Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Changelings

Much Folklore relating to Fairies alleges they are prone to steal human infants, leaving Doubles in place. Folkloristic changelings usually reveal themselves, eventually, to be unhuman entities (or perhaps just blocks of wood), but literary ones are children who seem unnaturally malevolent, angst-ridden or imaginative. Notable literary versions include "Changeling" (1946) by Dorothy K Haynes (1918-1987) and "The One and the Other", the opening story in Sylvia Townsend Warner's Kingdoms of Elfin (coll 1977).

The Soul of Kol Nikon (1923) by Eleanor Farjeon is a bleak study of a child rejected by family and society. In Brief Authority (1915) by F Anstey and The Land of Unreason (1942) by L Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt are comedies in which mistaken identities confuse the traffic between the contemporary world and Faerie. A changeling and his counterpart function as morally opposed Doppelgängers in The Broken Sword (1954) by Poul Anderson. A Shapeshifting changeling is featured in The Woman who Loved Reindeer (1985) by Meredith Ann Pierce. [BS]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.