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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/187

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Folk-lore Gleanings from County Leitrim.

and when you are in the middle, throw him down into the water and drown him." So she did so; but when she got halfway over the stream, and went to throw the old "thing" into the water, he turned upon her and threw her in instead, and drowned her, and made his escape![1]

Another tale is told, showing how useless it is to try and outwit the changelings left in the baby's place.

One night, a man was returning home, when, as he passed a house, the window was opened, and a baby was pushed into his arms. He said nothing, though rather surprised, perhaps guessing the truth, but made his way home and told his wife what had happened, and they agreed to keep and take care of the child until its parents should claim it. Now it happened that the fairies had made a mistake that time, for they thought it was to one of themselves they were giving the child. However, they, as usual, left an "old thing" in its place. The father of the child one day happened to see the people to whom he had been given, and from them he learnt the truth. So when he went home he made a great fire on the hearth and waited until it was well hot, and then he took up the supposed baby and threw it on the fire. He was ill-advised, for after a few moments the old man gave three great puffs and blew the fire all over the room, and set the house on fire, and they were all burnt. The changeling doubtless made good his escape.

The fairies sometimes pay domiciliary visits, and do not hesitate to avail themselves of anything there may be in the house; indeed, it is unlucky to have nothing ready for them, as the following story shows:—

One night, after retiring to rest, a woman was disturbed by a great noise in her kitchen, and, on going to the door, she found that the "good people" were in possession, some toasting bread at the fire, others getting ready the meal.

  1. Kennedy has a tale about the Changeling and his Bagpipes, but it is quite different from that told here. Yet another will be found in Crofton Croker's Fairy Legends.