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Like every other word in extensive use, whose derivation is not historically certain, the word Fairy has obtained various and opposite etymons. Meyric Casaubon, and those who like him deduce everything from a classic source, however unlikely, derive Fairy from Φηρ, a Homeric name of the Centaurs; or think that fée, whence Fairy, is the last syllable of nympha.
The Fairy Mythology PDF Book by Thomas Keightley
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Sir W. Ouseley derives it from the Hebrew פאר) peër), to adorn; Skinner, from the Anglo-Saxon a an, to fare, to go; others from Feres, companions, or think that Fairy-folk is quasi Fair-folk. Finally, it has been queried if it be not Celtic. But no theory is so plausible, or is supported by such names, as that which deduces the English Fairy from the Persian Peri.
It is said that the Paynim foe, whom the warriors of the Cross encountered in Palestine, spoke only Arabic; the alphabet of which language, it is well known, possesses no p, and therefore organically substitutes an f in such foreign words as contain the former letter; consequently Peri became, in the mouth of an Arab, Feri, whence the crusaders and pilgrims.
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Who carried back to Europe the marvellous tales of Asia, introduced into the West the Arabo-Persian word Fairy. It is further added, that the Morgain or Morgana, so celebrated in old romance, is Merjan Peri, equally celebrated all over the East. All that is wanting to this so very plausible theory is something like proof, and some slight agreement with the ordinary rules of etymology.
Had Feërie, or Fairy, originally signified the individual in the French and English, the only languages in which the word occurs, we might feel disposed to acquiesce in it. But they do not: and even if they did, how should we deduce from them the Italian Fata, and the Spanish Fada or Hada, (words which unquestionably stand for the same imaginary being.
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Unless on the principle by which Menage must have deduced Lutin from Lemur—the first letter being the same in both? As to the fair Merjan Peri (D’Herbelot calls her Merjan Banou ), we fancy a little too much importance has been attached to her. Her name, as far as we can learn, only occurs in the Cahermân Nâmeh, a Turkish romance, though perhaps translated from the Persian.
The foregoing etymologies, it is to be observed, are all the conjectures of English scholars; for the English is the only language in which the name of the individual, Fairy, has the canine letter to afford any foundation for them. Leaving, then, these sports of fancy, we will discuss the true origin of the words used in the Romanic languages to express the being which we name Fairy of Romance.
These are Faée, Fée, French; Fada, Provençal (whence Hada, Spanish); and Fata, Italian. The root is evidently, we think, the Latin fatum. In the fourth century of our æra we find this word made plural, and even feminine, and used as the equivalent of Parcæ. On the reverse of a gold medal of the Emperor Diocletian are three female figures, with the legend Fatis victricibus; a cippus. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book
Found at Valencia in Spain, has on one of its sides Fatis Q. Fabius ex voto, and on the other, three female figures, with the attributes of the Mœræ or Parcæ. In this last place the gender is uncertain, but the figures would lead us to suppose it feminine. On the other hand, Ausonius has tres Charites, tria Fata; and Procopius names a building at the Roman Forum τα τρια φατα.
Adding ουτω γαρ ῥωμαιοι τας μοιρας νενομικασι καλειν. The Fatæ or Fata, then, being persons, and their name coinciding so exactly with the modern terms, and it being observed that the Mœræ were, at the birth of Meleager, just as the Fées were at that of Ogier le Danois, and other heroes of romance and tale, their identity has been at once asserted, and this is now, we believe, the most prevalent theory.
To this it may be added, that in Gervase of Tilbury, and other writers of the thirteenth century, the Fada or Fée seems to be regarded as a being different from human kind. On the other hand, in a passage presently to be quoted from a celebrated old romance, we shall meet a definition of the word Fée, which expressly asserts that such a being was nothing more than a woman skilled in magic. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book
And such, on examination, we shall find to have been all the Fées of the romances of chivalry and of the popular tales; in effect, that fée is a participle, and the words dame or femme is to be understood. The son of a merchant in a city of Hindostan, having been driven from his father’s house on account of his undutiful conduct, assumed the garb of a Kalenderee or wandering Derweesh, and left his native town.
On the first day of his travels, being overcome with fatigue before he reached any place of rest, he went off the high road and sat down at the foot of a tree by a piece of water: while he sat there, he saw at sunset four doves alight from a tree on the edge of the pond, and resuming their natural form (for they were Peries) take off their clothes and amuse themselves by bathing in the water.
He immediately advanced softly, took up their garments, without being seen, and concealed them in the hollow of a tree, behind which he placed himself. The Peries when they came out of the water and missed their clothes were distressed beyond measure. They ran about on all sides looking for them, but in vain. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book
At length, finding the young man and judging that he had possessed himself of them, they implored him to restore them. He would only consent on one condition, which was that one of them should become his wife. The Peries asserted that such a union was impossible between them whose bodies were formed of fire and a mortal who was composed of clay and water.
But he persisted, and selected the one which was the youngest and handsomest. They were at last obliged to consent, and having endeavoured to console their sister, who shed copious floods of tears at the idea of parting with them and spending her days with one of the sons of Adam; and having received their garments, they took leave of her and flew away.
It is related, says El-Kasweenee, by a certain narrator of traditions, that he descended into a valley with his sheep, and a wolf carried off a ewe from among them; and he arose and raised his voice, and cried, “O inhabitant of the valley!” whereupon he heard a voice saying, “O wolf, restore him his sheep!” The Fairy Mythology PDF Book
And the wolf came with the ewe and left her, and departed. Ben Shohnah relates, that in the year 456 of the Hejra, in the reign of Kaiem, the twentysixth khaleefeh of the house of Abbas, a report was raised in Bagdad, which immediately spread throughout the whole province of Irak, that some Turks being out hunting saw in the desert a black tent.
