Garth Uchaf Llanuwchllyn Changeling Legend





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.





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