The legend of fairies

The legend of fairies

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

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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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Submitted by antinaoki on Mon, 13/07/2020 - 03:36

i dont know any fairly tales in japanese culture,but there are lot of horror ghosts tales in japanese history. Like the ghosts in the old house,or the ghosts of the dead people in some places some accidents occured.

Submitted by Austin on Sat, 27/06/2020 - 08:52

In my Chinese culture, we have a little magical god who can control the land, almost everyone in their house front door will have a little board for them to get their blessing, they look like a tiny old man with a long white beard holding a wand.

Submitted by syah on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 08:32

I don't really know, is there any story about fairy in my culture or not. But I know fairy tales from narrative text or film. The fairies in the stories like fairy as usual, they have wings, they are very beautiful, some of them is kind. I think fairy just can be a story that can entertain us and give us soma lessons.

Submitted by Stela Stoycheva on Mon, 01/06/2020 - 15:39

In my culture fairies, they are in children mind, stories, movies...But when I look or read something for fairies, I want ti be fairy :) In my country we have Fairy Teeth :)

Submitted by DW on Wed, 06/05/2020 - 09:09

There are many magical people in my culture. But it is hard for me to find one who is small in size! Maybe, let me introduce “Nuwa”(女娲) to all of you. In Chinese traditional, there is a god called Nuwa. She made human by yellow clay. She created musical instrument. And she used stone to repair the sky and saved all living creatures. People called her the mother of the land.

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.