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Before fairies went around [[{{Bowdlerisation}} granting]] [[MakeAWish wishes]] and bestowing {{Pimped Out Dress}}es to [[{{Disneyfication}} cinder maids]], they spent a lot of time doing some [[{{Grimmification}} serious mischief]].

One favorite game of TheFairFolk was to abduct human infants and leave behind a {{doppelganger}} or changeling. The human baby was taken back to the LandOfFaerie to be a soldier or slave. According to most European {{fairy tales}}, baby boys and children with golden hair were in particular danger of being stolen by [[OurElvesAreBetter elves]] and possibly replaced by an unwanted child (often a RedHeadedStepchild). Alternatively, the mother might be abducted, seduced, and impregnated by the [[Myth/CelticMythology Tuatha de Danaan]] (or local equivalent), resulting in a ([[EnfantTerrible possibly malevolent]]) [[CreepyChild fairy child]]. We know for a fact that MamasBabyPapasMaybe was [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial totally not to blame]] in any of these incidents. Compare AlienAbduction.

Meanwhile, the "changeling" tag served as a JustSoStory to [[AWizardDidIt conveniently explain]] physical and/or [[NeurodiversityIsSupernatural behavioural]] peculiarities that have since been {{demythtifi|cation}}ed as ScienceMarchesOn. Before modern medicine and genetics [[DoingInTheWizard did in the wizard]], so to speak, this trope was almost certainly one of the more common backstories used for members of TheFreakshow, as well as a potential rationale for abuse or infanticide.

To deter fey folk, infant boys were often dressed as girls, and cold iron would be hung over cribs and doorways. Common items included horseshoes, bells, nails, scissors and steel files. (WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong) Early baptism was also encouraged, and it was often cited as the reason why mothers could not work for some weeks after childbirth: they had to watch over the baby to prevent this.

Simple abduction by fairytale beings also counts under this trope. Due to the inscrutable nature of the FairFolk Returns Policy, [=1:1=] replacement of your child is not guaranteed.

The earliest fairy tale versions are OlderThanPrint. Contrast MosesInTheBulrushes, where the parents do the switching. See also {{Foundling}}. Compare [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Persephone]], YearOutsideHourInside, and its inverse YearInsideHourOutside.

Subtrope of {{Doppelganger}}, TheFairFolk, LandOfFaerie, InvasionOfTheBabySnatchers, and very often SwitchedAtBirth. [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused]] with the LighterAndSofter ChangelingFantasy, which is a RagsToRiches[=/=]CinderellaSituation.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', a young girl named Rosine offers up her parents' lives to the Godhand to become a fairy (or rather, a demon that takes the form of a fairy). She then makes the same offer to other children, transforming them into insectile pseudodemons that can ''look'' like fairies (to the disgust of Puck, an actual elf). Her mistake is trying to make the offer to her former best friend, Jill, because said friend happens to have just met series protagonist Guts, a former mercenary on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge [[DemonSlaying against all demonkind]] following the horrors of the Eclipse.
* In ''Manga/TheAncientMagusBride'', Shannon is a changeling who was swapped out with a human boy named Shanahan. As she explains most changelings are killed or abandon the human world when discovered, but hers were rather understanding and left her alive. She only discovered that she wasn't human when she stopped aging and Shanahan came to visit her, having become a fae himself after being in their realm for so long. She ended up marrying him and returning to the fae realm after her co-workers noticed her longevity.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* Like many fairy tale tropes, this is referenced in the ''Lorwyn'' expansion for ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', on the card [[http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=143380 Crib Swap]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}'' short story "The Corpse", Hellboy exposes a fairy changeling, then he has to perform a task for the fairies to get the original child back.
* In ''ComicBook/SuburbanGlamour'' ([[{{Glamour}} pun intended]]) the teenage protagonist learns that she's a literal changeling, and is the daughter of Fae royalty. She's initially elated to have the chance to get out of her dull, miserable life in a small middle-of-nowhere English village, but soon comes to realize that her Fae family are controlling and distant, and that [[WhatTheHellHero they did abandon her for seventeen years without any explanation]] and as such have no right to barge into her life and start making demands of her. She decides to remain with her human parents, who at least love and respect her even if they don't always understand her.
