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The aos sí is the term for a race that is supernatural in Scottish and Irish, akin to elves or the fairies. They are said to be the spirits of nature ancestors, or goddesses and gods. A common theme found one of the Celtic nations refers to a race of diminutive people who were driven into hiding by threatening humans. In older Celtic fairy lore that the Aos Sí are immortals living in the ancient barrows and cairns. The Irish banshee is sometimes called a ghost.

A fairy is a form of mythical being or legendary creature in European folklore, a form of spirit, frequently described as metaphysical, supernatural, or preternatural.

Fairies are usually described as human in appearance and having magical powers. Diminutive fairies of one kind or another have been recorded for centuries, but occur together with the human-sized beings; those have been depicted as ranging in size from very tiny up into the size of a human kid.

The Tuath Dé Danann are a race of supernaturally-gifted people in Irish mythology. They are thought to represent the principal deities of Gaelic Ireland. Lots of the Irish stories of the Tuatha Dé Danann refer to these beings as fairies, though in more ancient times they were considered as goddesses and gods. The Tuatha Dé Danann were spoken of as having come from islands in the north of the world or, in other resources, from the skies. After being defeated in a series of battles with other otherworldly beings, and then by the ancestors of the current Irish people, they were believed to have withdrawn to the sídhe , where they lived on in popular imagination as 'fairies.'

According to Thomas Keightley, the term 'fairy' derives from the Latin fata, and is from the Old French form faerie, describing 'enchantment'. Forms are the fata, and the Provençal 'fada'. In old French romance, 'fee' was a woman skilled in magic, and who knew the power and merit of phrases, of stones, and of blossoms.

At one time it was a common belief that fairy folklore evolved from folk memories of a prehistoric race. It had been suggested that newcomers drove out the original inhabitants, and the memories of this conquered, hidden people developed to the fairy beliefs we have now. Proponents of this theory claimed to find support in the custom of cold iron as a charm against the fairies, which was viewed as a cultural memory of invaders with iron weapons displacing inhabitants who had just flint and were therefore easily defeated. Some 19th-century archaeologists believed they'd discovered underground rooms in the Orkney islands including the Elfland in Childe Rowland.

There have been claims by people in the past, like William Blake, to have seen fairy funerals. Allan Cunningham in his Lives of Eminent British Painters records that William Blake claimed to have seen a fairy funeral. ' Did you find madam, a fairy's funeral?' Said Blake to a lady who happened to sit next to him. 'Never, sir!' Said the woman. ' I have,' said Blake, 'but not before last night' And he went on to tell how, in his garden, he had seen 'a procession of animals of this size and color of green and gray grasshoppers, bearing a body laid out on a rose-leaf, which they buried with tunes, and then disappeared.' They're thought to be an omen of death.

According to King James in his dissertation Daemonologie, the term 'faries' was used to describe illusory spirits that prophesy, consort, and transportation individuals they served
. In medieval times, it was believed that a witch or sorcerer who had a compact with a familiar spirit to serve them could receive these types of revelations or use them to carry out several tasks.


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