Alas, the title of Leo Elijah Cristea’s most recent post on the fae is not a reference to how these beings emerged and diversified through random mutation and natural selection. It is, however, a wonderful discussion of the varieties of Fair Folk one encounters in myth and literature. In particular, this post tries to tackle those elements that are recognizable as at least suggestive of faeries in world mythology, always admitting that whatever overlap (or identity) is claimed must only be claimed with due appreciation for how the source cultures themselves do different things with their various nature spirits, angels, or what have you.
If we delve back in time and focus on the birth of these various stories, even widening our net and including other “fae-like” beings whose appearance or vocation has led them to be tangled up in the same net as faeries—such as the short, stout Northern Dwarves, the elfin Álfar and Svartálfar who could become the aos sí, as well as the creatures already discussed—it becomes clear that appearance alone is sometimes enough to define the beings from different realms as fae.
In this way, we can trace the evolution of the faeries through their alteration and adaptation, drawing up lines of likeness between similar beings, as well as their manmade transformations throughout literature and popular culture.
This is an excellent article, well worth the read!