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Garth Uchaf Llanuwchllyn Changeling Legend






Category: FAIRY MOTHERS AND HUMAN MIDWIVES.

Source: Welsh Folk-lore

Yr oedd gwraig Garth Uchaf, yn Llanuwchllyn, un tro wedi myned allan i
gweirio gwair, a gadael ei baban yn y cryd; ond fel bu'r anffawd, ni
roddodd yr efail yn groes ar wyneb y cryd, ac o ganlyniad, ffeiriwyd ei
baban gan y Tylwyth Teg, ac erbyn iddi ddyfod i'r ty, nid oedd yn y cryd
ond rhyw hen gyfraglach o blentyn fel pe buasai wedi ei haner lewygu o
eisiau ymborth, ond magwyd ef er hyny.

The wife of Garth Uchaf, Llanuwchllyn, went out one day to make hay, and
left her baby in the cradle. Unfortunately, she did not place the
tongs crossways on the cradle, and consequently the Fairies changed her
baby, and by the time she came home there was nothing in the cradle but
some old decrepit changeling, which looked is if it were half famished,
but nevertheless, it was nursed.

The reason why the Fairies exchanged babies with human beings, judging
from the stories already given, was their desire to obtain healthy
well-formed children in the place of their own puny ill-shaped offspring,
but this is hardly a satisfactory explanation of such conduct. A
mother's love is ever depicted as being so intense that deformity on the
part of her child rather increases than diminishes her affection for her
unfortunate babe. In Scotland the difficulty is solved in a different
way. There it was once thought that the Fairies were obliged every
seventh year to pay to the great enemy of mankind an offering of one of
their own children, or a human child instead, and as a mother is ever a
mother, be she elves flesh or Eve's flesh, she always endeavoured to
substitute some one else's child for her own, and hence the reason for
exchanging children.

In Allan Cunningham's Traditional Tales, Morley's edition, p. 188,
mention is made of this belief. He writes:--

'I have heard it said by douce Folk,' 'and sponsible,' interrupted
another, 'that every seven years the elves and Fairies pay kane, or make
an offering of one of their children, to the grand enemy of salvation,
and that they are permitted to purloin one of the children of men to
present to the fiend,' 'a more acceptable offering, I'll warrant, than
one of their own infernal blood that are Satan's sib allies, and drink a
drop of the deil's blood every May morning.'

The Rev. Peter Roberts's theory was that the smaller race kidnapped the
children of the stronger race, who occupied the country concurrently with
themselves, for the purpose of adding to their own strength as a people.

Gay, in lines quoted in Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. ii., p. 485,
laughs at the idea of changelings. A Fairy's tongue ridicules the
superstition:--

Whence sprung the vain conceited lye,
That we the world with fools supply?
What! Give our sprightly race away
For the dull helpless sons of clay!
Besides, by partial fondness shown,
Like you, we dote upon our own.
Where ever yet was found a mother
Who'd give her booby for another?
And should we change with human breed,
Well might we pass for fools, indeed.

With the above fine satire I bring my remarks on Fairy Changelings to a
close.





Next: Fairy Mothers And Human Midwives

Previous: Another Version Of The Gors Goch Legend



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