The Blue Fairy And Her Celtic Relations
by Teresa Martin (@Teresa__Martin)
From her first appearance on Once Upon a Time, there was something about the Blue Fairy that made me suspicious. She was inexplicably different from the fairies in the Disney cartoons, yet I could not quite figure out why. My unease grew with the character as the first season progressed. In "Dreamy" I felt that she was being passive aggressive and conniving with Nova and Grumpy, and in "The Return" she confirmed that Rumplestiltskin could reunite with his son through a curse. Would such a powerful being really be so careless as to inadvertently reveal dangerous knowledge to a man like Rumplestiltskin? I could not bring myself to believe that. Then the final straw occurred when this powerful, allegedly good fairy consented so easily to the infamous lie that only one person could enter the tree portal. I concluded that the Blue Fairy was untrustworthy, manipulative, and something of a trickster. Then a friend suggested that of course she is all of those things.
After all, isn't she a fairy?
This point reminded me of my childhood in Ireland where the fairies I knew were derived from the myths and lore of Celtic countries. Stories about these beings would be read in school, and friends told me tales of their antics resulting in more than a few sleepless nights. This fairy-inspired terror particularly recurred when I cycled home from piano lessons on dark winter afternoons. The route brought me to a dark clump of bushes and trees. As I passed, I would pedal as hard as I could, determinedly looking away from the dreaded patch, entirely convinced a fairy was waiting for me. More specifically, I dreaded that the Banshee would appear and start shrieking. The bone-chilling keen of this fairy, classified by some to be a ghost, was heard when the death of oneself or a family member was imminent.
More commonly, fairies were known for malignant actions towards humans, even bringing about death. Some would do so by luring people to a precipice or a hole in a bridge resulting in fatal falls. Others would confuse people at night so that they wandered aimlessly through the dangerous countryside to the point of madness. Very disturbing for a young one were the tales of fairies who would steal children away from their families, replacing them with "changelings." These looked and talked just like the abducted child, so parents would not know their real loved ones were gone and demonic entities had taken their places. The livelihoods of people were also in peril from the fairies who would spoil meat, steal portions of milk to prevent butter from being made, scatter cattle, or cause pestilence and sudden death. These creatures were not the friends of humans.
Explore the Arthurian legend surrounding Lancelot, take a trip into the woods to discover the mythology behind Red Riding Hood or learn more about a modern day hero called Snow White. Origins provides unique insights and perspectives from talented writers into the characters we know and love, going far beyond the boundaries of Storybrooke.