* In ''ComicBook/CourtneyCrumrinAndTheNightThings'', Courtney encounters a genuine changeling, but decides the baby's parents deserve it and the kid is better off among the Night Things (a.k.a. fairies).
* Referenced in ''ComicBook/IronMan''. As Malekith the Accursed [[TheWildHunt hunts]] Tony Stark, he taunts him [[spoiler:with the knowledge that he was adopted and compares him to changelings, saying that Tony has been one of Malekith's subjects his entire life.]]
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Avengers}}'' {{Elseworld}} ''Avataars: Covenant of the Shield'', those who develop strange powers in their childhood with no obvious cause are believed by the superstitious to have been "exchanged" for a fairy child, and are therefore known as [[Comicbook/XMen X-Changelings]].
* ''ComicBook/WitchDoctor'' features "cuckoo faeries", but the guise is so [[UncannyValley horrifyingly]] [[PaperThinDisguise unconvincing]] you almost wonder why they even bother. [[spoiler: And no, they don't get less creepy as they age.]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''FanFic/IntoTheHedge'' starts off with one, with the Cutie Mark Crusaders being kidnapped, and then replaced by fetches.
* ''Fanfic/MirrorsImage'' has Queen Chrysalis replace [[spoiler:a stillborn Twilight Sparkle]] with her daughter in order to ensure she has a family to feed her with their [[EmotionEater love]].
* In ''Fanfic/TheCrystalCourt'', Spring has a habit of collecting human babies to play with (usually till they die), and replaces them with fae babes that she felt were unfit for her court like in the case of Amethyst.
* In ''Fanfic/CuckooBird'', Izuku is a half-puca, half-elf NonHumanHumanoidHybrid whose biological parents swapped him for the "real" human Izuku Midoriya that Inko gave birth to. He's very torn up about this and even says that his name tastes like ash on his tongue because of it. When he tries to confess this to Inko, who he considers his real mom regardless of the circumstances, she tells him that she already knew because she had been exposed to the world of the fae by a friend of hers in the past. While she misses her biological son, she still considers Izuku her own and loves him just the same.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}}'' ([[Literature/{{Coraline}} book]] and [[TheFilmOfTheBook film]]) is a sort of inverted changeling tale, where a human child is lured into a paradisaical realm populated by inhuman but loving and attentive facsimiles of their parents and neighbors, in particular an Other Mother who [[DomainHolder controls the whole place]].
* Kristoff and his reindeer sibling Sven from ''Disney/{{Frozen}}'' were adopted by a group of trolls when they were children. In their case, they were presumed orphans and their adopted family took good care of them. Kristoff happens to fit the blond cliche, however there's no proof he was ever replaced with another kid.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Changeling}}'' (2008) is a modern version of the same ancient fear, with TheFairFolk replaced by [[SevenBasicConflicts society]] as the antagonist.
* ''Film/PansLabyrinth''. Although Ofelia rather loves her human mother, and seems to have loved her long-dead father, it's presented as an unambiguously better thing to live in the underworld full of magic. Mostly because dad is dead, mom is very weak-willed, and new stepdad is a zealous fascist. Unlike most examples, Guillermo del Toro actually takes into account [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters the implications of such a statement]].
* ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}'': "I wish the Goblin King would come and take you away, right now." BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor, Sarah...
* ''Film/{{Djinn}}'': It turns out that [[spoiler:Sarah killed her own son because she subconsciously realized that]] the child was actually replaced with a baby djinni.

* ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene'' contains stories of humans (like the Red Cross Knight) who have grown up in Faerie Land because of this trope, aware of their race but not their true identity.
* The narrator of Creator/HPLovecraft's "Pickman's Model" is particularly disturbed by a painting depicting a ghoul changeling participating in family prayers with his unknowing human hosts. And also by the companion piece, a painting of the stolen ''human'' child being taught to feed like its ghoul "parents" do.
* Creator/RogerZelazny's 1980 novel ''Changeling'' has its plot built on this trope, and its sequel, ''Madwand''. It's a subversion of the typical "ChangelingFantasy" because Pol (né Daniel) acknowledges that the family that raised him was nothing but supportive, and openly admits that his real father was a terrible man when he went off the deep end.
