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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.



Language level

Intermediate: B1


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.

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.

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.

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.

I don't believe in fairies.

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.

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)

In my country they believe more about reaps
The think if you take a shower at night or sing in the bathroom the reap will enter inside your body and control you

This comment is prone to be dismissed but here it is.

As far as my culture is concerned, beliefs of Judeo-christian religions have been downgrading when becoming in something that is addressed when it comes to portrait a selfish concept of people problems, along with this downgrading some myths have been being created by people that have the upper hand when trying to take advantage of this ignorance. Statements comprising arguably certain kind of "sacred beings" which practice witchcraft is something that is becoming frequent, indeed, is the attraction when fairs are held in downtown.

In my culture there are many gods.especially lord ganesh elephants god he is a super hero in hindu culture.