Types of Faeries in other cultures
An Apsara (also spelled as Apsarasa) is a female spirit of the clouds and waters in Hindu and Buddhist mythology.
An Apsara, is also known as Vidhya Dhari or Tep Apsar in Khmer, Accharā (Pāli) or A Bố Sa La Tư (Vietnamese), Bidadari (Indonesian & Malay), Biraddali (Tausug), Hapsari or Widodari (Javanese) and Apson. English translations of the word "Apsara" include "nymph," "celestial nymph," and "celestial maiden."
Apsaras are beautiful, supernatural female beings. They are youthful and elegant, and superb in the art of dancing. They are often the wives of the Gandharvas, the court musicians of Indra. They dance to the music made by the Gandharvas, usually in the palaces of the gods, entertain and sometimes seduce gods and men. As caretakers of fallen heroes, they may be compared to the valkyries of Norse mythology. As ethereal beings who inhabit the skies, and are often depicted taking flight, or at service of a god, they may be compared to angels.
Apsaras are said to be able to change their shape at will, and rule over the fortunes of gaming and gambling. Urvasi, Menaka, Rambha and Tilottama are the most famous among them. Apsaras are sometimes compared to the muses of ancient Greece, with each of the 26 Apsaras at Indra's court representing a distinct aspect of the performing arts. Apsaras are associated with water; thus, they may be compared to the nymphs, dryads and naiads of ancient Greece. They are associated with fertility rites.
There are two types of Apsaras; Laukika (worldly), of whom thirty-four are specified, and Daivika (divine), of which there are ten.
The Bhagavata Purana also states that the Apsaras were born from Kashyap and Muni.
A nymph (Greek]: νύμφη, nymphē) in Greek mythology and in Latin mythology is a minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or landform. There are 5 different types of nymphs, Celestial Nymphs, Water Nymphs, Land Nymphs, Plant Nymphs and Underworld Nymphs. Different from goddesses, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young nubile maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis. They are believed to dwell in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, and also in trees and in valleys and cool grottoes. Although they would never die of old age nor illness, and could give birth to fully immortal children if mated to a god, they themselves were not necessarily immortal, and could be beholden to death in various forms. Charybdis and Scylla were once nymphs.
Other nymphs, always in the shape of young maidens, were part of the retinue of a god, such as Dionysus, Hermes, or Pan, or a goddess, generally the huntress Artemis. Nymphs were the frequent target of satyrs. They are frequently associated with the superior divinities: the huntress Artemis; the prophetic Apollo; the reveller and god of wine, Dionysus; and rustic gods such as Pan and Hermes.
Pixies (also Pixy, Pixi, Pizkie, Piskies and Pigsies as they are sometimes known in Cornwall) are mythical creatures of folklore, considered to be particularly concentrated in the high moorland areas around Devon and Cornwall, suggesting some Celtic origin for the belief and name. Akin to the Irish and Scottish sidhe, pixies are believed to inhabit ancient underground ancestor sites such as stone circles, barrows, quoits, rounds or standing stones. In traditional regional lore, they are generally benign, mischievous, short of stature and attractively childlike; they are fond of dancing and gather outdoors in huge numbers to dance, or sometimes wrestle, through the night, demonstrating parallels with the Cornish plen-an-gwary and Breton Fest Noz (Cornish: troyl) folk celebrations originating in the medieval period. In modern times they are usually depicted with pointed ears, and often wearing a green outfit and pointed hat. Sometimes their eyes are described as being pointed upwards at the temple ends. These, however, are Victorian Era conventions and not part of the older mythology.
In modern use, the term can be synonymous with fairies or sprites. However, in folklore there is a traditional enmity, and even war between the two races.
The term sprite is a broad term referring to a number of supernatural legendary creatures. The term is generally used in reference to elf-like creatures, including fairies, and similar beings (although not earth beings), but can also signify various spiritual beings, including ghosts. In Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, sprites are a race of fairies with green skin and wings. In The Spiderwick Chronicles, sprites are creatures that resemble insects or flowers.