* This is the basis for ''Literature/TheMoorchild'' by Eloise [=McGraw=], who wrote it in response to the awful folktales about how to get rid of one. The half-[[TheFairFolk Folk]] changeling, Saaski, was transformed into a baby and swapped with a human child because her limitations were a nuisance to the Folk, and she's unhappier about it than everyone else. Later on, she restores her foster parents' daughter to them.
* In Creator/MercedesLackey's ''[=SERRAted Edge=]'' [[TheVerse 'verse]], the fey specifically only do this when the children have AbusiveParents. The reason given is that as nigh-immortals, Elves have a very low birth rate and thus value children very highly.
* Laurell K. Hamilton being a stickler for mythological accuracy, this is mentioned in passing in the ''Literature/MerryGentry'' series, but is not practiced by any of the Fey living in the United States, [[EverybodyHasLotsOfSex since it might interfere with the driving plot]]. Another reason the fey in the series might not kidnap people is because they don't want humans ''hating'' them. Their powers are failing. [[spoiler:[[OhCrap Or they were...]]]]
* Variants appear frequently in ''Literature/JonathanStrangeAndMrNorrell'' where fairies seem pretty fond of kidnaping in general, but usually don't bother with replacements or stick to children. It comes closest to being played straight with the Raven King who learns magic after being taken as a child, and [[spoiler: Mrs.Strange]] who gets an actual replacement.
* In the YoungAdultLiterature fantasy ''Poison'', the heroine's baby sister is kidnapped and replaced by a changeling, kicking off her quest. [[spoiler: It's actually all part of the Hierophant's {{plan}} to recruit her as his heir, and her sister is actually returned as soon as she sets off--as the girl Poison passes on the boat.]]
* One in John Crowley's ''[[Literature/LittleBig Little, Big]]''. After a while, it starts to disintegrate.
* [[spoiler:Kaye]] from Holly Black's ''Literature/ModernFaerieTales'' is a changeling, swapped as an infant for a human baby. She later meets the child she was switched with, who has aged only a few years in the Seelie Court.
* In Creator/TadWilliams' novel ''Literature/TheWarOfTheFlowers'', it is revealed that [[spoiler: Theo is actually a changeling baby that the fairies replaced his parents' real son with, while the human child is taken to the fairy world and becomes an EnfantTerrible]].
* ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'', being based on TheFairFolk legends, references this -- elves are known to have a [[InvasionOfTheBabySnatchers habit of stealing children]], and while they aren't seen to do it in the book itself, the mere possibility is [[BerserkButton so infuriating]] to the [[BewareTheNiceOnes usually laid-back]] [[MamaBear Nanny Ogg]] that she actually (if half-jokingly) suggests ColdBloodedTorture. Later, in ''Discworld/TheWeeFreeMen'', their child-stealing ways get actual page time.
* The title character of Zilpha Keatley Snyder's book ''The Changeling'' spends almost the entire book trying to convince herself and a friend that she is just that.
* Several of Caitlin R. Kiernan's novels feature "the Changelings": human children who have been abducted from their birth families and inducted into a cabal of subterranean monsters as servants and soldiers. A few of the so-called "Children of the Cuckoo" express longing for normal, human lives.
* In ''Literature/GoodOmens'', the infant Antichrist is swapped for a normal human baby this way, with demons instead of fairies. Thanks to the incompetence of an order of Satanic nuns, though, he winds up in the wrong normal human family.
* In Raymond E. Feist's ''Literature/FaerieTale'', the boy Patrick is taken away by "the shining man" and replaced by a changeling. The family takes the false child to the hospital, and there is a chilling description of the changeling's behavior, and how modern medicine attempts to explain it (that his brain was damaged by fever, that they don't understand how his brain could look like it does under an MRI)
* In Brenna Yovanoff's debut ''The Replacement'', the main character Mackie is a changeling (or a castoff, or a child left in someone else's bed... the Morrigan gives a lot of names). There is a rather sinister purpose to the child-switching here. The faeries (although they're never named as such) don't want a pet or anything nice like that. No, what they want is a child for the Lady to sacrifice. What's more, the fae kids who get switched into the human world usually don't survive, due to their weaksauce weaknesses of being allergic to iron and blood. Mackie only survived to high school because his older sister loved him so much. The kid who was switched with his girlfriend's little sister? Not so lucky. She does show up in the book, but [[spoiler: as a revenant to be re-switched for Natalie]]
* Creator/PoulAnderson's fantasy novel ''Literature/TheBrokenSword'' prominently features a changeling.
