The Corwrion Changeling Legend, Fairies in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Corwen Wales
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Category: Fairies
Sub Category: Changeling Legend
Title: The Corwrion Changeling Legend


Once on a time, in the fourteenth century, the wife of a man at Corwrion had twins, and she complained one day to the witch who lived close by at Tyddyn y Barcut, that the children were not getting on, but that they were always crying, day and night.  Are you sure that they are your children?’ asked the witch, adding that it did not seem to her that they were like hers.  ‘I have my doubts also,’ said the mother.  ‘I wonder if somebody has changed children with you,’ said the witch.  ‘I do not know,’ said the mother.  ‘But why do you not seek to know?’ asked the other.  ‘But how am I to go about it?’ said the mother.  The witch replied, ‘Go and do something rather strange before their eyes and watch what they will say to one another.’  ‘Well I do not know what I should do,’ said the mother.  ‘Oh,’ said the witch, ‘take an egg-shell, and proceed to brew beer in it in a chamber aside, and come here to tell me what the children will say about it.’| She went home and did as the witch had directed her, when the two children lifted their heads out of the cradle to see what she was doing, to watch and to listen.  Then one observed to the other, ‘I remember seeing an oak having an acorn,’ to which the other replied, ‘And I remember seeing a hen having an egg,’ and one of the two added, ‘But I do not remember before seeing anybody brew beer in the shell of a hen’s egg.’| The mother then went to the witch and told her what the twins had said to one another and the witch directed her to go to a small wooden bridge not far off, with one of the strange children under each arm, and there to drop them from the bridge into the river beneath.  The mother went back home again and did as she had been directed.  When she reached home this time, to her astonishment, she found that her own children had been brought back.|-----------------------------------------------------------------------|There is one important difference between this changeling tale and the Egg Shell Pottage tale of Trefeglwys. In the latter, the mother drops the children over the bridge into the waters beneath, and then goes home, without noticing whether the poor children had been rescued by the goblins or not, but on reaching her home she found in the cradle her own two children, presumably conveyed there by the Fairies. In the first tale, we are informed that she saw the goblins save their offspring from a watery grave. Subjecting peevish children to such a terrible ordeal as this must have ended often with a tragedy, but even in such cases superstitious mothers could easily persuade themselves that the destroyed infants were undoubtedly the offspring of elfins, and therefore unworthy of their fostering care. The only safeguard to wholesale infanticide was the test applied as to the super-human precociousness, or ordinary intelligence, of the children.


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