Saturday morning I found a “fairy egg” in the nesting box. Do you know what a fairy egg is? I had never heard of them before I moved to our Enchanted Forest and got a flock of chickens. Occasionally, a hen lays a very tiny egg, which is called a “fairy egg.” People call them other less-flattering terms as well, but this is my favorite one. The photo at the top of this post is the fairy egg next to a regular-sized one. They are often even smaller than that. They differ from a normal egg only in size.
I told EJ my theory that the term comes from an Irish myth that says that occasionally a fairy would steal an infant and replace it with a “changling.” I’ve heard a few variations of stories over the years about what a changeling is–from being a fairy baby to being a counterfeit baby that would die within a few days. Eric speculated that the myth might have started as a way for a grieving mother to deal with the death of her infant. She could say that “My baby was stolen by the fairies” and tell herself that the “baby” who died was not actually real. That’s possible.
The website called “The Irish Post” says, “Some believe that the origin of the changeling myth stems from a very dark corner of the mind. Changeling tales illustrate an aspect of family survival in pre-industrial Europe. A peasant family’s subsistence frequently depended upon the productive labour of each member, and it was difficult to provide for a person who was a permanent drain on the family’s scarce resources.” The Irish Post’s explanation makes me sad.
To get back to the egg, my theory is that the small egg might be called a “fairy egg” because it’s not the normal size of an egg–it’s a “changeling” egg.
I think myths and legends are interesting, not because they are fact–although some might have a kernal of truth—but because they expose something about the people who tell them—they expose their fears, anxieties, sadness, dangers, and so on.
The last couple of days we had rain. Yesterday the rain was very heavy. It was good because it’s been a dry summer and we needed some rain. Although the weather hasn’t been especially hot, we’ve had high humidity which made it feel hot. Today the weather has been sunny, cool, and not humid.
Yesterday we had some guests come up toward the house. I always love this time of year when the turkeys bring their babies near the house. I took a video of them. I took it through the window, which was streaked with rain, so it’s a trifle blurry, but not too bad. Toward the end you can hear Hannah Joy softly woofing at them. Thankfully she didn’t bark loud enough to scare them off.