Fairies are mythical creatures that have been a part of many folklores across numerous cultures of the world.
Fairies are a kind of supernatural spirit and thus are generally considered to be immortal, though they can be killed by a variety of different means.
Keeping that in mind, it has been believed that fairies’ lifespans can reach up to thousands of years.
What are Fairies?
According to ancient French romance tales, a ‘faie’ or ‘fee’ creature referred to a woman with magical abilities. These ‘faie’ women were known to have powers that made use of natural elements such as herbs, along with the ability to channel words.
In a similar strain, the word ‘fairy’ in the modern sense refers to an enchantment or even an illusion.
Before we can explore the nature of their lifespans, it is helpful to understand the kind of mythical creatures that fairies are. The type of fairy and the physical traits it has dictates how long it will live.
A fairy that is able to conceal itself well in its environment will be more likely to save itself from harm’s way.
According to traditional folklore and even modern interpretations, fairies resemble humans but have several distinct features that help them stand apart.
- Diminutive Size: one of the most important characteristics of fairies are their small sizes, which usually are similar to the sizes of present day insects such as bumblebees and butterflies.
- Pointed Ears: according to traditional beliefs, most fairies have pointed ears that face upwards. It is believed that the pointedness of the ears reflect the sharpness in the auditory capacities of these magical creatures, allowing them to hear tiny sounds over long distances.
- Green Eyes: in some cultures, fairies are considered to have bright green eyes that help them conceal themselves within their environment to escape potential threats with greater success. Moreover, most fairies are thought to have extremely powerful eyesight that helps them detect movement across large spaces.
- Wings: most fairies have wings that allow them to fly. The wings are often shaped in a way similar to that of dragonflies or even butterflies.
The magical elements in fairies allow them to change their shape and sizes according to their will, however the extent to which they can do so depends on various cultural traditions.
It is relevant to consider how fairies are often associated with having devious, cunning, and even malicious emotive and behavioral tendencies.
The Lifespan of an Average Fairy
As mentioned previously, different cultures and traditions sport a significant variation in the lifespan they attribute to fairies. Despite the differences in their cultural backgrounds, most people agree that fairies can live extremely long lives spanning across thousands of years, provided that they are not mortally wounded or killed.
Different fairies have different kinds of experiences, which in turn affect how long they will live. For fairies who live within woods or forests, having the ability to camouflage can be a matter of life and death when fleeing from a potential threat to their safety.
It has been conjectured that fairies who are good at blending within their environment, or those who have powers such as superior eyesight or hearing abilities are equipped to stay away from those who have malicious intent directed towards them.
What Kills Fairies
Fairies are known to live thousands of years, however, this does not mean that they are traditionally immortal. In popular and traditional cultures, fairies can be killed or have their lifespans reduced for a variety of reasons. Here is a rundown of the most important hazards to fairy health.
- Exposure to Iron: when fairies are exposed to iron, they think, “I run,” literally. For fairies, iron has the ability to burn their skin seriously and even suck away their powers after prolonged exposure, leaving them extremely vulnerable to external threats. Direct contact with the purest form of iron has the power to hurt and incapacitate fairies severely.
- Spells and Poisons: like most magical creatures, fairies can die or have their living years reduced to magical ailments such as evil spells and charms cast by other magic beings. Similarly, they can also be poisoned by deadly herbs and other toxic substances. If the appropriate antidote is not given to them in time, exposure to poisonous substances can kill them.
- Their Mischievous Tendencies: Considering their mischievous, and at times even malicious habits and temperaments, fairies can themselves be a cause for their premature deaths. By offending and alienating strangers around their locality with their tricks, they are known to be hunted and caught by many creatures whom they have slighted.
- Bodily Damage: it is not hard to believe that fairies, like any other mortal creatures, can be hurt physically. Physical damage to a fairy’s body can significantly decrease its lifespan, if not end it entirely. Fairies can be harmed by injury through weapons such as swords and even by iron bullets as in modern popular culture.
- Lack of Belief: according to popular culture, fairies such as the famous Tinkerbell from the story of ‘Peter Pan’ are known to cease existing if people stop believing in them.
It is often thought what would happen if fairies stay clear of all these things that can potentially harm them. According to some beliefs, fairies who stay clear of anything dangerous would probably live forever.
Remember, since fairies have exceptionally long lifespans, no single human has ever been able to record how long they live. But from what has been thought, fairies don’t appear to age physically and are interestingly not susceptible to illnesses.
Fairies are fascinating mythological creatures whose charm lies in their magical and often illusory powers, along with their mischievous dispositions. Due to their enigmatic existence, many people wonder how long do fairies live.
As established in the text, fairies have incredibly long lifespans that can stretch to thousands of years, provided that they are not killed.
It is evident that numerous things can cut short a fairy’s life ranging from physical harm such as exposure to iron to even a simple lack of belief in their existence.
Also Read: Do Fairies Have Tails?