The Changeling (Celtic Folk Tale)

Folk Tales, Celtic Folk Tales1396

A young woman, whose name was Mary Scannell, lived with her husband not many years ago at Castle Martyr. One day in harvest time she went with several more to help in binding up the wheat, and left her child, which she was nursing, in a corner of the field, quite safe, as she thought, wrapped up in her cloak. When she had finished her work, she returned where the child was, but in place of her own child she found a thing in the cloak that was not half the size, and that kept up such a crying you might have heard it a mile off: so she guessed how the case was, and, without stop or stay, away she took it in her arms, pretending to be mighty fond of it all the while, to a wise woman, who told her in a whisper not to give it enough to eat, and to beat and pinch it without mercy, which Mary Scannell did; and just in one week after to the day, when she awoke in the morning, she found her own child lying by her side in the bed! The fairy that had been put in its place did not like the usage it got from Mary Scannell, who understood how to treat it, like a sensible woman as she was, and away it went after the week”s trial, and sent her own child back to her.

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