The Dangers of 'Fair Trade' With Fairies, By Lillian Csernica


Fairies are among the sneakiest and least forgiving of all supernatural creatures.

It's dangerous to make a deal with any supernatural creature. The Wee Folk in particular are famous for their arrogance, touchy temper, fondness for playing pranks, and their tendency to steal anything from thimbles to fully grown human beings. This being so, humans would do well to avoid being put in the position of making any kind of deal with one or more of the Fae.

As the saying goes, good stories come from bad decisions, so folklore has more than a few tales of humans who have tried to solve a problem by making a deal with a fairy. The usual pattern of folk tales results in the fairy coming up with an interpretation of the deal's terms that makes the human's problems that much worse. Often the human's own carelessness brings about an unforseen fulfillment of the terms of the deal.

Most of the time the fairies get the best of humans, but there are occasions when the human comes out the winner. Outsmarting the Wee Folk is not a good way to make long term friends of them. Matters go two ways from there. One, the fairies respect the human and keep their distance. Two, the fairies' revenge is well timed and very costly.


Lillian's fiction has appeared in Fantastic StoriesThese Vampires Don't Sparkle, and DAW'S The Year's Best Horror Stories XXI and XXII.  Her Christmas ghost story "The Family Spirit" appeared in Weird Tales #322 and "Maeve" appeared in #333.

The perils of bargaining with a powerful fairy is the central theme of her short story "Beware the Fairy's Price." This story will appear in Wee Folk and Wise, a new anthology forthcoming from Sky Warrior Press. Visit Lillian at


  1. You're right, fairies are so charming and beautiful that it seems like nothing could go wrong... until it does!

    1. So true! I've started the book. Three stories in, and I'm really enjoying it.

    2. That charm, that glamor, is what makes fairies so dangerous. They can show us what we want to see and use our dreams against us!

  2. Seems to me humans would fare much better with fairies if they took them seriously . . . at least in folk tales.

    1. But idiotic human behavior is the cornerstone of all storytelling! 😜

    2. Indeed it is! The Wee Folk don't need diversions such as TV and videogames when they have all the silliness of human nature to entertain them!

    3. If the story is well written, the characters will have a compelling reason to take the gamble, even if their head is saying no.

  3. Fairy bargains are definitely a case of "be careful what you wish for". Even when the Kindly Ones play fair (and they do play by rules, just their own rules) the result is often not what the bargainer truly wanted. Such is the case in my own contribution to Wee Folk and Wise, "Gog from Magog". Caveat emptor.

  4. I'm reading the book and really enjoying it. Haven't gotten to your story yet, but I will!


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