Therefore I find it completely unsurprising that there are many (and I do mean many) magic myths surrounding trees.
The most commonly known mythological creature related to trees would be the Dryads and Hamadryad. As they are the more commonly known mythological creatures - I'll keep my description of them fairly brief.
|[Image (how cool is this?!) courtesy :laughingscared.blogspot.com]|
Dryads are tree-nymphs from ancient Greek mythology. They are generally carefree female spirits that watch over trees and forests. They protect trees and punish careless humans who may harm their forest. If the dryad lives alongside or (in some cases) inside the tree, then they are referred to as Hamadryads. The Hamadryad's life is so intrinsically linked with its tree that if the tree dies the nymph will die with it. In mythology the Dryad nymphs are often hotly pursued by their lusty counterpart the Satyr.
|[image courtesy: mindscapefx.com]|
In southern Germany in particular they are considered to be tree spirits referred to as 'wood people' and 'moss maidens'. Their descriptions vary. Sometimes described as being small and gorgeous with faerie wings, and at other times depicted as being old, hairy and covered in moss. There is also some link with the moss people and the "Wild hunt", the moss people apparently targeted in this hunt and therefore hide in the trees. Like the Hamadryad, their lives are often entwined closely with a particular tree and if the tree dies, then so does the fairy.
|[image courtesy; celteros.tumblr.com]|
|[image courtesy; knittingsexandgod.blogspot.com]|
This is the one I really wanted to look into because in my new mythology books *double joy* there is a truly awesome picture of one. Alas my scanner is not working so I am unable to share that particular image, but I sourced this one from the net to give you an idea. The image I have in my book is of a much more romanticised version, who would potentially make a great hero for a book... if you increased his size...just a tad.
Anyway. A Ghillie Dhu is from Scottish folklore.
They are said to be solitary Fae creatures, around 7 inches tall with long limbs and pale green skin and wild black hair. They wear clothes of moss and leaves and are said to be protective of certain trees particularly Birch. The Ghillie Dhu were considered very shy and docile, living on berries and nuts. However as their natural habitat in the Scottish forests was destroyed for farming/development they became more accustomed to man and began emigrating out to other countries! Some ended up in Canada and France. Some of course, remained in the remnant Scottish forests. It is said that the Ghillie Dhu were very adaptive and the modern Day Toothfairy is actually one of the roles they have adopted in modern day society. If you want to read more check out this link. I think its a very sweet little myth.
There you have it if you're considering writing about Dryad's be aware there are so many more (I've just shown you the tip of the iceburg!) that you might want to consider a lesser known Fae instead.