If you love fantasy literature or gaming, then you likely have a strong love for fairies as well. Whether the comical brownies of the movie Willow or the treacherous but romantic faerie royalty of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, there is this fascination with the legends of myths of these supernatural creatures. Mythology speaks of hobgoblins in mines, brownies protecting homes, will o’ the wisp leading people astray, and changelings stealing children. Literature delves into their tales from various perspectives like J.R. R. Tolkien’s love of Fairy Stories, the heroic fairy found in Narnia by C.S. Lewis, the good and evil fae of the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, and the devious and political Summer and Winter Courts of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Cinema loves to helps us visualize fairy with Tinkerbell from Peter Pan, Honeythorn Gump and Oona from Legend, and the Goblin King and his goblins in Labyrinth. As you can tell from my ramblings, I have a passion for fairies and often use them in my games. So, when I stumbled upon this book in a used bookstore well over twenty years ago now, I was hooked. It has remained in my library ever since, as a priceless resource for bringing fairies to life in my roleplaying games and stories.
An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures by Katharine Briggs is an amazing book that is an encyclopedia of European fairy lore, as well as essays on fairy abilities, economy, magic, society and more. 453 pages of incredible research into the mythology and lore of fairies is well organized for easy reference. Beyond describing more fairies than you have ever heard of, it has essays on great topics like Captives in Fairyland, Changelings, Fairy Morality, Grateful Fairies, Origin of the Fairies, Secret Names of Fairies, Seeing Fairies, Visits to Fairyland, and more. Each is well researched with full references in the book.
If you are looking for a book you can use as a detailed reference on fairy lore, than I recommend you seek out a used copy of this book.