Friday, May 24, 2019

The Sprite: An Autumn Fairy.

The Sprites From Beyond The Veil.

To my dearest friends and followers,

Today, I want to tell you a little bit of background (here meaning, folklore XD) about the protagonist in my upcoming novel, Beyond The Veil. Let me first say for those of you who might be new here, I am an enthusiast of fairies, folklore, and mythology. I love reading fairy tales about magic, and fantastical worlds and creatures.
I've liked fairies for quite some time, but really became interested in them around 2008/2009. My main character, Hollyhocks, was roughly inspired by the painting Claire's Wings by Kinuko Y. Craft. 

I have researched and read so much lore about fairies, but the sprite is my favorite for various reasons. It seems that many who read about and study fairies use the term "sprite" lightly as a word to refer to many different fairy species, and don't actually recognize that it is, in fact, a species of its own.

It's interesting to me that sprites and sylphs (two very different creatures) are also often used interchangeably though they have little in common, despite the fact that both are accepted as elemental beings. Sylphs are spirits of the air, or elemental spirits that cannot be seen. While "sprite" literally comes from the Latin word spiritus, meaning spirit or ghost-like, they are actually autumn fairies. Sprites are usually credited as the fairies who change the colors of the leaves in the autumn by flying and using a paintbrush or "magic" to paint the colors throughout nature. They are well versed in poetry and music and enjoy a quiet simple life. Sprites like to reside in forests or wooded mountain terrain.

Sprites originate in celtic folklore, but became more popularized by William Shakespeare and his use of them in The Tempest and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Perhaps the two most famous sprites are Shakespeare's Ariel, and the 19th century depiction of Jack Frost. 

Sprites are possibly the first fairies to be depicted as having wings, and are described as tiny ethereal beings with translucent glowing ghost-like bodies. Unlike the pixies who name Joan as their queen, and Ariel, the queen of the pillywiggins, my research has led me to believe that there was no ruler of the sprites. It is not uncommon for Irish and British folklore to mention a Fairy Queen, a mysterious and seductive female ruler of all fairy beings, though she is not named. It would appear Shakespeare had much influence in adding a bit of his own lore to the world of fairies, and it is now commonly accepted to name the Fairy Queen as Titania or Mab.

I have added a bit of my own lore into my book, dismissing the idea of a Fairy Queen entirely. I write about each species of fairy (pixies, pillywiggins, etc.) as having their own ruler. While I talk of an Ancient World and do keep true to the Fairy Queens Ariel and Joan, I claim that the sprites were led by a Fairy Council, consisting of 3 male sprites, Linden, Kheelan, and Dain (the proud father of an extraordinary child...).

Most fairies have picked up something from the humans and adopted it into their own culture, such as having kings and queens, dancing, parties, weddings, etc.. Even wearing clothes comes from humans. Something that sets the sprites apart is that they have little to no human contact, and are therefore innocent in the ways of men, making them kindhearted pure beings, and see no need for clothing. In fact, when a sprite is born, their very presence shakes the heavens, if only for a moment, for there is no creature placed on earth as pure as a sprite.

Such is Hollyhocks - a being so beautiful and otherworldly. I wanted a character so different from the others, yet relatable still. My favorite season is the fall, so that fit perfectly. But I wanted more. I wanted someone so sweet, so innocent, that she would be totally disconnected from our world and therefore long for it more than the other fairies. She is that child left behind in all of us. That part of us that is naïve, that part of us that is youthful, that part of us that longs for a time when we didn't realize how easy things really were. She is that part of us that wants to feel truly alive.

Yours truly,

Additional Reading:
Encyclopedia of Fairies in World Folklore and Mythology - Theresa Bane (McFarland and Company; 2013)
The Tempest - William Shakespeare
A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare
Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide To The Fantastical World Around You - Holly Black, Tony DiTerlizzi (Simon & Schuster; 2005)
The Rape Of The Lock - Alexander Pope
Sprite (folklore) - Wikipedia
Sylph - Wikipedia

Related Posts:
A Cyclopedic Of Fairies: Pillywiggins, Pixies, and Sprites.
Jack Frost.
A Sprite Named Hollyhocks.

Disclaimer: While I love to completely delve myself into this world of fairies, I feel that I must clarify something. I write this information in a way that is matter-of-fact. I have to. While I believe that these fantastic creatures do not exist, I have to believe in them when I write about them. After all, if I do not believe in my writing and the worlds I create, why should my reader?

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