To the Reader, Concerning Fairies

Worthy Readers,1

I wonder any should laugh or think it ridiculous to hear of fairies, and yet verily believe there are spirits, which spirits can have no description, because no dimension—and so of2 witches, which are said to change themselves into several forms, and then to return into their first form again ordinarily, which is altogether against nature—and yet3 laugh at the report of fairies as impossible, which are only small bodies not subject to our sense, although they4 be to our reason. For Nature can as well make small bodies as great, and thin bodies as well as5 thick. We may as well think there is no air, because we do not see it, or think6 there is no air in an empty barrel, or the like, because when we put our hands and7 arms into the same we do not feel it. And why should not they get through doors or walls as well as air doth, if their bodies were as thin? And if we can grant there may be a substance, although not subject to our sense, then we must grant that substance must have some form, and if some form, why8 not of man as well as9 of anything else? And why may not10 rational souls live in a small body as well as in a gross, and in a thin, as well as11 in a thick?

Shall we say dwarfs have less souls because they have less12 or thinner bodies? And if rational souls, why not saving souls? Wherefore13 there is no reason in nature, but that there may not only be such things as fairies, but these be14 as dear to God as we.

  1. The title and salutation to this letter appear only in the 1664 and 1668 editions, not in the 1653 edition.
  2. so of] of 1653
  3. and yet] yet 1653
  4. they] it 1653
  5. well as] well 1668
  6. or to think 1653] or believe 1664, 1668
  7. and] or 1664, 1668
  8. if some form, why] why 1653
  9. as well as] as 1653
  10. may not] not 1653
  11. as well as] as 1653; as well 1668
  12. they have less] lesse, 1653; Less 1664
  13. Wherefore] So 1653
  14. these be] also 1668