Nationality: Irish American
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4.18.20
Primary Language: English
The Main Piece:
Every Irish folk tale has the christianized version, and the non christianized version. So, how the fairies came to be, you know back before the old testament there was this big war between God and Lucifer. And you know they all fought and stuff and some angels and then some stayed on the fence and they were like, “I don’t know, we’ll see who can win.” And then afterword, God was like, “YOU didn’t take my side, I’m going to banish you to hell!” And as they’re falling down from Heaven the Archangel Michael was all, “No, no, no you can’t banish them. They’re not good enough for Heaven, but they’re not bad enough for Hell.” And so God decided that they can stop where they land and that’s where they can live. So they all land in Ireland, and uh you know, obviously they’re not human and obviously they’re not the one and only God. They’re fallen angels! That’s why they’re powerful and that’s why the fairies, ya know they’re all just fallen Angels.
Background: The informant was born in Ireland, and moved to the United States as a baby. He is a Dual-Citizen and feels closely connected to his Irish roots. He shared with me one of the folk legends that he heard growing up as an Irish kid. This is an origin story, and the informant stresses that it’s easy to lean into the magic of it in Ireland. It’s clear this is an important part of the informant’s childhood and national identity. He also says that he does believe fairies are in Ireland, because Ireland to him (and many others) feels like a magical place.
Context: This story was told while bored in the house one night. I asked the informant if he had anys stories he wanted to share, and he decided to perform this in a very hilarious way to the people in the room.
My thoughts: The performative nature of this story is captivating and varied. It sounds to me that the magic kept the informant fixated on this story when it was told. While it was told to him as an origin tale, he turned around and shared with us a very comedic rendition. Here, the captivating part was not just the magic, but also how whimsically humorous it could be for God to kick out some neutral fairies from Heaven. The variation of these stories lies at the heart of folklore and storytelling. I had never heard this story, nor questioned the origin of fairies, but I am glad I was able to experience it from someone who was so fond and understanding of the story, that he made it his own.