Pixies are variously described in folklore and fiction. They are said to disguise themselves as a bundle of rags to lure children into their play and are fond of music and dancing. They are usually depicted with pointed ears, and often wearing a green outfit and pointed hat. Sometimes their eyes are described as being pointed upwards at the temple ends. Pixies are said to be helpful to normal humans, sometimes helping needy widows and others with housework.
They are often ill clothed or naked. Lack of fashion sense has been taken to mean that Pixies generally go unclothed, though they are sensitive to human need for covering. Pixies are said to be invisibly small, and harmless or friendly to man. Yet in some of the legends and historical accounts they are presented as having near human stature.
Many Victorian era poets saw them as magical beings. By the early 19th Century their contact with “normal humans” had diminished. Some Pixies are said to steal children or to lead travelers astray. Pixies are said to reward consideration and punish neglect on the part of larger humans. By their presence they bring blessings to those who are fond of them.
Pixies are drawn to horses, riding them for pleasure and making tangled ringlets in the manes of those horses they ride. Their mythology seems to predate Christian presence in Britain. They were subsumed into what passed as Christianity with the explanation that they were the souls of children who had died unbaptized. Pixies are said to be uncommonly beautiful, though there are some called pixie who have distorted and strange appearance. One Pixie is said to have some goat-like features. Another is said to be coltish in character.
Before the mid 19th Century Pixies and Faires were taken seriously in much of Cornwall and Devon. Books devoted to the homely beliefs of the peasantry are filled with incidents of Pixie manifestations. Some locales are named for the Pixies associated with them. In Devon, near Challacombe,a group of rocks are named for the Pixies said to dwell there. In some areas belief in Pixies and Fairies persists.