Llanfwrog Changeling Legend





A mother took her child to the gleaning field, and left it sleeping under

the sheaves of wheat whilst she was busily engaged gleaning. The Fairies

came to the field and carried off her pretty baby, leaving in its place

one of their own infants. At the time, the mother did not notice any

difference between her own child and the one that took its place, but

after awhile she observed with grief that the baby she was nursing did

not thrive, nor did it grow, nor would it try to walk. She mentioned

these facts to her neighbours, and she was told to do something strange

and then listen to its conversation. She took an egg-shell and pretended

to brew beer in it, and she was then surprised to hear the child, who had

observed her actions intently, say:--



Mi welais fesen gan dderwen,

Mi welais wy gan iar,

Ond ni welais i erioed ddarllaw

Mewn cibyn wy iar.



I have seen an oak having an acorn,

I have seen a hen having an egg,

But I never saw before brewing

In the shell of a hen's egg.



This conversation proved the origin of the precocious child who lay in

the cradle. The stanza was taken down from Roberts's lips. But he could

not say what was done to the fairy changeling.



In Ireland a plan for reclaiming the child carried away by the Fairies

was to take the Fairy's changeling and place it on the top of a dunghill,

and then to chant certain invocatory lines beseeching the Fairies to

restore the stolen child.



There was, it would seem, in Wales, a certain form of incantation

resorted to to reclaim children from the Fairies, which was as

follows:--The mother who had lost her child was to carry the changeling

to a river, but she was to be accompanied by a conjuror, who was to take

a prominent part in the ceremony. When at the river's brink the conjuror

was to cry out:--



Crap ar y wrach--



A grip on the hag;



and the mother was to respond--



Rhy hwyr gyfraglach--



Too late decrepit one;



and having uttered these words, she was to throw the child into the

stream, and to depart, and it was believed that on reaching her home she

would there find her own child safe and sound.



I have already alluded to the horrible nature of such a proceeding. I

will now relate a tale somewhat resembling those already given, but in

this latter case, the supposed changeling became the mainstay of his

family. I am indebted for the Gors Goch legend to an essay, written by

Mr. D. Williams, Llanfachreth, Merionethshire, which took the prize at

the Liverpool Eisteddfod, 1870, and which appears in a publication called

Y Gordofigion, pp. 96, 97, published by Mr. I. Foulkes, Liverpool.





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