The Garch Uchaf, Llanuwchllyn, Changeling Legend, Fairies in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Llanuwchllyn Wales
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Category: Fairies
Sub Category: Changeling Legend
Title: The Garch Uchaf, Llanuwchllyn, Changeling Legend


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. 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.|Welsh Version:-“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 Têg, 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 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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