Fairy

of nursery mythology is the personification of Providence. The good ones are called fairies, elves, elle-folks, and fays; the evil ones are urchins, ouphes, ell-maids, and ell-women.

Fairies, black, grey, green, and white,
You moonshine revellers, and shades of night,
You ouphen-heirs of fixed destiny,
Attend your office.

Shakespeare: Merry Wives of Windsor, v. 5.

The dress of the fairies.
They wear a red conical cap; a mantle of green cloth, inlaid with wild flowers; green pantaloons, buttoned with bobs of silk; and silver shoon. They carry quivers of adder-slough, and bows made of the ribs of a man buried where “three lairds' lands meet;” their arrows are made of bog-reed, tipped with white flints, and dipped in the dew of hemlock; they ride on steeds whose hoofs would not “dash the dew from the cup of a harebell.” (Cromek.

Fairies small, two foot tall,
With caps red on their head.

Dodsley's Old Plays; Fuimus Troes, i, 5.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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