The Llanfwrog Changeling Legend, Fairies in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Llanfwrog Wales
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Category: Fairies
Sub Category: Changeling Legend
Title: The 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 Faeries 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 the child’s words. 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 iâr, Ond ni welais i erioed ddarllaw, Mewn cibyn wy iâr.| Which translates as:-| 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.  In Ireland a plan for reclaiming the child carried away by the Faeries was to take the Faery’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:—| 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.

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