Fairy, pixie, elf, sprite are terms for imaginary beings. "Fairy" is the most general name for such beings.
Many philosophies and worldviews have a set of classical elements believed to reflect the simplest essential parts and principles of which anything consists or upon which the constitution and fundamental powers of anything are based. Most frequently, classical elements refer to ancient beliefs inspired by natural observation of the phases of matter; with the classical elements: earth is equivalent to solid, water is equivalent to liquid, air is equivalent to gas and fire is equivalent to plasma. Historians trace the evolution of modern theory pertaining to the chemical elements, as well as chemical compounds and mixtures of natural substances to medieval, and Greek models. Many concepts once thought to be analogous, such as the Chinese Wu Xing, are now understood more figuratively.
Cultural anthropology is a branch of anthropology focused on the study of cultural variation among humans and in contrast to the social anthropology perceives the cultural variation more as an independent "variable" than the dependent one.
A variety of methods, including participant observation, often called fieldwork because it involves the anthropologist spending an extended period of time at the research location, but also interviews and surveys are part of anthropological methodology.
Elves in fantasy fiction and games
English folklore is the folk tradition which has developed in England over a number of centuries. Some stories can be traced back to their roots, while the origin of others is uncertain or disputed. England abounds with folklore, in all forms, from such obvious manifestations as the traditional Robin Hood tales, the Brythonic-inspired Arthurian legend, to contemporary urban legends and facets of cryptozoology such as the Beast of Bodmin Moor.
Morris dance and related practices such as the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance preserve old English folk traditions, as do Mummers Plays. Pub names may preserve folk traditions.
In many works of modern fantasy, elves are depicted as a race of semi-divine humanoid beings.