Dazzling in color and about the size of large insects, sprites have glistening membranous wings. In fact, they are often confused with exotic insects or flowers at first glance.
Considered to be the most common type of faerie, they are known to live in deep woods. Some make their homes high in the branches of trees while others prefer to live near ponds and streams. They particularly love to live in the forests inhabited by treefolk and other fey and enjoy cool weather and a calm, serene environment. If sprites are spotted, it is a sign that the area has a high concentration of faerie activity.
Sprites travel in swarms and can bite if provoked. They are playful, and at times obnoxious. One of their favorite past-times is pestering butterflies. This is a great game for them as they are able to fly much faster than butterflies and can go greater distances before requiring rest. Generally, no butterflies are injured during the sprites' harassment because of their short attention span. To keep a sprite interested requires constant change and surprises. Too much of a challenge, however, will frustrate them and they will zip away to the next thing that catches their eye.
Each morning sprites come down from the trees, if they are tree sprites, and bathe in the dew. Water and ground dwelling sprites bathe in the river or pond they inhabit. Although we prefer to think of sprites as sweet and innocent they are still living beings and require sustenance. As they are Faeries' main gardeners, they kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. They eat the pests that cause damage to the plants they aid in growth there by nourishing their bodies with important nutrients and ridding the flowers, grasses, trees and bushes they love of bugs, beetles, worms, grubs and slugs that harm the plant. Copyright 2008 Howard David Johnson
Each type of sprite has a different specialty. Tree sprites are responsible for helping trees to shake off the Winter's snow, budding leaves, bearing fruit, which they tend to snack on, turning the leaves in the autumn, and plucking the leaves away once they've lost their radiance. They go deep into the trees in the Winter and sing to the roots to keep the trees company during the long lonely winter as the trees miss the birds and squirrels terribly. If the sprites aren't there to soothe the trees they sometimes don't make it to the next Spring. In forests and woodlands, it is possible to find the hollowed-out acorns they use as cups; dandelion-tuft mattresses, and hats made from folded leaves.
At night their bodies give off a faint glow that can have them mistaken for fireflies, which, along with other flying insects and small birds, they are fond of riding. They wrap themselves in foliage at night or sink into silky blooms.
Water sprites will sometimes sleep on lilly pads, oyster shells, or curled up on a nice pile of seaweed.
Petals and blooms missing from healthy plants may be due to sprites plucking them for clothing. Sprites can also cause plants to bloom in the middle of Winter and are the nurturers of the strange fruits that fairies delight in.
Their cousins the Fairies are very similar in nature to Sprites, and sometimes both Sprites and Fairies are thought the same breed, but although related, they are very different in character.
Water Sprites are also closely related to Mermaids. Mermaids being the fairies of the sea. We shall explain about Mermaids in their own dedicated section of the Fairy Encyclopedia.