The Nuttall Encyclopedia
Imaginary supernatural beings conceived of as of diminutive size but in human shape, who play a conspicuous part in the traditions of Europe during the Middle Ages, and are animated more or less by a spirit of mischief out of a certain loving regard for, or humorous interest in, the affairs of mankind, whether in the way of thwarting or helping.
Wood, James, ed. Entry for 'Fairies'. The Nuttall Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/nut/f/fairies.html. Frederick Warne & Co Ltd. London. 1900.