The word "sprite" is derived from the Latin "spiritus" (spirit). Variations on the term include "spright" (the origin of the adjective "sprightly", meaning "spirited" or "lively") and the Celtic "spriggan". The term is chiefly used in regard to elves and fairies in European folklore, and in modern English is rarely used in reference to spirits or other mythical creatures.
The belief in diminutive beings such as sprites, tree spirits, elves, fairies, pixies, gnomes, Japanese yōkai, the Spanish and Latin-American duende and various Slavic fairies has been common in many parts of the world, and might to some extent still be found within neo-spiritual and religious movements such as "neo-druidism" and Ásatrú. The belief in spiritual beings, particularly ghosts, is almost universal to human culture.
In some elemental magics, the sprite is often believed to be the elemental of air.
A water sprite (also called a water fairy or water faery) is a general term for an elemental spirit associated with water, according to alchemist Paracelsus. Water sprites are said to be able to breathe water or air, and in some cases, can fly. They are mostly harmless unless threatened.
These creatures exist in mythology of various groups. Ancient Greeks knew nymphs in several types such as naiads (or nyads), which guarded the fresh water bodies for the gods, These fairies are very joyful spirited and cannot be insulted or emotionally hurt, while Slavic mythology knows them as vilas.
In elemental classifications, water sprites should not be confused with other water creatures considered to be "corporeal beings" such as selkies and mermaids.
Sylph (also called sylphid) is a mythological creature in the Western tradition. The term originates in Paracelsus, who describes sylphs as invisible beings of the air, his elementals of air. There is no known substantial mythos associated with them. As alchemy in the West derived from Paracelsus, alchemists and related movements, such as Rosicrucianism, continued to speak of sylphs in their hermetic literature. The first mainstream western discussion of sylphs comes with Alexander Pope. In Rape of the Lock, Pope satirizes French Rosicrucian and alchemical writings when he invents a theory to explain the sylph. In a parody of heroic poetry and the "dark" and "mysterious" literature of pseudo-science, and in particular the sometimes esoterically Classical heroic poetry of the 18th century in England and France, Pope pretends to have a new alchemy, in which the sylph is the mystically, chemically condensed humors of peevish women. In Pope's poem, women who are full of spleen and vanity turn into sylphs when they die because their spirits are too full of dark vapors to ascend to the skies. Belinda, the heroine of Pope's poem, is attended by a small army of sylphs, who foster her vanity and guard her beauty.
This is a parody of Paracelsus, inasmuch as Pope imitates the pseudo-science of alchemy to explain the seriousness with which vain women approach the dressing room. In a slight parody of the divine battle in Pope's Rape of the Lock, when the Baron of the poem attempts to cut a lock of Belinda's hair, the sylphs interpose their airy bodies between the blades of the scissors (to no effect whatsoever). Ariel, the chief sylph in The Rape of the Lock, has the same name as Prospero's servant in Shakespeare's The Tempest.
Willow, in Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom of Landover series is a sylph and the wife of protagonist Ben Holiday. She is the daughter of the River Master and a wood elemental, giving her pale green skin and emerald hair. Her dual nature is reflected in the fact that she must transform into a Willow tree once every 21 days to maintain her life force. She has a tense and distant relationship with her father, as her existence serves as a permanent reminder to him of the brief relationship he desires to reclaim, but never can. And so it is to her mother that she turns for guidance.
Yōsei(bewitching spirit) is a Japanese word that is generally synonymous with the English term fairy. Today this word usually refers to spirits from Western legends, but occasionally it may also denote a creature from native Japanese folklore. For example, according to an old folk belief from Iwate Prefecture, it was once feared that the yōsei could bring the dead back to life. It's also mentioned that the people of Mt. Hōrai are small fairies that have no knowledge of great evil, and so their hearts never grow old. The Ainu also tell of a race of small people known as the Koro-pok-guru in their folklore. Another fairy-like being from Japan is the Kijimuna, tree sprites told in the Ryukyuan religion of Okinawa.