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 (see 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 (see 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.