Treefolk (Family: Hamadryadidae)Edit
Although all trees are magical and many sacred to faeries, only a few trees are sentient. These are treemen and women. Treefolk can take on a humanoid shape and move a short distance from their tree, or, in extreme cases, uproot the entire tree and use the roots as a shuffling form of locomotion. In their humanoid form, treefolk are often described as resembling their tree, so that an apple treewoman might have green hair and brownish skin while an elder treeman might have eyes as purply black as berries.
Obvious expression on the tree, composed of knotholes and strange permutations of the bark, is a sign the tree may contain a spirit. Also check around prominent trees for roots above the ground. Lastly look for loose dirt and overturned moss.
Treefolk are likely to grow at the center of a faerie ring, to be a lone tree on a hillside or the oldest tree in a grove, to be beside a welling spring, or to be one of two intertwined trees. Treefolk will die if they are cut down, although some linger on as spirits to haunt those who caused their demise.
Oak, ash, single thorn, and female holly treefolk are thought to be protective. Oak trees are particularly sacred to faeries and have the greatest likelihood of sentience. Of the protective treefolk, the most powerful is the mountain ash, also known as rowan. It may be considered so protective because of its red berries, which the female holly shares. Treefolk of these types are the most likely to be friendly in nature.
The holly treeman, by contrast, is considered malevolent. Also considered dangerous are hawthorn treefolk occurring in groups of three or more. Although elder trees are thought to be protective, their treefolk behave ambivalently. Elder treefolk are quite common. If blood-like sap seeps from their wood when it is cut, it is thought to be proof of their sentience.
Hazel treefolk are thought to be very wise and can impart wisdom to those eating their nuts. Even eating the flesh of an animal who has eaten hazel nuts from a sentient tree is enough to gain wisdom. Likewise, apple treefolk are thought to give power and youth to those who eat their apples. Sleeping under an apple tree is a dangerous business, however, as one risks being carried away by faeries.
Additional Facts Edit
Treefolk can separate themselves from their trees and assume a faerie/human-like form. They speak using the gusts of wind blowing through their canopies.
- Maple Hamadryad (Hamadryas aceris)
Known TreefolkEditArthur Spiderwick once encountered a red maple, whose spirit manifested in the form of a female child who never left the shadow of the tree. She never talked to him directly, but a whispering voice was heard in the wind as it blew through the leaves.
Arthur also encountered an ancient oak who had grown alone on a meadow. He couldn't make it to talk with him, even though its knotty old eyes watched the Human whenever he stopped around its wide body.
Behind the scenesEdit
Treefolk are based on the Hamadryads of myth. They were the beautiful nymphs of trees and each one was tied to a tree. If the tree died, the hamadryad would perish. According to Arthur Spiderwick, not all treefolk appear young and beautiful like the hamadryads of legend.