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Types of Fairies

In the original mythology fairies were the souls which inhabited everything, including plants, animals and objects. This means that by necessity there are thousands even millions of unique fairies. This is why it's easier to understand the categories or types of fairies.

This article is just a synopsis of the different types of fairies for a longer discussion visit the fairies homepage.

Adern Y Corph
(Welsh Fairy)
A death portent in the form of a bird which sings outside the door of a person who’s going to die.

Aengus (Irish)
“I am Aengus; men call me the Young. I am the sunlight in the heart, the moonlight in the mind; I am the light at the end of every dream, the voice for ever calling to come away; I am desire beyond joy or tears. Come with me, come with me: I will make you immortal; for my palace opens into the Gardens of the Sun, and there are the fire-fountains which quench the heart’s desire in rapture.”
Extracted from “Fairy Faith in the Celtic Lands” by Wentz

One of the Tuatha De Danann who became an important part of the folk religions of Ireland and who's home appears to have been one of the places fairies lived.

Afanc (Welsh)
There are a number of different tales of the Afanc which either describe it as a water demon or a creature that looks like a mix between crocodile and beaver. In all cases, however, it was a dangerous creature which would prey on those who went into its lake.
In one of the more interesting of the Afanc's tales the creature kills three of the kings sons (chieftains) every day when they go to slay the Afanc and everyday the court maidens bring these sons back to life. Finally a man named Peredur asks to go out with the three chieftains, but they refuse as they wouldn't be able to bring him back to life. Determined Peredur strikes out on his own so that he might slay the Afanc and thus increase his own fame and honor. On his way he meets a maiden (The Queen of Constantinople who is most likely a stand in for what was previously another fairy figure or  shaman figure). This 'fairy or shaman' gives Peredur a stone that allows him to see things which are invisible for the Afanc as it turns out has this ability, just as it has the ability to shoot poisoned darts at it's victims.
In  Still Another Tale the Afanc acts like a unicorn and lays it's head in a maidens lap allowing the villagers to capture it.

Aillan Mac Midhna (Irish)
A Tuatha De Danann Musician who would come out on Samain Day and lull people to sleep with his music before breathing fire to burn up Tara.

See the Full List of Fairies

House Fairies
Not all fairies lived within the wilderness, indeed as time went on the fairies which people told the most tales of lived within their homes. These household fairies came in four types.
The first type were the spirits of dead relatives who continued to live with and take care of their family.
The second type of house fairy are tree fairies which continue to live in the wood which a house is built from. These fairies can be dangerous and often act like poltergeists.
The third type of fairy in this category are banished from the fairy kingdom and so must serve humans. These fairies are mischeivious and at times womanizers (when male) but can be very friendly.
The final type of house fairy is connected to households for some unknown reason. Such fairies include brownies which move easily from one house to another but which don't appear to be seeking to find a way to return home as the human houses appear to be their favored home.

Plant Spirits
For the Germanic and Slavic peoples the spirits of plants were the most important of the fairies. There are two types of plant fairies which are of primary importance to people.

Tree Fairies
Tree fairies are very closely connected to humans, in Greek and Germanic Mythology humans are descended from tree fairies. Further Zeus, Thor and similar deities likely started out as tree fairies. In addition to the more powerful fairies tree fairies also included wood wives, which are ancient pixie like beings.

Field Fairies
Fairies of the crops which live within the sheaves of grain on a farm. These types of fairies can take animal or human form. People would trap these fairies in the last sheaves of grain, or at times kill them.

Earth Fairies
Rock Fairies
The spirits of rocks are the most important fairies of the Scandinavian peoples. They are some of the shyest type of fairies appearing to humans only in dreams. They are normally very helpful, aiding people with herding animals and  and protecting people. However, they are also very sensitive so if they witness violence they become dangerous and haunt a place like a restless ghost.

Mountain Fairies
The most important types of fairies to the Japanese and many Asian peoples. They also tend to appear to people in dreams. They aid people on quests and help the crops to grow in a region.
More on Earth Fairies

Humans Who Became Fairies

Taken by fairies
Some humans are taken and raised by fairies and in this way they become fairies.

Spirits of the Dead
In many cultures including that of the Celts, the Romans, Germans, Slavics, Greeks, etc humans could become fairies when they died. 

Human Societies
The main fairies of Ireland and Wales were human societies which were driven into the earth and became fairies in order to survive.
More on Humans as Fairies
More on Humans which become fairies
More on the spirits of the dead as fairies