Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Story of a Woman's Struggle with the Fairies For Her Baby

A Story of a Woman's Fight Agianst the Fairies For Her Baby

The Welsh fairies have several times been detected in the act of carrying off a child; and in these cases, if the mother has been sufficiently energetic in her objections, they have been forced to abandon their purpose. Dazzy Walter, the wife of Abel Walter, of Ebwy Fawr, one night in her husband’s absence awoke in her bed and found her baby was not at her side. In great fright she sought for it, and caught it with her hand upon the boards above the bed, which was as far as the fairies had succeeded in carrying it. And Jennet Francis, of that same valley of Ebwy Fawr, one night in bed felt her infant son being taken from her arms; whereupon she screamed and hung on, and, as she phrased it, ‘God and me were too hard for them.’ This son subsequently grew up and became a famous preacher of the gospel.
Jennet tries to pull her baby away from the fairies holding him
There are special exorcisms and preventive measures to interfere with the fairies in their quest of infants. The most significant of these, throughout [Cambria, is a general habit of piety. Any pious exclamation has value as an exorcism; but it will not serve as a preventive. To this end you must put a knife in the child’s cradle when you leave it alone, or you must lay a pair of tongs across the cradle. But the best preventive is baptism; it is usually the unbaptised infant that is stolen. So in Friesland, Germany, it is considered a protection against the fairies who deal in changelings, to lay a Bible under the child’s pillow. In Thuringia it is deemed an infallible preventive to hang the father’s breeches against the wall. Anything [more trivial than this, as a matter for the consideration of grave and scholarly men, one could hardly imagine; but it is in precisely these trivial or seemingly trivial details that the student of comparative folk-lore finds his most extraordinary indices. Such a superstition in isolation would suggest nothing; but it is found again in Scotland,[37] and other countries, including China, where ‘a pair of the trousers of the child’s father are put on the frame of the bedstead in such a way that the waist shall hang downward or be lower than the legs. On the trousers is stuck a piece of red paper, having four words written upon it intimating that all unfavourable influences are to go into the trousers instead of afflicting the babe