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A dryad is a tree Nymph, or tree spirit, in Greek mythology.

In Greek drys signifies "oak." Thus, dryads are specifically the nymphs of oak trees, though the term has come to be used for all tree nymphs in general. Dryads are benevolent beings. They help travellers to find their way through the woods and give food to lost shepherds. They also like children and will protect the lost ones from the forest predators. However, as dryads are protectors of the trees, they will punish whoever kills plants for fun or cuts down too many trees for nothing. In other words, dryads will help and protect you, but you have to respect the forest in return.

Wikipedia entry.

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