N is for Nymph
Nymph is a classification of faeries rather than a single type. There are wood nymphs, water nymphs, sea nymphs, tree nymphs, grove nymphs, etc… They have a reputation for excessive sexuality. They exist in every conceivable place in nature, and are all over Fairyland.
For the purposes of this post, we will concentrate on the wood, forest, and tree nymphs that live in the Beloved Forest of Century Isle.
The meaning and definition of the wood nymphs are as follows: Definition of Wood Nymphs: The Forest and Wood nymphs are referred to as Dryads or Hamadryads in Ancient Greek mythology. The wood nymphs were minor goddesses and beautiful nymphs who were depicted as young maidens who inhabited the trees, woods, groves and forests of Ancient Greece. The Dryad wood nymphs were originally the spirits of oak trees (from the Greek word ‘dryos’ meaning “tree”) but with the passing of time the name was later applied to all tree and wood nymphs. The Dryad wood nymphs were believed to be immortal and lived forever. The forest and wood nymphs referred to as Hamadryads were not immortal. These tree and wood nymphs only lived as long as the trees they inhabited. The Hamadryads were born bonded to a particular tree.
Description of Wood Nymphs
The Woods nymphs are alluded to in many of the legends of Greek mythology. These references to the Forest and Wood nymphs contribute to their description:
- Young, slender and beautiful maidens
- The Dryads lived forever, the Hamadyads lived only as long as the trees they inhabited
- They were described as minor goddesses, whose special duties assigned by the powerful Olympian gods
- They were usually conceived as being both lovely and amorous
- Forest, Tree and Wood nymphs were quite fragile, delicate creatures but would punish any thoughtless mortal who had somehow injured a tree
- The lives of the wood nymphs were irrevocably connected with that of the trees
- They were worshiped as spirits of fertility and guardians of vegetation
- They could disappear by stepping into a tree
- Offerings were made to the Forest and Wood Nymph to appease or thank the dryads it was necessary to harvest trees or branches
- The sacrifices offered to them usually consisted of lambs, milk, and oil, but never of wine
- They were generally very kind and believed to watch over the fate of mortals but conversely some were believed sometimes to appear to and frighten solitary travellers
- The number of forest and wood nymphs is almost infinite
- Some Dryades were also connected with the Naiads of rivers and springs who presided over the trees sprouting on their banks
- Other forest and tree nymph were also connected were Oreiades (mountain nymph) connected with the dry-growing mountain fir and ash trees
- They were also known as the Forest Queens
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