Tinkerbell (originally spelt Tinker Bell) is one of the most famous fairies in the Western world and is in many ways the archetype of Western fairy tradition. Her popularity is demonstrated by the amount of Tinkerbell themed stuff available to buy, everything from pictures and charms to bedding, watches, costumes and even shoes. Yet she is a relatively young fairy, being only just over 100 years old.

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The character Tinkerbell was created by J.M.Barrie in the story Peter Pan. Originally Peter Pan was a stage play (1904) however Barrie himself wrote a novelisation (originally called Peter and Wendy) in 1911. The story of Peter Pan and Neverland (often called Never Never Land) has also been the basis of a number of films and television serials.

Tinkerbell epitomises the mixed nature of fairies. She is beautiful and can be a loyal, caring friend - yet at the same time she is jealous and mischievous. She is so jealous that she actually attacks Wendy. Fairies aren't always good and sweet!

She's known to friends by the abbreviated name "Tink" and is sometimes represented by a glowing point of light.

Probably the most famous version of Tinkerbell comes from the 1953 Disney animated film. Where did this iconic image originate?

Ironically, the appearance of the world's most famous fairy was based on mundane reality. This image was created by directing animator Marc Davis based on real-life model Margaret Kerry.

The official sequel to Peter Pan is the novel Peter Pan in Scarlet, written by Geraldine McCaughrean and published in 2006.


According to J.M.Barrie, fairies are the product of the laughter of babies:

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."

Barrie also gives us one of the classic fairy lines:

"Every time a child says 'I don't believe in fairies', there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead."