Columbine: The Great Palace is one of the wonders of the Land of Faery, made of starlight and moonbeams, of fairy laughter and fairy blood, but the Queen has decided it needs a touch of the exotic.

Hence my mission in the human world: to review various portrayals of fairies in art and literature, and choose the best to bring back for the new palace.

Art for the palace walls and courtyards that doesn’t change when you look at it but stays the same forever. Books for the library not made of moonshine and dreamstuff, but solid books printed on a press. Naturally to survive here they must have some touch at least of fairy magic, not be all earth-bound or grim. So they must be chosen carefully. That’s where I come in.

My name is Columbine. I have been to the human world quite recently. Last time Sophie Anderson painted my picture. Pretty, isn’t it? The butterfly wings were very fashionable then. Of course I’ll wear a different disguise this time.

Robin, who has been coming and going between here and there since the Great Exodus, and who consequently knows all about the human world, is going to act as my guide. Robin calls himself “a friend to humanity” – he has always been interested in how they see us, so he can show me pictures of fairies in art galleries and point out interesting statues and so on. He has even agreed to leave his beloved England and take me to other countries!

Robin: If I must. May I ask? You keep saying fairies in art etc. I’m not quarrelling with your spelling, fairies, faeries, same difference, and bad fairies as well as good, check, but you do mean elves and pixies and goblins and so on as well?

Columbine: Of course. They are all of the Folk.

Robin: Mermaids, selkies, naiads?

Columbine: Yes, why not?

Robin: How about demons?

Columbine: Certainly not! They are not anything like fairies!

Robin: Just checking! (heehee) So that means not angels either, not Olympians, not Aesir?

Columbine: They are rather too serious and grand.

Robin: Not always, the way the humans tell it. Let’s throw them into the bag. We don’t have to keep them.

Columbine: If you say so. But no demons.

Robin: Suits me. And you are prepared to go anywhere, galleries, nurseries, theatres, schools? Cyberspace?

Columbine: I am in your hands, good Robin.

Robin: Aha! That’s what I like to hear. This is going to be fun! All of you fairies in art and literature everywhere, watch out, we’re coming to get you!

Here are some of the different things we will be considering…

Fairies in Art
A review of various fairies in art of all kinds, including paintings, book illustrations, sculpture, mosaics, jewellery and so on
Fairy Tales
Why fairy tales are often short on fairies, the origin of fairy godmothers, and some great writers
Fantasy Fairies
Columbine’s collection of fantasy fairies, or fairies in fantasy fiction.
Fantasy Elves
Fantasy elves, or elves in fantasy fiction, their origins and influences, with reviews of the books in which they appear
Fantasy Mermaids and other Water Folk
Fantasy mermaids, mermen, naiads and other spirits of the seas, lakes and rivers, as interpreted in literature.