Tuesday, 4 April 2017

C is for... Changeling

Have you ever know a strange, quiet, otherworldly child?
Were you that strange child?

If so, you might just be a changeling!

A changeling is thought to be a fairy child that has been secretly swapped and left in the place of a normal, human child.

This changeling child is normally the offspring of a fairy, elf or troll. Though in some cases an enchanted piece of wood is sometimes left instead.
This fake, wooden child will quickly become sick and die soon after the swap takes place.


Vigilant parents can ward against a fairy swap by leaving iron scissors near where the child sleeps or by dressing the child with their clothes on inside out.
This clothes method can also be used to ward against fairies if you are passing near to where they may live - such as walking through the woods.



It can be extremely difficult to spot a changeling child as they normally look exactly like the child that they have replaced. However, a keen eye may be able to spot a slight change in height, weight or the colour of the eyes.
If a parent starts to suspect that their child may have been swapped then there are a few tests that they could perform in order to make sure. 

Many of these tests were designed to trick the changeling child into revealing that it might not be quite as human as it was pretending to be - either by doing something a normal child wouldn't be able to do, or by saying something which would show what they really are.
Sometimes the parents would just leave their child alone in a dangerous place, such as a dark forest.



This idea of a 'swapped fairy child' is a very common theme throughout history and can be linked with parents concerns over children in ill health or suffering from strange, unknown diseases and disorders back when medicine held very few answers.
When medicine fails you, turn to magic for the answers!
It was easier to assume your real child had been taken far away and replaced with a fake one, than admit that they might be seriously ill.

Books with Changelings:




19 comments:

  1. I think Outlander had a good representation of the way beliefs about illness and Changelings affected people all those years ago.

    my A to Z:
    A Christmas Carol

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    1. I was think just that when I read the post. Outlander was great at showing the beliefs of the times.
      I loved Outlander :)

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  2. Superstitions and imagined characters can make for such interesting storytelling! Will check out these books about changelings :)

    Aditi

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    1. The two end books and very interesting reads :)

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  3. The psychology of changeling stories is fascinating, and also very dark...
    I only know one changeling tale where the woman keeps both children in the end. It's lovely :)

    The Multicolored Diary: WTF - Weird Things in Folktales

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    1. Ooooh that sounds interesting! What was the book?

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    2. Yeah, what was it????

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  4. Changlings stories are always interesting. Sometimes, when I was a little girl, I wished I was a changing so I could go to the fairy world. I was fed Grimm when I was a little. Love fairy tales.

    Loving your posts!

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    1. I think I'm also guilty of wishing to be a changeling too! I'm still 100% positive that I will eventually have my own adventure in fairyland!

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  5. this was intriguing, I just happened to read a book with one small note perhaps could be called a changeling, not really certain, this troll queen created a replacement for the prince she had kidnapped and that this replacement soon died afterward. the book is North Child by Edith Pattou, in case you like to check it out.

    have a lovely day.

    Curating Beauty

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    1. I LOVE that book!! So magical and beautiful :) I think that most definitely would count as a changeling!

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  6. Changelings always intrigued me - thanks for adding a bit more to the lore.

    DB McNicol, author & traveler
    Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

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  7. One of my favorite books, The Replacement, has a changling main character. It's an amazing story and has made me want to write one of my own, but I haven't come up with anything yet.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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    1. Oooh, that looks really good.

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  8. The first thing that came to my mind after reading this was outlander. Fairy stories are really fascinating in all ways.

    http://dipanwita.com/a-z-challenge-c-caribou-lou/

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  9. I've always been fascinated with stories of changlings, maybe because I like all liminal characters. I'm kind of fascinated by the character who cresses the line.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

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  10. Sometimes when one of my children did something out of character, I'd inquire, "Who are you and what have you done with my child?" But I never gave a thought to changelings. Maybe I should have!

    Trudy @ Reel Focus
    Food in Film: Chocolate

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  11. I watched the movie Changeling on a whim when I was researching Welsh mythology. It did not contain any magical characters, but it was a good movie.

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  12. Hahaha something to think about- it might explain a few things. Cute post!

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