Thursday, 26 November 2015

The King of Ekeberg's Changelings

If your child is mean and ugly, an incorrigible screamer with a big head and red eyes, it might be a changeling sired by the King of Ekeberg, or by one of his subjects. (The picture below shows his wife, on the left (sic).)

The King of Ekeberg, formerly of a subterranean palace in Ekeberg (now a suburb of Oslo), could not rid himself of his foul offspring quickly enough, and so this child swapping went on to such a degree that the subterraneans could not even nurse the stolen children themselves. (The folktales don't tell just why that might be, but there you go.) Therefore they also kidnapped wet nurses for the children, and often kept them forever.

If you suspect your big-headed, red-eyed child might be a changeling, you should take it out to the rubbish heap every Thursday evening, and thrash it; or pinch its nose with glowing fire tongs. On the third Thursday, its troll-hag mother will come for it, and reverse the swap, appalled that one may treat a child after that manner.




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