The Power of Fairies

Recently, I
realized the power of fairies. Yes, fairies.
The Tooth Fairy

My girls
still have all their baby teeth, but they’re looking forward to their first tooth
fairy visit. One night they were delaying brushing their teeth, making funny
faces in the mirror instead.
I remarked,
“You know, the tooth fairy loves clean teeth.”
They got to
brushing right away.

Making a fairy house can be simple and fun for kids...

Fairy Houses
Then, a few
days later, after I’d wasted too much time fantasizing about perfect fairy
houses on Pinterest, I suggested we make our own fairy houses. I envisioned
beauty in miniature, our own moss-covered little fairy garden (like the one pictured below from Tinker Lab), and enchanting fairy tales at bedtime.

Fairy Garden from Tinker Lab
Source: Tinker Lab

My girls had
their own ideas. They chattered away about what kinds of fairies would come,
what colors they’d prefer, and whether we could catch one. I reminded them that
fairies are shy and don’t like to be seen.
Reality Check
Clearly, we
all needed a reality check. So I set to work figuring out a realistic
While the fairy
houses I’d pinned are inspiring, we needed something simpler. We popped over to
our local craft store and bought two wooden birdhouses for $1.50 each.
I thought
about busting out a saw to make the doors rectangular instead of round. Then I
considered my woodworking skill level and thought better of it. Our fairies
will just have to squeeze through a small round door. I’m sure their magic will
As for the
mossy garden? It’s still summer in Texas. Not gonna happen. And the fairy tales?
Well, more on that later.
What Colors Do Fairies Like?
We put on
our paint shirts, covered the table in newspaper, and got out the acrylic
paints. My girls were eager to get started.

Making a fairy house can be simple and fun for kids...
worked with seriousness and concentration.

Making a fairy house can be simple and fun for kids...
We had fun
mixing colors to get just the right shade. In fact, we had so much fun that the
girls changed their minds several times, painting over their prior color
This house
started out green on the front.
Making a fairy house can be simple and fun for kids...
But then my
little painter decided to add another coat. In pink.
Making a fairy house can be simple and fun for kids...
Twin Sister,
on the other hand, started out with all yellow everywhere,
Making a fairy house can be simple and fun for kids...
ultimately opted for green.
They are so
proud of their results, and I’m pleased that we kept it simple enough for them
to do independently. They were busy for a good hour, at least. Now that is some fairy power!

Fairy Tales without Fairies
The girls
asked a ton of hard-to-answer questions about fairies. I deflected.
I asked, “What do you think?”
Like most five-year-olds, they used their imaginations and
filled in all kinds of details for themselves. I went with the flow, but it
bothered me that I didn’t know more.
for a quick primer, I turned to some modern magic, er… Google. It turns out
that the folklore on fairies varies widely. There are many different types of
fairies. No wonder I was confused.
As I dug a little further, I found that the term “fairy tale“ is used for any folktale that has a regular human main character plus a magical element – which could include fairies. It’s sort of the magical realism of folktales. (I love magical realism in my grown up reading – Isabel Allende is one of my favorite authors).

Next, I went
looking for a good fairy tale. At first I only found one —ONE! — that actually contains a fairy. 
We have an older, out of
print book, Going to Bed Tales by
treasured British illustrator Mabel Lucie Attwell. In one of the stories, “The
Shoemaker’s Daughter,” an insolent, toadstool-sized, chubby cheeked fairy plays
a central role. She steals golden slippers made for a princess, and the
shoemaker’s daughter must rectify the situation. 
I was pretty sure that this
story is my girls’ main exposure to literary fairies.

Then I had a
big duh moment. Cinderella! Peter Pan!
How could I have missed those?
At the
library today, I picked up three books on fairies and fairy tales. I also
indulged myself and got a new novel, so I may or may not read up further on
fairies. I think I already know what I need to know about them and their
magical powers.
The awesome
tooth brushing going on here is all the evidence I need.
This is just a stock photo, but he’s cute, isn’t he!

P.S.     I peeked at the library books. I highly recommend The Hidden Folk: Stories of Fairies, Dwarves, Selkies, and Other Secret Beings, by Lise Lunge-Larsen. It has two delightful stories featuring flower fairies.


  1. We love fairies too! They create magic all around us! I also recommend Disney's Encyclopedia of Fairies.

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