The term Faerie is derived from "Fé erie.” It means the enchantment of the Fées, while Fé is derived from Fay, derived from Fatae, or the Fates. The term originally applied to supernatural women who directed the lives of men and attended births. Now it has come to mean any supernatural creature tied to the earth, except monsters and ghosts. The modern term, “fairy,” was created, due to fairy tales.
In Ireland, the Faeries are called the Aes Sídhe (the singular being Aes Sídh). Sídhe happens to be the name for the earthen mounds and hills dotting the Irish landscape. Irish tales claim the Faeries live under these mounds, so the term "sídhe" has come to mean Faerie in general. The word also refers to the palaces, courts, halls, and residences of the Faeries. Fairies are also known b y other euphemisms, "the Fair Folk", "the Good Neighbors", "the Little Folk", "the Little Darlings", and "the People of Peace". The reason why: first is to avoid attracting their attention. The second was to avoid insulting them.
Thanks to legends and folklore of Scandinavia the elf was used the same way Aes Sídh was used in Ireland, to refer to any Faeries, and it was introduced to Britain by the Anglo-Saxons. English literature made the elves the diminutive fairies of Spenser and Shakespeare, which in conventional Faerie lore would be the equivalent of the little nature spirits.
There are tales in myths of how fairies came to be. The first way had them as fallen angels. A few did not follow Lucifer into Hell, but decided to reside on earth.
Second: It is explained them as the dead not good enough to enter Heaven, but too good for Hell. It is said they live in limbo as they recreate their former lives.
Third and last: This has them as children of Eve. She hides them from God, who curses her that the children she tried to hide from Him would remain hidden from her, and subsequently all Mankind.
There is a connection in mythology of people and children being taken by fairies and coming back years later hardly aged. Sounds somewhat like alien abduction, doesn’t it? Fairies steal babies, leaving a changeling in the child’s place. Fairies stole young women as brides, or perhaps for other, less honorable purposes. In the aptly named tale “Stolen Bride,” a gang of fairies carries off a young woman, and something similar happens in "Jamie Freel and the Young Lady.” In both cases, the women are put under an enchantment that leaves them mute and confused. And sometimes the women are left pregnant—like in alien abduction stories—only to lose the child one night after abduction.
Now in Virginia where I live, there is a state park that is named Fairy Stone State Park. It is the largest of Virginia's six original state parks, is home to its namesake "fairy stones." These rare mineral crosses and the park's scenic beauty, rich history and ample recreational opportunities make it a local and regional favorite. The 4,639 acres that make up the park were donated by Junius B. Fishburn, former owner of the Roanoke Times, in 1933. The Civilian Conservation Corps originally built the park, its lake and many structures still in use there.
For many years people held these little crosses in superstitious awe, firm in the belief that they protected the wearer against witchcraft, sickness, accidents and disaster. Fairy stones are staurolite, a combination of silica, iron and aluminum. Staurolite crystallizes at 60 or 90 degree angles, hence the stone's cross-like structure. Found only in rocks once subjected to great heat and pressure, the mineral was formed long, long ago, during the rise of the Appalachian Mountains. The stones are most commonly shaped like St. Andrew’s cross, an "X," but "T" shaped Roman crosses and square Maltese crosses are the most sought-after. The rare staurolite stones are found elsewhere but not in such abundance as at Fairy Stone State Park.
The Legend of the Fairy Stone: Many hundreds of years before Chief Powhatan’s reign, fairies were dancing around a spring of water, playing with naiads and wood nymphs, when an elfin messenger arrived from a city far away. He brought news of the death of Christ. When these creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept. As their tears fell upon the earth, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses.
If you like to visit this park, find out more at the official website at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/fairy-stone#general_information