Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fairy Bride

The human male who marries a supernatural bride, promising he will respect some Taboo whose eventual breakage results in her reversion to her "true nature", is a common figure in Folklore. The reversion is usually to animal form, as in tales of swan-maidens (> Birds) or the classic story of the fairy Lamia Melusine, or to an aquatic way of life, as in la Motte Fouqué's Undine (1811) and some tales of Mermaids and seal-maidens (> Selkies). A subtle but powerful modern deployment of the motif is in The Owl Service (1967) by Alan Garner. [BS]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.