I think of myself as very lucky, in the way that when I was a child, my parents and I walked a lot. On these walks my Dad would sometimes tell me tales, superstitions and stories of the countryside, being from a farming family superstitions were rife with his elders...everything (or so it seems) could bring bad luck! Never bring snowdrops into the house, red and white flowers mixed in a vase would mean a death in the family, never bet on a horse with one white foot, they go on and on.
However, on a lighter note, elves and fairies were not always a bad thing. Holes and cracks in cliffs and rock formations were elf entrances to their homes, and similar crevices in trees were where fairies lived. We would often leave a little present (a sweet, a penny, a flower) by the hole as a good will gesture for passing through their area - to a small child this was fantastic.
In my adult life I have found many similar things, fairy doors are now made by craft people to put in one's garden for example. Research I did for an article about the Domovik house spirits seemed very familiar and I could see in my mind's eye farm houses from my childhood being home to such helpers.
Are children still told these tales? I do hope so. Sadly in the age of political correctness I wonder sometimes if these age-old stories will be allowed soon! The resurgence in storytelling and folklore should hopefully keep these encounters alive...fingers crossed.