Saturday, 16 July 2011

The Witch and the Changeling

There used to be a little old lady who lived in Ynys Geinon who many people believed to be a witch. Once a year she would go to the 'castle' and spend seven days, seven hours and seven minutes with the faeries deep inside the mountains. It was thought that she worked for them.

She was well known in the village as she would go from door to door wearing a long dark cloak and collecting alms. However her cloak wasn't just for warmth. When inside her neighbours houses she would offer to care for the child there by rocking the cradle, but as soon as the mother's back was turned she would swop the child in the cradle for the faerie child hiding under her cloak. It was said that the faeries paid her in gold as they favoured mortal children over their own.

The villagers always knew when a child was a changeling as faerie children were smaller than their own, and they became concerned about one little boy in particular when it was noticed that he wasn't growing as fast as he should. It was thought that this was the work of the old lady and that he was in fact a faerie child.

But then the old lady began to visit the house again, and for the next six days she helped bathe the little boy. Then on the seventh day she asked if she could take the little boy to a certain spring she knew, telling the mother that the waters had remarkable powers. Permission was granted, as they didn't believe the child to be one of their own, and the old lady led him away. She returned later that day having reversed her earlier swop, or so it was thought.

From that day on the boy grew so fast that he soon caught up with the other children. The mother swore a promise to the old lady to wash her son in cold water every day for 3 months, which she did. 

No-one really believed that it was the water which cured the boy of course - but if the old lady did infact visit a healing spring it is highly likely that it was the one pictured here. This is the spring at nearby Lower Cwmtwrch. This spring has been known for it's healing properties since before the 1870's when a local doctor had the water analyzed and it's therapeutic properties confirmed.


  1. Hey, thank you for the tales. I like good short faerie story with coffee in the morning.

  2. i'm glad you enjoyed ... hope you'll stop by again. :)