* In the ''Literature/{{Paranormalcy}}'' series, Evie and Jack are these. Jack was stolen by the faeries at a young age, and [[spoiler: Evie's mother is a human and her father is a faerie.]] Both of their stories bring some of the traditional mythos into it, with them both having blonde hair.
* In ''Literature/TheTwelfthEnchantment'' Lucy's niece is replaced by a strange demonic creature by one of the fairys of the book.
* In Creator/JackVance's ''Literature/{{Lyonesse}}'', Princess Madouc of Lyonesse is a changeling left by the [[TheFairFolk fairies]], although a relatively benign sort.
* In the ''Literature/TrylleTrilogy'', Wendy is a [[AllTrollsAreDifferent troll]] child that replaced the baby her mother actually had, a boy. Her mother somehow knows this and tries to kill her when she is 6. When she is in high school, a "tracker" named Finn finds her and brings her back to her mother, Queen Elora of the Trylle. She finds out that the Trylle (troll) society has done this for generations. They replace human babies from rich families with troll babies in order to acquire their trust funds. They then take the human babies, who are treated as second class citizens.
* In Creator/AndreNorton's ''Literature/DreadCompanion'', Bartare triumphantly recounts that although human lands have shaped her body, she is where she belongs when TheFairFolk take her.
* In Creator/RuthFrancesLong's ''Literature/TheTreacheryOfBeautifulThings'', the servants of the Fairy Queen were all taken. Jack explains that the queen could not keep fairies as perfectly entrapped in delusion.
* In Creator/IsaacAsimov's story "Kid Stuff", a member of the insectoid race which is the basis for the legends about fairies states that his people really like milk, and in the past, some have apparently used their mind control powers to get it fresh.
* A more mundane example in the web-novel ''Literature/{{Domina}}'': The fey (who are just crazy women who think they're Celtic fairies) kidnap people, and subject them to BioAugmentation so horrible it [[TraumaInducedAmnesia destroys their memories]]. Those few who escape are returned to as close to human normal as possible and become the changelings, a culture of hackers fighting the fey.
* While Faeries don't actually kidnap human children in the ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' books, this trope is referenced in the painting ''The Faerie Thief'', which Artemis steals from a bank vault during ''The Opal Deception''. It depicts an elf trying to snatch a baby from its cradle.
* In Katherine Kerr's Deverry series, the Guardians (pretty much the Fair Folk, except there's already another species who are elves) are eventually reincarnated as human children. From the description of their behavior, [[NeurodiversityIsSupernatural this is an explanation for autism.]]
* The plot of Linda Haldeman's ''The Lastborn of Elvinwood'' largely revolves around the whys and hows of making such an exchange to save TheFairFolk from extinction.
* "The Changeling" by Swedish author Selma Lagerlof -- in her version of the myth, a human mother saves her own child from being mistreated by the trolls because she cares so well for the troll-child they left her. Her son later returns.
* ''The Stolen Child'' by Keith Donohue is all about this trope -- from the viewpoints of the changeling as well as of the stolen child. And there's a kicker; it's an apparently endless cycle, each stolen child eventually becoming a changeling in turn, having to steal and replace someone else's child in order to return to the normal world: sort of an "Our Changelings Are Different" take on the concept.
* Played with in ''[[Literature/RiversOfLondon Foxglove Summer]]'', in which two missing girls are found wandering in the forest, and one of them turns out to be a duplicate after they've been taken back to their families. The twist is that [[spoiler: the replacement is actually the ''real'' biological daughter, who'd been swapped for a faerie changeling as an infant without anyone realizing it had happened. In a subversion of how parents usually react to this trope, her mother ''still'' wants the child she's been raising returned to her, and to hell with whether she's genetically related or not.]]
