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Another Version Of The Gors Goch Legend


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

When the people of the Gors Goch one evening had gone to bed, lo! they
heard a great row and disturbance around the house. One could not at all
comprehend what it might be that made a noise that time of night. Both
the husband and the wife had waked up, quite unable to make out what
there might be there. The children also woke but no one could utter a
word; their tongues had all stuck to the roofs of their mouths. The
husband, however, at last managed to move, and to ask, 'Who is there?
What do you want?' Then he was answered from without by a small silvery
voice, 'It is room we want to dress our children.' The door was opened,
and a dozen small beings came in, and began to search for an earthen
pitcher with water; there they remained for some hours, washing and
titivating themselves. As the day was breaking they went away, leaving
behind them a fine present for the kindness they had received. Often
afterwards did the Gors Goch folks have the company of this family. But
once there happened to be a fine roll of a pretty baby in his cradle.
The Fair Family came, and, as the baby had not been baptized, they took
the liberty of changing him for one of their own. They left behind in
his stead an abominable creature that would do nothing but cry and scream
every day of the week. The mother was nearly breaking her heart, on
account of the misfortune, and greatly afraid of telling anybody about
it. But everybody got to see that there was something wrong at Gors
Goch, which was proved before long by the mother dying of longing for her
child. The other children died broken-hearted after their mother, and
the husband was left alone with the little elf without anyone to comfort
them. But shortly after, the Fairies began to resort again to the hearth
of the Gors Goch to dress children, and the gift which had formerly been
silver money became henceforth pure gold. In the course of a few years
the elf became the heir of a large farm in North Wales, and that is why
the old people used to say, 'Shoe the elf with gold and he will grow.'
(Fe ddaw gwiddon yn fawr ond ei bedoli ag aur.)

It will be observed that this latter version differs in one remarkable
incident from the preceding tale. In the former there is no allusion to
the fact that the changed child had not been baptized; in the latter,
this omission is specially mentioned as giving power to the Fairies to
exchange their own child for the human baby. This preventive carries
these tales into Christian days. Another tale, which I will now relate,
also proves that faith in the Fairies and in the efficacy of the Cross
existed at one and the same time. The tale is taken from Y
Gordofigion, p. 96. I will first give it as it originally appeared, and
then I will translate the story.

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