Many children’s stories speak of meadow sprites, tiny winged fey no bigger than butterflies. Indeed, most humans who see meadow sprites take them for butterflies, thanks to the deeply hooded cloaks the meadow sprites wear. When a sprite flicks up the hood and wraps the cloak around herself, she is nearly indistinquishable from an insect. Even children, who have more time and inclination to study butterflies, seldom catch more than a glimpse of the sprites’ true forms.
Most people describe meadow sprites as tiny winged maidens with short, wind-blown hair. The more common wing colors are, predictably, hues found in meadow flowers: yellow, blue, orange. Pure white meadow sprites have been sighted, and a few people claim to have seen meadow sprites with green wings, skin, and hair.
Oddly enough, no one has ever reported seeing a male sprite. Explanations are a standard part of a storyspinner’s repetoire. A popular ribald ballad tells of an increasingly exhausted “king sprite” who is kept abed by his duties, siring hordes of daughters and dreaming of the day he has a son, who will be traded with the prince of another meadow to begin the cycle anew.
Other tales, more suitable for children, suggest that sprites slip through flower-sized gates from the Faerie Realm, gathering nectar and leaving tokens in exchange. A popular activity at midsummer festivals is the Sprite Hunt, in which small children search meadows (some of them minature meadows in private grounds or public gardens, specially grown for the occasion) in which coins and small small treasures are strewn for children to find.
Because tales of meadow sprites are so popular, particularly with young girls, artisans do a brisk business in cloak pins and hair ornaments fashioned to look like winged sprites. These are seldom worn outdoors, however, as they tend to draw the attention of angry butterflies.
Note: The sprite pin depicted here is not, unfortunately, the work of Sevrin artisans. It has a slightly more Victorian sensibility, but it is close enough to piss off any nearby meadow sprites. For more information, contact The Jewelry Experts.