* In Creator/MCAHogarth's ''Literature/TheBloodLadders Trilogy'' Morgan Locke discovers that he's the bastard son of elven royalty disguised as a human when he was a baby and dropped off in an orphanage. And his half-brother, the Prince, is dead and they need a replacement.
* ''Literature/TheEnchantmentEmporium'' has Joe the Leprechaun. He live in the human realm because his family wanted a mortal child "for entertainment". At the beginning of the book, Joe is taking a portion to prevent "fading away" -- also known as "being called home" -- since the Human side of the trade died and the potion keeps him anchored; he ''really'' doesn't want to go back to a family that abandoned him. (And the human may have died of old age. Even if that means Joe [[YoungerThanTheyLook looks 30 and may be 80-90]], he still has spent most of his life among people and not Leprechauns.)
* These are apparently very common among human-folk in ''Literature/TheInheritanceCycle''. Thus, when Elain is having a child in ''Inheritance'', and Eragon asks Arya the elf to assist, she does so, but is very careful not to interfere too much because people fear her intentions. Then, when the child is born with a cleft lip, Eragon is called upon to heal the child. Before he takes the child away, he consents to allow the village healer Gertrude to accompany him into the tent where he goes to heal her, as he is mindful of Arya's warnings about fear of changelings. He knows that her presence will reassure the villagers.
* In ''Literature/HeirToSevenwaters'', Clodagh's baby brother is taken by TheFairFolk, and a glamoured PlantPerson is left in his place. Clodagh must journey into the LandOfFaerie to switch them back. This is part of a more complicated plot by Mac Dara of the Fair Folk to reclaim his half-human son [[spoiler:Cathal]], who was supposed to rejoin the Fair Folk on his seventh birthday but escaped.
* The short story "Changeling" in the anthology ''[[Literature/TheModernFaesGuideToSurvivingHumanity The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity]]'' is a SettingUpdate of the classic tale in modern-day Brooklyn. The Queen of the Fae poses as a nurse, passing off the stolen child as a stillborn, but the mother's midwife has seen such tricks before, and gives her the knowledge and tools to confront the Queen and take her child back.
* In ''Literature/TheMidwichCuckoos'', Gordon Zellaby suggests that the [[BizarreBabyBoom Dayout babies]], who resemble neither their mothers nor their fathers nor any known race, would have been undoubtedly identified as changelings in the past, though modern science has no word for them. He notes:
-->"The idea of the changeling therefore, far from being novel is both old, and so widely distributed that it is unlikely to have arisen, or to have persisted, without cause, and occasional support. True, one has not encountered the idea of it taking place on such a scale as this, but quantity does not, in this case, affect the quality of the event; it simply confirms it."
* In ''The Door in the Hedge'' by Creator/RobinMcKinley the Faerie folk regularly steal male infants and young girls from the inhabitants of the 'Last Mortal Kingdom'. They assume that the mortals won't mind so much since they can have more children - eventually they learn better.
* The fairies from ''Literature/TheMortalInstruments'' also do it. It is difficult for them to multiply, so they depend on bringing human babies into their realm and replacing them with weaker fairy children. The [[{{Nephilim}} shadowhunters]] accept that, but only because the only alternative is to lure adult humans into their realm until they've got offspring there with the fairies.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* An episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' has a piece on a woman with Capgras syndrome (see below). The suspect, a video game addict with a BastardBoyfriend, kept her daughter [[Literature/HarryPotter under the stairwell]] and refused to believe she was real, but had been [[{{Doppelganger}} replaced with another]] -- unless she only heard her daughter's voice. But the minute she saw her daughter, the delusion would set in again.
* One of the mysteries of ''The Family'' is whether or not the youngest son whose disappearance altered his family's dynamic and whose reappearance almost ten years later is disrupting things again is really the same kid. One of the ads shows him watching a video of "his" birthday on repeat until he can mimic the kid on the screen; in the series the older brother points out that he likes eggs now when he hated them as a kid.
* In the ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' episode "The Kids Are Alright"...they're not. They've been replaced by changelings, who kill their human fathers and feed on their mothers.
