Episode 68: Solitary Fae: Dryads
The folklore of dryads in a nutshell, how I reimagined them for my writing, and this faery translated to Afrikaans.
Written and narrated by Ronel Janse van Vuuren.
Copyright 2023 Ronel Janse van Vuuren — All rights reserved.
Learn more about dryads in folklore here.
Get the transcript here.
Music: Secrets by David Fesliyan (FesliyanStudios.com) and Dramatic Heartbeat by FesliyanStudios.com
You’re listening to the Faeries and Folklore podcast by Ronel.
I’m dark fantasy author Ronel Janse van Vuuren. With nearly a decade of digging around in dusty folklore books, researching creatures of imagination that ignited my curiosity, I’m here to share the folklore in a nutshell and how I reimagined it for my writing in an origin of the fae.
This is the Faeries and Folklore podcast.
Hi, I’m your host Ronel Janse van Vuuren. You can just call me Ronel. In today’s episode, we’re continuing our exploration of the fae realm.
This episode is brought to you by my Dark Court Sisters book series. Available in ebook, paperback and audiobook. Three sisters. Three destinies. Three ways to destroy the world. Go to ronelthemythmaker.com/darkcourtsistersseries for more.
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We’re continuing our exploration of Solitary Fae.
Today’s Faery: Dryads
Folklore in a nutshell by Ronel
Dryads come from Greek mythology. They were originally the tree nymphs of oak trees, but have come to be tree nymphs in general and even human-tree hybrids in works of fantasy.
According to Greek mythology, there are different types of tree nymphs:
Dryads: nymphs of oak trees.
Daphnaie: nymphs of laurel trees.
Epimelides: nymphs of apple (and other fruit) trees.
Hamadryad: dryads integrally tied to their trees (if the tree dies, the dryad dies).
Meliae: nymphs of ash trees.
Caryatids: nymphs of walnut trees.
Oreiades: nymphs of pine trees.
Dryads are nymphs who live in trees and take the form of beautiful young women. There is a sense of ancient timelessness to them. They exist to watch over and take care of the tree they were born into – and sometimes groves and other creatures. Dryads can disappear by stepping into a tree. They fiercely and mischievously protect what is theirs.
Dryads are believed to have power over nature, at least as far as their home is concerned. Their powers bring a sense of awe and wonder to mortals who revere them and terror and fear to those who cross them. The places their trees inhabit are filled with mystic energy and vitality. They are frequently mentioned in various forms of art (visual and written). To this day, they are respected and worshipped in pagan rituals.
Dryads can be as infinite in number as the trees on Earth. Which is why the saying “knock on wood” is a protective incantation where a dryad will appear to protect the person who called her.
And now for my interpretation of the fae in an origin of the fae: dryads
Also known as Tree Nymphs or Hamadryads. Most often, Dryads refer to those Tree Nymphs who reside in Oak trees, but “Dryad” has come to be interchangeable with “Tree Nymph”.
Though they are bound to their tree (if the tree dies, they die), they are free to move about in their grove, forest, garden, etc.
Dryads residing in Faerie can live for many centuries. Dryads living in the mortal realm are prey to mortal whims (cutting down trees for silly things like building fires instead of gathering fallen limbs).
Dryads are the most revered among nature fae (Imps, Pixies, etc.) who know the worth of their accumulated knowledge.
As a little bonus, let’s look at this faery translated to Afrikaans: boomnimfe (this is of my own making)
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode of the faeries and folklore podcast and that you’ve learned something new about faeries.
Remember that you can get a transcript of this episode in the description. If you’re new to the podcast, why not go and grab your free copy of Unseen, the second book in the Faery Tales series, on my website ronelthemythmaker.com? Loads of folklore, magic and danger await! Take care!
You can now support my time in producing the podcast (researching, writing and everything else involved) by buying me a coffee. This can be a once-off thing, or you can buy me coffee again in the future at your discretion.
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No-one writes about the fae like Ronel Janse van Vuuren.