Hey, friends! It’s Mythical Monday!
Before, I kick off today’s star mythology player, I want to announce the winner of my Vampires vs. Werewolves Blog Hop giveaway. Congrats to Tracey D. who won an ebook copy of my paranormal/time travel romance, WEAHTERING ROCK. Tracey, I will contact you by email to see if you prefer a Kindle or Nook version.
Also, congratulations to Joder, who won the Kindle copy of Deborah Palumbo’s paranormal novel, THE UNDERPARTED. Deborah will contact you directly regarding her giveaway. Thanks to everyone who participated and dropped by my blog.
And now, I’d like to channel some changelings 🙂
Although adults were often taken, infants were most at risk. New parents were wise to watch their babies closely and stand guard through the dark hours of the night until the day the child was baptized. Left untended for even a brief time, an unbaptized baby might be snatched away and replaced with the unwanted offspring of a faerie, elf or troll. To protect from such calamity, crucifixes or iron could be placed by the cradle as defensive wards. An article of the father’s clothing or a sprig of boxwood blessed by a priest served the same purpose.
Why would the Fae abandon their children? Many were born sickly or frail and deemed a nuisance by their ethereal parents who much preferred a healthy human babe. The changeling child would be placed in the cradle, characteristics like wizened, parchment skin and licorice-black eyes concealed by faerie glamour. Sometimes an enchanted piece of wood, called a stock, would be left instead, magic employed to make it look like the child. Unsuspecting parents wouldn’t realize what had happened until the changeling was presented for baptism and the touch of holy water made the child scream uncontrollably. If a stock, it would wither and die in a short time.
Although changelings were evil creatures, bringing ill fortune to those that housed them, they were not long for the mortal world. Perhaps because they were such a miserable lot, shrieking and howling throughout the day, biting, ravenous of appetite, delighting in mishap. They rarely lived more than two to three years, though even that span was a harsh eternity to any family burdened with one.
It’s no wonder attempts were made to drive the changeling off. Some methods included ignoring its constant wailing, abandoning it on a hillside, threatening it with a heated ploughshare or making it laugh. Given its nature, gaiety of any sort must have been equivalent to a death knell should it hang around. In many respects, it’s hard not to feel sorry for these wretched creatures who were unwanted by their natural parents. If the changeling was successfully driven away, even years later, the human child would be returned. Those who found their way back to their real parents reported being treated kindly in the Faerie Court. How pitiful the Fae didn’t extend that same courtesy and love to their own children.
I think of changelings as one of the darker aspects of fairytales and mythology. Although I can’t recall a specific book, I know I’ve read several tales in which changelings played a part. Can you think of any fairytale, book or movie that included a changeling? If you’d lived in a time/reality where changelings were real, do you think you could have sympathy for such a pathetic and malicious creature? Do you think a changeling could be turned if treated as a human child?