* The ''Series/{{Torchwood}}'' episode "Small Worlds" involved a girl who was a changeling (unbeknownst to her or her family), and the fairies came to get her back.
* An episode of Creator/TheBBC's ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'' has a variation on this one, in which a princess is not replaced, but is possessed by a Sidhe in infancy, as part of a plot to put a Sidhe on the throne of Camelot. The princess doesn't know the Sidhe is inside her, although its presence makes her very clumsy and uncoordinated. The plot is that once she's married Prince Arthur the Sidhe will take her over completely.
* ''Series/{{Highlander}}'' has Duncan being called a changeling by people in his clan, as he was found as a baby after his parents' true child died at birth. There's no proof immortals were really changelings.
* ''Series/TheHauntingHour'' episode "Intruders". Eve is contacted by a fairy named Lyria, who explains that Eve is really a fairy that had been taken in by a human couple.
* ''Series/TheMagicians2016'': In a variant, Fray turns out to not be Fen and Elliot's real daughter, who died at birth.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* Trolls in Scandinavia were also fond of switching their own children for human babies. The way to get rid of the changeling, however, was to treat it horribly and beat it frequently. The changeling's true mother would see the way its child was being treated and rush to undo the swap.
* In Iceland the Hidden People would steal infants and leave their elderly in stead of the child as a changeling. Much more sensible than leaving your own child, just get rid of senile old pops and get a pretty little young thing instead.
* In German fairy-tales there are generally two possibilities to get rid of them: 1) treat them horribly (as described above), or 2) doing something really stupid (e.g. cooking water in egg shells), the changeling then would laugh at you (sometimes even taunt you with a rhyme), which broke the spell and forced the fairy to take the changeling back and return the real child.
* In the fairy tale "Literature/ChildeRowland", Childe Rowland's sister Burd Ellen is kidnapped by elves when she inadvertently runs around a church "widdershins" (i.e., counterclockwise to the sun's path).

* Folk musician Music/AlexanderJamesAdams was once known as Heather Alexander. His stage reason for this is that Heather was the changeling left in his place, of late returned to [[TheFairFolk Faerieland]]. This is pretty much in keeping with the themes of most of his songs.
* While it certainly seems to be metaphorical, "Changeling" by Music/TheDoors drunkenly plays this trope out.
* Music/HeatherDale's ''Changeling Child'' is about this. An infertile woman asked the queen of the fairies for a child of her own however, being LiteralMinded, the fairies gave her a son [[NotAllowedToGrowUp who wouldn't grow]].
* Music/TheWaterboys set Yeats' "The Stolen Child" (under Poetry, below) to music.

* Creator/WilliamButlerYeats ' "The Stolen Child" discusses such a thing: "Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild / With a faery, hand in hand, for the world's more full of weeping than you can understand..."

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheLost'' is all about this. Of course, the faeries in this case don't stop at kids, and the "changelings" of the title are actually the humans they've taken. The Gentry usually just leave something made of detritus and a fragment of their captive's soul in their place. Tragically, such "fetches" not only look human, but often think they're human and have no idea of the truth.
* ''TabletopGame/ArsMagica''. Faeries do the standard "kidnap children and replace them with changelings" routine.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'':
** The Wood Elves are not above this kind of thing, although they seldom leave anything behind as a replacement. They tend to steal away beautiful boys from the land of Bretonnia surrounding their forest home, who then become ageless servants at their feasts. It is possible that stolen girls are returned to Bretonnia as its damsel sorceresses.
** There is also a daemon called The Changeling, with the ability to impersonate others flawlessly. Though it tends to impersonate full-grown and important people to cause mischief, rather than replacing babies.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The InteractiveFiction game ''VideoGame/TheWarblersNest'' is about a woman trying to figure out if her baby is a changeling or not. [[spoiler:There are two possible endings to the game, but both [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane leave it ambiguous]] as to whether the baby is truly a changeling or her mother is simply cracking under the stress of taking care of it.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' [[spoiler:Kilia]] is this. [[spoiler:The party returns to Palmacosta only to discover that Governor-General Dorr has been working with the Desians in order to acquire a cure for his wife, who has been transformed into a monster]] prompting a ReasonYouSuckSpeech from Lloyd. [[spoiler:Dorr]] is then stabbed in the back by [[spoiler:Kilia, who reveals herself as a doppleganger.]] leading to his death after the ensuing boss fight. [[spoiler:It turns out the real Kilia died some time ago, and the fake one replaced her in order to keep an eye on Dorr, and monitor the experiments at the ranch from behind the scenes.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'', this happens to [[spoiler:Luke Fon Fabre. He was kidnapped from his home, and replaced with a Replica copy. The copy is revealed to be he character the player knows as Luke. The original Luke never returns to his old life, becoming the God General Asch the Bloody]].
