You are in:  Home - Folklore & Mythology - Scottish Fairy Belief
Scottish Fairy Belief
Reprinting 11 January 2018

Folklore & Mythology, History
John Donald
Publication Date
01 January 2007
Available for Sale
Birlinn Limited
8pp b/w plates

Scottish Fairy Belief

by Lizanne Henderson and Edward J. Cowan - Find out more about the author

The authorities told folk what they ought to believe, but what did they really believe? Throughout Scottish history, people have believed in fairies. They were a part of everyday life, as real as the sunrise, and as incontrovertible as the existence of God. While fairy belief was only a fragment of a much larger complex, the implications of studying this belief tradition are potentially vast,revealing some understanding of the worldview of the people of past centuries. This book, the first modern study of the subject, examines the history and nature of fairy belief, the major themes and motifs, the demonising attack upon the tradition, and the attempted reinstatement of the reality of fairies at the end of the seventeenth century, as well as their place in ballads and in Scottish literature.

Lizanne Henderson is Lecturer in History at Crichton Campus, University of Glasgow. Professor Edward J. Cowan is Emeritus Professor of Scottish History, University of Glasgow. He has written widely on the history of Viking Scotland, early modern Scottish political thought, Scottish popular culture and Scottish emigration history.