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James Callow Folklore Archive

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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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BELIEF

IN CELTIC COUNTRIES PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT IT IS GOOD LUCK
TO PUT NAILS IN THE CRIB OF A NEWBORN BABY. THIS PROTECTS
THEM FROM THE FAIRIES WHICH ACCORDING TO LEGEND CAME IN THE
NIGHT AND TOOK ALL BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN AND LEFT UGLY BABIES OR
"CHANGLINGS" IN THEIR PLACE. IF A MOTHER HAD A PARTICULARLY
UGLY CHILD SHE WOULD OFTEN SAY IT WAS A CHANGLING AND NOT HER
REAL CHILD. INCIDENTLY, PEOPLE BELIEVED THAT IRON WAS MAGICAL AND
SO IT IS NOT THE NAILS BUT THE IRON THAT THEY ARE MADE OUT OF
WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BRING THE GOOD LUCK.

Data entry tech comment: "YOU" IS PROFESSOR FRANK PAULSEN.

Where learned: CLASS DURING WHICH HE SUBSTITUTED FOR YOU

Keyword(s): CHANGELINGS

Subject headings: Charm / Enchantment / Conjuration
BELIEF -- Fairy Elf Goblin Gnome
BELIEF -- Mineral

Date learned: NOT GIVEN

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