Fairy Rings and Fairy Elves

Have you ever heard of Fairy Rings? 

In real life, Fairy Rings are a naturally occurring phenomena where mushrooms grow in a circle.

800px-Fairy_ring_on_a_suburban_lawn_100_1851

In folklore, Fairy Rings are an enchanted place where fairies gather at night and dance under the moonlight.

fairy elses

John Milton mentioned dancing Fairy Elves in the first Book of Paradise Lost…

Fairy Elves
Whose midnight revels, by a forest side
Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
Or dreams he sees, while over-head the Moon
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
Wheels her pale course, they, on their mirth and dance Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.

MP3 Recording of Fairy Elves

It’s not hard to see how man would come up with a supernatural reason for Fairy Rings.  They are so unusual!

This article was posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 at 11:51 am and is filed under Countries & Cultures, England, English, Fairies, Fairy Rings, Folk Lore, Ireland, Languages, MP3's of Poems, Recordings, Recordings of Poems, United Kingdom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Fairy Rings and Fairy Elves”

  1. Barbara Says:

    Do you know of a poem (actually a song) that goes:
    I wish I were a fairy
    upon a cherry tree,
    and it was always summer,
    how happy I would be.
    I’d breakfast on a cherry,
    and when I came to dine,
    A stone would be my wineglass
    to hold my ruby wine.

    My grandmother used to sing it to me and I’d like to know if there are more verses. I’ve sung it to my grandchildren.

  2. Rebecca Says:

    Milton, of course, was absolutely correct when he wrote, “At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.” That’s exactly the response that I felt when I saw my first ever fairy ring, this morning. As much as I know and understand the scientific explanation for fairy rings, I can’t seem to shake the natural superstitious feelings I have!

  3. Lisa Says:

    Barbara – I found this from 1866:

    Mabel’s Wish

    O would I were a fairy,
    Up in the cherry-tree,
    And if ‘t were always summer,
    How happy I should be!
    I would breakfast on a cherry,
    And when I came to dine,
    The stone should be a wine-glass
    To hold my ruby wine.
    The bee should bring me honey,
    And the butterfly should bear
    My tiny form, whenever
    I wished to take the air.
    The wind should bring me odors
    From the fields of new-mown hay,
    And the birds should give me music
    All the live-long summer day.
    No lessons in the tree-top,
    No puzzling sums for me!
    O, I would I were a fairy,
    Up in the cherry-tree,
    And if’t were always summer,
    How happy I should be!

    Rebecca – I agree with you about Fairy Rings – it’s no wonder so many superstitions grew up around them! -Mama Lisa

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