* In ''VideoGame/TheSims3: Supernatural'', the backstories for some of the families in the new Moonlight Falls neighborhood are variations this. The fairy Flora Goodfellow switched Linda Rodgers' adoption to that of a fairy baby and took the human baby she was supposed to adopt. Flora Goodfellow also accidentally turned the Hoppcraft toddler into a fairy.
* In ''[[VideoGame/NancyDrew The Curse of Blackmoor Manor]]'', one of the Penvellyn ancestors was rumored to be a fairy's child, foisted off on her presumptive father by means of this trope. She was actually a foundling whom the man had adopted on the quiet.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In the claymation short ''[[http://www.foxedmovie.com/theshortfilm/ Foxed]]'', a little girl is kidnapped by fox-like creatures and forced to work in a mine. She escapes and finds a one-way window into her house, where she sees that one of the foxes has replaced her.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Whither}}'', Emelind is a literal changeling, but she considers the universe where she was raised in to be her true home.
* Several subverted changeling tales (the Erlkönig tried to steal Toby but the Jareth and Javert stopped him, Jareth ''babysat'' Lír but King Haggard sent the Red Bull after them etc.) appeared in ''{{Webcomic/Roommates}}'', but you know it must be common if the token [[TheFairFolk fair]] teammate (Jareth) refers to the practice as ''[[InsistentTerminology babysitting]]''. And he never [[GoneHorriblyWrong messed up so badly to kill anybody]], his father was ''not'' this lucky.
%%* In the webcomic, ''This Is the Worst Idea You've Ever Had!'': One of the characters is this %% Zero Context Example. Please write up a full example

[[folder:Web Original]]
* [[ChangelingFantasy Both tropes]] are explored and played tragically straight in the short story "Changelings and Fairfolk" on Strange Stories About Sad people. http://strangestoriesaboutsadpeople.blogspot.com/2009/10/changelings-and-fair-folk.html
* This trope is used interestingly in one of the illustrations of [[http://keithwormwood.deviantart.com/gallery/?offset=24#/d87tkr The Warden]] by Website/{{DeviantArt}}ist Keith Thompson, where the Fey Folk's custom of stealing away babies and replacing them with their own as a spiteful taunt to the oblivious parents [[HoistByTheirOwnPetard BITES THEM BACK IN THE ASS HARD]]. The Warden was one of the fairy dopplegangers who, as a result of the constant patience, love and compassion given by his elderly human parents, turned on his own kind in bitter grief after their deaths with the intent to dish out the same sorrow the Fey Folk doled out so generously. He now spends the rest of his days capturing Fey Folk and strapping them to his body, savoring their pleas as they waste away.
* {{Invoked|Trope}} in the backstory of ''Literature/{{Moonflowers}}'', where a traditionally-minded Irish town tries to kill one of their own people (the homosexual Owen) by claiming that he's a fairy changeling. It's stated several times that nobody actually believed it: Owen was ''twenty years old,'' had never showed signs of actual [[TheFairFolk Folk lineage]] like being burned by iron, and nobody even bothered testing him to confirm the claims. [[BrokenAce Owen is now bitter, snarky, and prone to violent bursts of anger.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Happens to Bloom, the protagonist of ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub:'' First she learns that she's a fairy, and then is revealed that her parents aren't her real parents, and that she's a [[ChangelingFantasy princess of another world]].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' uses the term "Changeling" to describe a race of shape-shifting [[BeePeople bug ponies]] [[ThePowerOfLove that feed off of love]]. While they don't go around kidnapping children and replacing them with their young [[EpilepticTrees (as far as we know)]], they did [[spoiler:kidnap Princess Cadence on her wedding day so they could replace her with a doppelganger]].
