Cats and Baby’s Breath
Long, long ago in parts of Europe, it was believed that fairy folk stole babies from their cribs and left in their place a fairy child. They were called changelings and were unhappy in the human world. A fairy child grew up wild and fey, always looking for a way back into the Summerlands; its green or blue eyes were slanted a little and its ears were a little more pointed than normal. And a changeling had a strange way of looking at the world, as though looking through the world to something hidden beyond.
But how? I hear you ask. How could fairies steal away babies?
Long ago, when fairies walked invisible in the world, only cats could see the fey folk. When a cat sat silently watching and there was nothing there to see, it was watching the fairies about their business. And when a cat sat on a mother’s lap, the sound of the cat’s purring was the sound of it spinning sleep so that the fairies could steal away her child to be their toy.
The purr was like the sound of spinning wheels steadily spinning and that’s what it was – as humans slept in an enchanted sleep spun by a purring cat, the fairies stole away the human infant and left one of their own in its place.
It was in the cat’s nature to be attracted to a changeling infant and to suck its breath as payment for spinning sleep. So at night, the cat settled down in the changeling’s crib and sucked the changeling baby’s warm milky breath. Sometimes a greedy cat stole too much of the baby’s breath and the parents grieved over the child, not realizing that their own baby had been stolen away long time before.
The ancient compact between cats and fairies ended long time ago when the wise cats realized that humans offered a far more comfortable home. Cats still sit and watch fairies about their invisible business, but they no longer spin sleep so that fairies can steal away human children to be their toys. Cats still like the warmth of a baby’s crib and are still accused of stealing a baby’s breath.
And of course, cats still purr like steady spinning wheels. When a cat is contented it purrs to itself in satisfaction, knowing that it has a far better compact with human folk than with fairy folk. In modern times, a cat only spins sleep if you let it.
From: Moggy Cat
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