The Cobbler and the Changeling

Earlier this evening I had two pals over to the house, and we made some delicious blueberry cobbler.  This is one of my favorite desserts, especially when the berries are handpicked, and *especially* when the berries are picked at the height of summer in the mossy swamp borderlands that the moose like to frequent.  Mm-mmm!

While my friends and I waited for the cobbler to bake and we were chatting and munching on cheese and cornichons, my LO came home from the studio with an exciting bit of lore he had heard!

Evidently, some German and/or British Isles traditions say that when you suspect your baby has been taken and a changeling left in its place, the only way to get your baby back is to make the changeling laugh.  And one of the recommended ways to do this (and a fascinating addition to our list) is by boiling water or soup over the fire in eggshells! The theory goes that the changeling will take one look at what you are doing and find it so ludicrous that it will drop its mask and, chortling some comment about never seeing anything like your behavior in 400+ years, its elvish cohorts will sweep in with your baby in tow and swap them out.

Now, I personally find the idea of changelings (and doppelgangers, for that matter) pretty horrific.  I suppose that could be because it symbolizes the frightening prospect that every individual, no matter how apparently good or innocent, has the power and potential to do harm, or perhaps it relates to the fear of being misunderstood or the danger of slander if you’re talking about your own doppelganger.  But for some reason this anecdote about the eggshells makes changelings seem to me slightly less threatening, and I’m rather comforted by the idea of  humoring them into kindness.

I can imagine this story standing in as some good advice:  If you know someone is innately good, but you recognize that they’re starting to do bad things, don’t be too hard on them, because sometimes people get “taken” by a situation, and their reactions can feel out of their own control.  Try to focus their attention on the lighter side of life, to show them that it’s not so serious, and maybe you can turn them around again.

Food for thought, I guess.  Now after eating all that cobbler my lips and tongue will be purplish blue for days.  Kind of like a little demon spirit version of me.  Kind of makes a girl start to think about mischief.  Isn’t cobbler wonderful?  *g*



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