I’ve been reading a lot about faeries. Before they became benign, animated symbols of childhood, particularly feminine childhood, they were much darker creatures – manifestations of people’s fear. Faeries were, in fact, born from fear. In their earliest incarnation, they represented primal fears. Fear of the dark, fear of dying, fear of one’s own body or natural processes.
Over time, faeries evolved, but they were always the creatures that made things go wrong, particularly with women, children, childbirth, and child rearing. Changelings – creatures who took the place of a human baby – were a real threat.
Faeries were also a manifestation of things people couldn’t say. Of taboos and things too awful to be spoken of.