Tylwyth Teg

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Tylwyth Teg (Middle Welsh for "Fair Family";[1] Welsh pronunciation: [ˈtəlwɨ̞θ teːɡ]) is the most usual term in Wales for the mythological creatures corresponding to the Irish Aos Sí, comparable to the fairy folk of English and continental folklore. Other names for them included Bendith y Mamau ("Blessing of the Mothers"), Gwyllion or Ellyllon.[2]

They are described as fair-haired and covet golden-haired human children whom they kidnap, leaving changelings (or "crimbils") in their place. They dance and make fairy rings and they live underground or under the water. They bestow riches on those they favour but these gifts vanish if they are spoken of, and fairy maidens may become the wives of human men.[1]

As the Bendith y Mamau they are sometimes described as stunted and ugly.[1] They ride horses in fairy rades (processions) and visit houses where bowls of milk are customarily put out for them. A changeling story tells of a woman whose three year old son was stolen by the fairies and she was given a threefold instruction by a "cunning man" (magician) on how to get him back. She removed the top from a raw egg and began stirring the contents, and as the changeling watched her do this certain comments he made established his otherworldly identity. She then went to a crossroads at midnight during the full moon and observed a fairy rade in order to confirm that her son was with them. Lastly she obtained a black hen and without plucking it she roasted it over a wood fire until every feather dropped off. The changeling then disappeared and her son was returned to her.[1][3]

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Briggs, Katharine (1976). An Encyclopedia of Fairies. Pantheon Books. pp. 21, 419. ISBN 0-394-40918-3. 
  2. ^ Walters, John (1828). An English and Welsh Dictionary. Clwydian-Press. p. 448. 
  3. ^ Rhys, John (1901). Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx 1. Oxford University Press. pp. 262–9. 

Further reading[edit]