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Tara the Corn Faerie

Tara Among the myriad types of faeries throughout the world of man and the Realm of Faerie itself, there is one type known collectively as the 'garden-variety' faerie. Many are closely connected to the harvest and some are descendants of ancient meadow and field spirits that have slipped into a form of agricultural domestication just as the landscape they inhabited did. Some of these spirits are more closely related to earth spirits- such as the potato-gnomes. Several of the garden-variety faeries can be found in small, well-kept vegetable and herb gardens, the only exception being those gardens in which gardeners use poisons to kill unwanted insects or rodents. These poisons can often cause severe illness in the faeries- most faeries also claim the smell is unbearable. Also, one of the primary functions of the little spirits is that of protecting their homes from harmful pests. It is even believed by some observers of the Faerie World that many of the garden spirits may feed off of slain rodents and harmful insects. This has been observed, however, in only one breed of garden-variety faerie, namely the corn faeries.

Corn faeries are the spirits of all grain or cereal bearing plants, including barley, hops and all other plants used for brewing ales, beers and other such beverages. This also says much about the corn faeries' nature, which can be very unpredictable and sometimes even violent. One moment the corn faeries may be frolicking about the corn-tassels like strange green and yellow butterflies, then the next they may turn and attack any passing human like an angry swarm of bees. Corn faeries can assure that the creatures, human and otherwise, that eat of the grain from their fields will be well fed and healthy. At the same time, these capricious spirits will mislead any unwary person foolish enough to wander into one of their fields after sunset, much like a will-o-the-wisp, causing them to wander in a panic from phantom pursuers until dawn, the noises fading to laughter with the rising sun. (The relatively recent practice of making artificial 'corn mazes' was inspired by such experiences.) One very famous member of this family of faeries is the spirit of the barley plant, John Barleycorn, of which so many songs have been written.



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