"It is as if one of the fairies, whom we left in our dear old England, had decked her out to meet us"
Titania, the Queen of Fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream (1886)
Public DomainTitania, the Queen of Fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream (1886) - Credit: Richard Dadd

Fairies were very different entities in pre-Reformation British England and New England. British folktales and literature teem with fairy folk, the pens of literary giants such as William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser making these elusive beings visible before the mortal gaze they usually avoided. Here, they are creatures of wonder and enchantment, albeit ones to be treated with caution. For Puritans, however, fairies were the accursed progeny of Satan. With their magical abilities to divine the future, to fly and to cast spells, they were inextricably allied with witches, and indeed having dealings with them was a sure sign of witchcraft. 

Fairy - detail from Titania and Botton (a1794)
Public DomainFairy - detail from Titania and Botton (a1794) - Credit: Johann Heinrich Füssli