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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Changeling
Myths and Folk-Lore of the Aryan Peoples
 
From ‘A Pleasant Treatise on Witchcraft.’ English variant of the almost universal folk-tale

A CERTAIN woman having put out her child to nurse in the country, found, when she came to take it home, that its form was so much altered that she scarce knew it; nevertheless, not knowing what time might do, took it home for her own. But when after some years it could neither speak nor go, the poor woman was fain to carry it, with much trouble, in her arms; and one day, a poor man coming to the door, “God bless you, mistress,” said he, “and your poor child: be pleased to bestow something on a poor man.”—“Ah! this child,” replied she, “is the cause of all my sorrow,” and related what had happened; adding, moreover, that she thought it changed, and none of her child. The old man, whom years had rendered more prudent in such matters, told her, to find out the truth she should make a clear fire, sweep the hearth very clean, and place the child fast in his chair—that he might not fall—before it, and break a dozen eggs, and place the four-and-twenty half shells before it; then go out, and listen at the door; for if the child spoke, it was certainly a changeling; and then she should carry it out, and leave it on the dunghill to cry, and not to pity it, till she heard its voice no more. The woman, having done all things according to these words, heard the child say, “Seven years old was I before I came to the nurse, and four years have I lived since, and never saw so many milk-pans before.” So the woman took it up, and left it upon the dunghill to cry and not to be pitied, till at last she thought the voice went up into the air; and on going there found her own child safe and sound.  1
 
 
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