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Beliefs about fairies imply that their world lies close alongside the human world, often underground; it is a place of beauty and luxury which humans normally cannot reach, or even see. Some, however, may enter it by accident, for instance by stepping into a fairy ring; others may be invited, or abducted, by the fairies. The theme is relatively, rare in England, though common in Scotland and Wales, and is chiefly found in areas of Celtic influence. Four elaborate and rather romantic stories from Cornwall are in Bottrell (1873: 173–85) and Hunt (1865: 114–18, 120–6). Three concern girls who go to work for a fairy master as nursemaid to his child, and eventually return home; in the fourth, a man loses his way on the moors and finds himself in a house where fairies are feasting and dancing, and where he might have been held captive forever if a girl, formerly human, had not warned him neither to eat nor drink there. An oral tale from Wigmore (Herefordshire), collected in 1909, tells how a girl joined a fairy dance and vanished for a year, which to her seemed only a day (Leather, 1912: 45–6).


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