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'', the son of David Xanatos and Fox was the target of an intended abduction by Oberon and Titania, who'd planned to raise young Alexander in their own realm. Averted when [[spoiler:Fox, in desperation, manages to call up the inborn magic she'd unknowingly inherited from Titania, proving that Alex could likewise grow up on Earth and still develop his own fey-blooded powers]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Children with the hereditary genetic [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_syndrome Williams syndrome]] are sometimes called "fairy children". They are often smaller than average and show typical facial features: upturned snub nose, full lips, wide mouth, small chin, large eyes set wide apart. Children with blue or green eyes may show a starburst pattern in their iris. They are often mentally retarded but empathic, commonly have strong social skills and great verbal and musical talent.
* There is another medical phenomenon that fuels this, known as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capgras_delusion the Capgras Delusion]]. Basically, a person with a specific brain injury thinks that their child (or another relative) is not theirs, has been replaced by a {{doppelganger}} who [[TheOtherDarrin looks alike]], and cannot be convinced otherwise (in the age of mythology, [[HandWave elves]] would be a convenient explanation). It was referenced in ''The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat''.
* Common characteristics of autism, which frequently don't manifest for several months after birth, include: Difficulty empathizing with others (or realizing when they're harming or at least offending someone else), rigid adherence to a series of seemingly nonsensical rules, trouble telling lies, sensitivity to loud noises (i.e. church bells), slow to develop creativity, and the lack of facial expressions mean it takes longer to develop wrinkles giving the illusion of youth. Any of those traits sound [[Analysis/TheFairFolk familiar?]] Even today, the (spurious) link between infant vaccination and autism has shades of this trope, where parents feel that their child was perfectly normal before science "took him away" and now caution other parents to stay vigilant.
* Rather horrifyingly, no lesser personage than Martin Luther described a "fairy child" in some of his writings with symptoms we'd now call autism. He recommended that the boy be ''killed''. Let us hope no one took his advice...
* The closest equivalent to real-world changelings is [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brood_parasite Brood Parasitism]], practiced by half of the species of cuckoos. They replace another species of bird's egg with their own, tricking the parents that the impostor is their own child. This relieves the cuckoo from the investment of rearing young or building nests, enabling them to spend more time foraging, producing offspring, etc. Despite the cuckoo chick not resembling the "parents" at all (and are sometimes even ''bigger'' than the "parents"), the strategy works fairly often since most birds are just that stupid. If the host birds do get a clue and remove the cuckoo egg, the adult cuckoos (who occasionally check up on their eggs) will attack them and destroy their nests. Cuckoos basically run an egg protection racket as a "cuckoo mafia".
* There are fish species that do the same thing, sneakily laying their eggs among those of other fish that engage in parental care.
* Spare a thought for poor, doomed Bridget Cleary, who in 1895 was murdered by her husband because he believed her to be a fairy changeling. Already a topic of contention in her small village in County Tipperary (she was proudly of independent means and had had no children in the eight years she had been married to her husband) at the age of 26 she fell deathly ill -- to the point when the priest was called in to perform the last rites. Relatives complained that the nearly-dead Bridget was "much changed" and "not herself" (apparently unfamiliar with the concept of delirium), and so her husband Michael became convinced she had been replaced by a weak and sickly changeling. Soon the whole village was surrounding the cottage, chanting, force-feeding her milk with herbs, pouring human urine on her (a popular fairy repellent, apparently), and eventually holding her over the fire and prodding her with a red-hot poker. Again and again she was asked if she was the wife of Michael Cleary, and again and again she said yes. She eventually disappeared, and the villagers naturally assumed she had gone off with the fairies. But no; her charred corpse was uncovered a few days later in a shallow grave. The coroner ruled that she had been burned alive, and Michael said that yes, he had burned her alive, but had not killed his wife; he had driven the fairy changeling away, and his real wife would be waiting by the fairy fort on a white horse. She never turned up and he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. To this day, Irish children often chant, "Are you a witch or are you a fairy? Are you the wife of Michael Cleary?" There is, rather oddly, an Irish folk band called Burning Bridget Cleary.