Fairies and elves: Fascinating little ones

07 Aug 2010

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In the far north of Pakistan lies a beautifully serene lake surrounded by meadows of breathtaking wild flowers. this paradise, surrounded by protective, snow capped mountains is called Lake Saiful Muluk and is just six miles from Naran, a popular tourist resort.

The lake and meadows, sometimes called Fairy Lake and Fairy Meadows, are supposed to be the abode of fairies which wouldn't be at all surprising as the entire area has a magical feel to it.

Local legend recalls how a handsome prince, called Saiful Muluk, caught a glimpse of the fairy who lived in this remote valley and fell madly in love with her, stealing away her clothes from where they lay drying in the sunshine as she swam in a small pool. The demure fairy, agreed to marry the prince in order to get her clothes back but when her bad fairy boyfriend came to know of the deal, he was so violently angry that he flooded the entire valley to drown both of their homes. In this way the lake, an incredible cerulean blue colour and dotted with miniature icebergs during the spring thaw, came in to being. The lake is approximately one kilometre long, is 3,500 metres above sea level and many people claim that fairies still live in the area as they have done since time immemorial.

Stories of fairies, pixies, goblins and elves are told all over the Himalayan region, being handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth rather than in writing; and these mysterious creatures, collectively called 'Peri' in Pashto, are also said to live throughout Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and just about every other country of the world. But, the big question is... are fairies and other types of little people real?

Ancient historical references suggest that little people are supernatural creatures who could appear and disappear at will but which were mostly seen by children rather than adults although, in some instances, adults have seen them too. Myths claim that fairies were originally nasty, wicked creatures that, over generations, learnt to be generous and good except for the occasional rouge who can still be very bad at times.

Lady fairies are thought to be dainty, fragile, winged creatures who prefer to live in forests, woodlands and other quite places. They are also said to have a definite affinity with flowers and water and their favourite place to live is right beside a pretty pond surrounded with flowers. Magical creatures, they can make your wishes come true... if they like!

Some researchers are of the opinion that fairies and their relatives, live in a universe that is parallel to our own and know the secret of slipping from their reality to our own world for brief periods of time. Other people, usually cynics who don't believe anything until it is proven right before their own eyes, consider the existence of little people to be nothing more than a fantasy.

Elves, male relatives of fairies, are, according to mythology, very long lived and much prefer to steer clear of humans in any shape or form. Generally sticking to their own world, the occasional elf is ordered to make the dangerous trip to the human world once in a while to see what humans are up to and the selected elf arrives here, frightened out of his wits, heavily armed with swords and bow and arrows to protect himself if need be. The obvious exception to this is the cheerful band of merry elves who help Santa with his year round work and seasonal deliveries as is depicted in countless fairy tales, books and in both television programmes and films.

Pixies on the other hand, can be very mischievous and reportedly spend much of their time learning and practicing magic. Like fairies, pixies are most at home in forests which they do their very best to protect themselves from harm. They have the ability to make themselves invisible so that no one knows when they are around.

Some historical accounts say that all little people, this includes fairies, elves, pixies, gnomes, leprechauns, peris and lots of others all over the world, inhabited the planet way before 'big people' arrived on the scene and that when these giants (meaning us) invaded their territories, they had no option but to go underground, making their abodes inside hills and deep in thick forests where they still live.

They were mostly written about from 1300A.D. onwards, before this time people who could read and write were extremely few and far between and, even in the 1300s writing was fairly uncommon and completely unknown amongst ordinary people. Kings and queens could learn to read and write if they wanted to but mostly this achievement was reserved for religious leaders of all kinds. Way before this period of time, however, fairy stories were written down by the ancient Egyptians as long ago as 1300BC and the famous Greek author, Aesop, compiled his well known Aesop's Fables in the Sicth Century when little people were taken very seriously indeed!

As knowledge became more available then stories of little people were woven into folk tales and mythology such as recorded by the man who was claimed to be the best storyteller of all time, a Danish man called Hans Christian Andersen; although an Italians, Matteo Boiardo and Ludovico Aristo wrote down fairy tales too as did Charles Perrault, from France and countless others.

These days' tales involving fairies, gnomes, pixies and all of their many relatives are extremely popular in the film word with Tinkerbelle and Peter Pan being a good example. Fairies also appear in Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White amongst thousands of others and, believe it or not, were even written about by William Shakespeare in some of his plays.

It appears that whilst humans may doubt the existence of little people, which may, according to some sources, actually be forms of angels, we all, irrespective of age, have a secret longing to believe in at least the possibility of them being real.