February 5, 2016

Mythical F

        Today’s selection of fantasy creatures of F span the continent of Europe, and have in common that they’re all somewhat ambivalent in whether or not they’re “good” to humans.  Of course it’s terribly anthropocentric that we always define creatures’ moral value in relation to ourselves, but then, perhaps the only purpose of fantasy creatures anyway is to help us define ourselves.  Still, I like to imagine their existence independent of humans.

fairy - Are fairies cute and sparkly, or powerful and perilous?  I went through a long, deep fairy phase in my childhood during which I was constantly drawing pictures of fairy families, usually fairy royalty, and constantly flitting around the yard dressed in gauzy fairy gowns.  I still find fairies interesting, despite all the clichés associated with them, and I featured them in the Kate and Sam Adventures at the request of my daughter, who was also fairly fairy-obsessed for a few years.  One of my works in progress, inspired by the Tam Lin ballads, explores the darker side of the fairies and their unpleasant changeling habit.  Here are some previous posts on these beings: Fairy vs Faerie, Midsummer Fairies, Come Away…,  (mostly Celtic and British Isles)

faun - a humanoid who is a goat from the waist down, with goat horns.  They’re often half-human, half-bestial in personality, too.  The ancient Greeks recognized them as being different from satyrs (whom they pictured as more equine, and much more about the sex), but the Romans often conflated the two species.  Fauns are creatures of the wilderness and sometimes strike panic (derived from Pan) in travelers. (ancient Greek)

firebird - a beautiful glowing bird resembling a peacock with flame-colored feathers that continue to glow brightly even after they’re shed.  Young heroes who find one feather inevitably end up going in search of the whole bird, suffering assorted hardships along the way.  The firebird’s favorite food is golden apples.  (Slavic)

Frankenstein’s monster - previous post here.

[Picture: Among the Violets, rubber block print by AEGN, 2013.]

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