#7 Arms and legs as thin as threads, and heads that rolled about on their shoulders…

A sneak peek at some of the denizens of fairyland you’ll meet in The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies…

#7 Strangers, the

A Lincolnshire term for fairies.

Illustration ©Andy Paciorek
Illustration ©Andy Paciorek

Other Lincolnshire names for the fairies included greencoaties, tiddy ones, and yarthkins. People often used euphemistic terms to talk about the fairies, for they were said to become angered or offended if referred to directly.

The Strangers were said to be a curious-looking bunch. According to an account collected by Mrs Balfour in Legends of the Carrs (1891), the Strangers were no taller than a hand-span in height, with arms and legs as thin as threads, large hands and feet, and heads that rolled about on their shoulders. They had long noses and wide mouths with great red tongues poking out. They dressed in grass-green jackets and trousers and yellow bonnets that looked like toadstools. On summer nights they could be seen dancing in the moonlight on great slabs of rock, while on winter evenings they danced in fireplaces while the household slept.

Check back for more on the weird and wonderful world of fairyland from The Element Encyclopedia of Fairies, released 28 August, 2014.