fairy tales. When I was a child, I was told by my mother. Every night, she will tell some fairy tales to make me fall asleep. I listened to a variety sort of precious fairy tales. Some typical fairy tale most Vietnamese people know is "Tam Cam", "An Khe Tra Vang", and "Thach Sanh Ly Thong". Those stories are interesting and appealing!!

Submitted by Safe_Mode on Sat, 11/05/2024 - 09:18


i'm not very familiar with fairies but when people hear strange sounds in their homes they explain it by brownies or hobgoblins). It's small shaggy creature that likes sweet dishes, could be dangerous for people)

Submitted by Yeli Marcela Londoño on Wed, 14/02/2024 - 23:54


We have goblins as little magical creatures, but these goblins don't have the particular clothes of an Ireland leprechaun, these goblins are mean and they used to kidnap kids, adults, and animals.

Submitted by DzhusAngela on Tue, 06/02/2024 - 09:18


I think,we have one story about fairies.I have little sister and she believes that when she put her tooth under pillow after this the fairy fly and replace tooth for present.

Submitted by Raho on Sun, 05/11/2023 - 08:07


we don't have magical stories in our culture based on fairies

Submitted by betelf on Mon, 23/10/2023 - 09:09


I don't have any interest or knowledge in these topics, actually.

Submitted by TataRyt on Fri, 20/10/2023 - 22:29


I adored reading books about fairies when I was 16 years old. The stories were so romantic and adventurous. Fairies are generally depicted as tricky creatures with amazing beauty, they are often described as tall, and they prefer wine and enjoying their time over other things.

Submitted by drey2005 on Wed, 21/06/2023 - 18:24


There are many stories about fantastic creatures in Brazil. These are called "folclore". But I don't know any which like fairies.

Submitted by AlexandraMT on Fri, 09/06/2023 - 16:55


I don't know the stories of magical people in my culture. I think they are not real, but I love to dress up as a fairy.

Submitted by Miss zahra on Sat, 08/04/2023 - 11:13


I hardly remember such these stories because my mom is not superstitious at all and never told such this story to me when I was a kid.