When I was in Chapters on Parnell Street earlier today I came across several wonderful books, one of which is Elves, Gnomes and other Little People Coloring Book by John O'Brien. There are pictures of elves, an imp, Rumpelstiltskin, goblins, Tom Thumb, Thumbelina, brownies, trolls, leprechauns, pixies, gnomes and water sprites. Oberon the dwarf king from A Midsummer Night's Dream, his wife Titania, queen of the faeries, and Puck a.k.a. Robin Goodfellow also feature.
Each picture is accompanied by description. The entry for pixies especially made me chuckle:
"Pixies liked to guide travellers at night. Here they are helping a man to get home safely over a very dangerous bridge. Long ago, when a man got drunk and came home late, and his wife complained, he would say that the pixies led him astray and made him get lost."
This puts in my mind Christina Rossetti's poem Goblin Market which is a curious poem and Rossetti is herself a curious figure. She also wrote a book of nursey rhymes called Sing-Song. I love this rhyme of hers:
The horses of the sea
Rear a foaming crest,
But the horses of the land
Serve us the best.
The horses of the land
Munch corn and clover,
While the foaming sea-horses
Toss and turn over.