Beneath which there was a number of people of both sexes, who were beating their cheeks, and uttering loud cries, as is the custom in the East when any one is dead. Amidst their cries they heard these words—The great king of the Jinn is dead, woe to this country! and then there came out a great troop of women, followed by a number of other rabble.
Who proceeded to a neighbouring cemetery, still beating themselves in token of grief and mourning. The celebrated historian Ebn Athir relates, that when he was at Mosul on the Tigris, in the year 600 of the Hejra, there was in that country an epidemic disease of the throat; and it was said that a woman, of the race of the Jinn. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book Download
Having lost her son, all those who did not condole with her on account of his death were attacked with that disease; so that to be cured of it men and women assembled, and with all their strength cried out, O mother of Ankood, excuse us! Ankood is dead, and we did not mind it! When Maugis was grown a man, the Fay Oriande clad him in arms.
And he became her ami; and she loved him “de si grand amour qu’elle doute fort qu’il ne se departe d’avecques elle.” Maugis shortly afterwards achieved the adventure of gaining the enchanted horse Bayard, in the isle of Boucaut. Of Bayard it is said, when Maugis spoke to him, “Bayard estoit feyé, si entendoit aussi bien Maugis comme s’il (Bayard) eust parlé.”
On his return from the island, Maugis conquers and slays the Saracen admiral Anthenor, who had come to win the lands and castle of Oriande, and gains the sword Flamberge (Floberge), which, together with Bayard, he afterwards gave to his cousin Renaud. In Perceforest, Sebille la Dame du Lac. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book Download
Whose castle was surrounded by a river on which lay so dense a fog that no one could see across the water, though not called so, was evidently a fay. The fortnight that Alexander the Great and Floridas abode with her, to be cured of their wounds, seemed to them but as one night. During that night, “la dame demoura enceinte du roy dung filz, dont de ce lignage yssit le roi Artus.”
In the same romance we are told that “en lysle de Zellande jadis fut demourante une faee qui estoit appellee Morgane.” This Morgane was very intimate with “ung esperit (named Zephir) qui repairoit es lieux acquatiques, mais jamais nestoit veu que de nuyt.” Zephir had been in the habit of repairing to Morgane la Faee from her youth up.
“Car elle estoit malicieuse et subtille et tousjours avoit moult desire a aucunement sçavoir des enchantemens et des conjurations.” He had committed to her charge the young Passelyon and his cousin Bennucq, to be brought up, and Passelyon was detected in an intrigue with the young Morgane, daughter of the fay. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book Download
The various adventures of this amorous youth form one of the most interesting portions of the romance. In Tristan de Leonois, king Meliadus, the father of Tristan, is drawn to a chase par mal engin et negromance of a fairy who was in love with him, and carries him off, and from whose thraldom he was only released by the power of the great enchanter Merlin.
In Parthenopex of Blois, the beautiful fairy Melior, whose magic bark carries the knight to her secret island, is daughter to the emperor of Greece. In no romance whatever is the fairy machinery more pleasingly displayed than in Sir Launfal, a metrical romance, composed by Thomas Chestre, in the reign of Henry VI.
Before, however, we give the analysis of this poem, which will be followed by that of another, and by our own imitations of this kind of verse, we will take leave to offer some observations on a subject that seems to us to be in general but little understood, namely, the structure of our old English verse, and the proper mode of reading it. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book Free
Our forefathers, like their Gotho-German kindred, regulated their verse by the number of accents, not of syllables. The foot, therefore, as we term it, might consist of one, two, three, or even four syllables, provided it had only one strongly marked accent. Further, the accent of a word might be varied, chiefly by throwing it on the last syllable, as natúre for náture, honoúr for hónour, etc.
The Italians, by the way, throw it back when two accents come into collision, as, Il Pástor Fido ); they also sounded what the French call the feminine e of their words, as, In oldè dayès of the King Artoúr; and so well known seems this practice to have been, that the copyists did not always write this e, relying on the skill of the reader to supply it.
There was only one restriction, namely, that it was never to come before a vowel, unless where there was a pause. In this way the poetry of the middle ages was just as regular as that of the present day; and Chaucer, when properly read, is fully as harmonious as Pope. The knight returns to court, and astonishes every one by his riches and his munificence. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book Free
He continues happy in the love of the fair Tryamour, until an untoward adventure interrupts his bliss. One day the queen beholds him dancing, with other knights, before her tower, and, inspired with a sudden affection, makes amorous advances to the knight. These passages of love are received on his part with an indignant repulse.
Accompanied by a declaration more enthusiastic than politic or courteous, that his heart was given to a dame, the foulest of whose maidens surpassed the queen in beauty. The offence thus given naturally effected an entire conversion in the queen’s sentiments; and, when Arthur returned from hunting, like Potiphar’s wife, she charges Launfal with attempting her honour.
The charge is credited, and the unhappy knight condemned to be burned alive, unless he shall, against a certain day, produce that peerless beauty. The fatal day arrives; the queen is urgent for the execution of the sentence, when ten fair damsels, splendidly arrayed, and mounted on white palfreys, are descried advancing toward the palace. The Fairy Mythology PDF Book Free
They announce the approach of their mistress, who soon appears, and by her beauty justifies the assertion of her knight. Sir Launfal is instantly set at liberty, and, vaulting on the courser his mistress had bestowed on him, and which was held at hand by his squire, he follows her out of the town.