Using Legends and Fairy Tales in Books

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Over the years, I’ve done a lot of research on fairies and elves. I’ve learned so much that I wanted to share some of the facts that I’ve found. Some of the research I was able to include in my books. Other facts are just fun to know. Together, it sometimes is good to see where a story starts. After all, every legend needs to start with someone telling the story.

The Top Interesting Facts I’ve Learned About Elves and Fairies:

1) Elves came from the fairy legends and evolved mostly from the changing of court society about 1,000 years ago. The courtiers wanted to hear tales and legends, but they wanted stories to reflect the life of court. Bards started to embellish their songs and tales to reflect this change in society. Thus, elves were born out of necessity to create fairies that reflected the human’s lives that listened to the stories.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. The Disney Castle design was based on this castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. The Disney Castle design was based on this castle.

2) Dragons most likely came from people finding dinosaur bones. To explain what a Pterodactyl might have been, a dragon tale was born. Similar discoveries of early human tools had tales made up about them. Often they were considered tools of the Fey Folk that had come before. Tales told of the mysterious people leaving to different lands. Again, many times stories were used to explain what science explains today.

3) Traveling will gain you lots of information. I discovered the Menehune in Hawaii while on vacation. They are the little dwarf-like fairies that come from Hawaiian legend. They love to mend things, and some people will leave gifts to gain help from them. I bought a book on Hawaiian legends, and it was helpful when my main character Wanda, travels to Hawaii in The Lost Secret of Dragonfire.

Untersberg Sign at the top of the peak in the German Alps.

Untersberg Sign at the top of the peak in the German Alps.


4) I learned to take lots of pictures. You never know where an elf may live. The classic is the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, pictured at the top, in which the Disneyland Castle is based. I also take pictures of plagues of local legends. I discovered legends of dwarves that live within Untersberg, one of the peaks in the German Alps. My imagination soared with these legends as a stepping ground.

5) Leprechauns are one of the most famous fairies or fey in Irish myths. The legends tell of Leprechauns being solitary shoemakers. According to Sir Walter Scott’s book “Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry”, they are also confused or combined with two other fairies, The Cluricaun and the Red Man. The Cluricaun tends to hide in the cellar while the Red Man enjoys doing practical jokes. Sometimes they are considered the happy brothers of the Leprechaun.

The Leprechaun is one of the most famous type of fairies.

The Leprechaun is one of the most famous type of fairies.

The Leprechaun legend continues with tales of becoming rich if one can find the Leprechauns gold from selling his shoe wares. Later in legends, the rainbow became a marker for the hiding spot of the Leprechauns acquired treasure.

So, I’ve gathered and learned a lot about the Fey. Elves, fairies, and dwarves have proved to be a very interesting subject. Like most writers, I learn a lot about my subject, but can’t always include all of the details in my books. That’s why books are so exciting. I enjoy the research as much as writing the book.
References:

“Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry” by Walter Scott. Original published date 1888.

“Encyclopedia Mythologica: Fairies and Magical Creatures” by Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.

**This post can be used for teachers meeting Common Core Standards for Fourth Grade.

CCS ELA Reading Subject: Within range for literature focusing on myth, legends and fairy tales in a nonfiction format.

CCS ELA Writing 4.1: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using
effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

CCS ELA Writing 4.5 : 5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen
writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing.

CCS ELA Speaking and Listening Skills: 4.3 : 3. Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker or media source provides to
support particular points.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. This is her 17th year of teaching. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

**Follow to connect with more Common Core related blog posts over the next few months. Available for use in the classroom courtesy of Tiffany Turner.

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One response »

  1. Pingback: The Panic Over Common Core | The Indie Children's Authors Connection

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