Faerytaleish Pin Contest
The blood–tithe is soon due. The faeries set out to steal a mortal baby and issue a changeling in its place. The faerie court want a blue-eyed, blonde-haired boy child to pet and cosset and keep for the blood-tithe.
They leave the magical hedgerow and go through the hedge, the barrier, the divide between the faerie world and the world of mortals. With their green-stained teeth, sharp, pinlike, pointy; their bright spikily waxed blond hair; disproportionately large knuckled hands, thin fingers and tapered nails; spiteful little faces, and blackly glinting eyes, they merge into the undergrowth and move swiftly, silently in shoes of moleskin. They carry a poor sickly little mite, blue-eyed and blonde haired, a faerie baby, the one they call ‘the good for nothing’, the changeling.
Into the farmworker’s cottage. A wife and mother is pegging out washing, their target mother, none too bright. They snatch her child from the cradle and leave the faerie changeling behind.
The mother looks in puzzlement at the baby, it looks a bit different, but how? No, a trick of the light, surely? She tucks the blankets around the tiny child, only a trick of the light, she shakes her head. The deed is done. The child grizzles in its sleep.
The faerie court coo over the tiny mortal, they pinch it to make it cry then pick it up and fuss over it, loving the novelty. They chuck it beneath its chin to see it smile gummily up at them and feed it on nectar giggling when it becomes drunk. The fun lasts until the babe is so hungry it won’t stop crying and doesn’t smile any more. Now the sacrifice is made, the blood-tithe gathered.
Another half-dozen and they will be safe until the winter solstice.