A Changeling is a creature found in Western European folklore and folk religion. It is typically described as being the offspring of a fairy, troll, elf or other legendary creature that has been secretly left in the place of a human child. Sometimes the term is also used to refer to the child who was taken. The apparent changeling could also be a stock or fetch, an enchanted piece of wood that would soon appear to grow sick and die. The theme of the swapped child is common among medieval literature and reflects concern over infants afflicted by as-then unknown diseases, disorders, or mental retardation.
A human child might be taken due to many factors: to act as a servant, the love of a human child, or malice. Most often it was thought that fairies exchanged the children. Ethan Chase was replaced by a particularly violent changeling.
When Ethan is kidnapped by King Machina , he is replaced by a faery changeling. Meghan arrives home from school to find her mother laying on the floor, bleeding. Much to her shock the changeling who she believes to be her brother is standing over her mother, smiling. Later that evening the changeling devouers an entire pizza by himself, then attacks Meghan when she refuses to feed him more. Soon after the attack she is told by her best friend Robbie aka Puck that her brother has been kidnapped, and that the changeling has been left in his place. Puck explains several ways to get rid of the changeling, including bringing the original child back to the home. This sparks Meghan's quest into the Nevernever to rescue her brother and bring him home. Near the end of the novel Meghan returns home with her real brother, the changeling throws a fit before erupting into a cloud of smoke and disappearing.
- Ethan Chase
Kagawa, Julie. "The Changeling." The Iron King. Vol. 1. Don Mills, Ont.: Harlequin Teen, 2010. 49-62. Print. The Iron Fey.