The definition of a fairy-storyâ€”what it is, or what it should beâ€”does not, then, depend on any definition or historical account of elf or fairy, but upon the nature of FaÃ«rie: the Perilous Realm itself, and the air that blows in that country. I will not attempt to define that, nor to describe it directly. It cannot be done. FaÃ«rie cannot be caught in a net of words; for it is one of its qualities to be indescribable, though not imperceptible. It has many ingredients, but analysis will not necessarily discover the secret of the whole.
JRRT, On Fairy Stories
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