When you think of the word “pixie,” what image pops into your mind? Most likely, your answer will be something along the lines of Tinkerbell or another small, fairy-type character from one of your favorite fairy tales.
However, sometimes this image is portrayed incorrectly in a lot of popular media. In fact, it might interest you to know that pixies do not have wings!
There is a rather strong debate as to whether or not pixies have wings, though, and there is some evidence on both sides of this argument.
In short, pixies do not have wings, but read on to find out more about the debate, the origins of pixies, and why people think they do have wings!
What Are Pixies & What Do They Look Like?
Pixies are small, mischievous mythical creatures from English Folklore that make their homes in barrow downs, burials, and other ancient sites. They often wear green and brown and have reddish or brownish hair, pointed ears, and stand between six and twelve inches.
They roam near the banks of rivers and streams, dancing and wrestling each other and committing their mischief on unwitting humans!
There are indeed some depictions of pixies that do have wings. These pixies are often green or blue in skin hue and have wings similar to that of a butterfly. This kind of pixie is a more modern rendition of the myth and is not in line with the original pixies found in English folklore.
Why Do People Think Pixies Have Wings?
The common misconception that pixies have wings comes mostly from modern fantasy media, fairy tales, movies, and other inaccurate depictions of pixies. Since these are mainly what people think of when they hear the word “pixie,” it makes sense that they would associate pixies with wings.
An example of an extremely popular “incorrect” depiction of pixies comes from Harry Potter. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, one of the professors brings a cage full of Cornish Pixies into the classroom to unleash upon the students.
Although they are mischievous and quick, just like in the folk tales of old, they are a deep blue in color and have very quick, small, almost hummingbird-like wings attached to their backs.
This example isn’t on its own in popular media either. Depictions of pixies are not only often inaccurate, but extremely inconsistent and varied as well.
A ton of different movies, books, television shows, games, and more have depicted pixies in all sorts of different ways. This has lead to a lot of misunderstanding as to what pixies originally were compared to what they’ve become as their image has further meshed with fairies.
In fact, pixies are often confused with fairies but are a distinct creature. In fact, in some legends, pixies and fairies do not get along, and have even done battle with each other!
Fairies are closer to what you are probably familiar with, and they do have wings! This confusion often leads to people conflating the two myths, causing them to think that pixies have wings as well, or not even considering that pixies and fairies are different.
Framing The Debate
It is interesting and perhaps important to note that within the confines of an argument about whether or not a mythical, fictional creature has wings, it is important to actually understand what creature we are arguing about.
Obviously, the answer is pixies! However, the varied representation of this creature can lend to making this a confusing and impossible debate. If you go with the modern representations you see, it is easy to understand why one would default to believing pixies have wings.
If you go with the traditional portrayal of the myth, you would think that pixies do not have wings.
The “correct” way would be to go with the original folklore, as this is when the definition of what a pixie is was set. That is why it is technically correct to say that pixies do not have wings. This does not make the newer depictions of pixies incorrect, bad, or wrong.
It just means they have strayed off the exact definition of what a pixie is in the original folklore. Whether this is good or not is a completely separate argument.
It is hard to blame people who think that pixies have always had wings, or need them in order to be pixies. In fact, there is an argument to be made that pixies have wings because that is how we portray them and understand them today, and as fictional creatures, this determines what they are.
However, the original understanding of pixies does come from English and Celtic folklore. In these stories, pixies are described as similar in build to people, just very, very small. Nowhere in the original folklore are wings mentioned, and it is, therefore, safe to assume they did not have them!