The Changeling

Uwchmynydd, Wales,  ©  Dan Boyington, Google Maps


She was doing it again. My wife stood at the kitchen window, elbow deep in sink water, even though the frothy suds had long since flattened to a greasy film.

I cleared my throat so as not to startle her. Mary turned. “You’ve got to believe me,” she said.

Ever since the trip to Gwynedd she’d been this way. I nodded at the window where our daughter played outside. She was weaving a crown from a handful of daisies she’d plucked from the garden. “She’s fine, love. She’s the same as ever.”

Mary glared distrustfully at the girl and walked toward me. “I’ve been doing some research. They’re called the Twylwyth Teg. They take a human child, and in its place—”

“Darling, stop.”

I hardly knew what to say to her anymore. Our daughter was the same bright child she’d always been.

Mary was the one who had changed.

150 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt or to submit your own, click here.

Sorry for the delayed post! This week and last week have been deadline-o-rama, what with one short story, two articles, and a submission package (for an anthology) due. Plus the daily 1000-word slog on my WIP. And in bouts of insomnia and you get one tired writer. By the time I got to Pegman, my creative juices ran dry.


  1. Karen! Your changeling story is every bit as good as Josh’s. They are both spectacular! Nicely done. I love how the story comes round to Mary being questionable.

    1. Thanks Lish. It’s too funny that Josh and I came up with the same idea and even the same title! I did have the benefit of tweaking and rewriting mine a little after I read his! Thanks for reading, commenting, and for the great suggestion. This is such a lovely place you’ve uncovered.

  2. Love this one. It’s so funny that we came to this similar idea independent of one another. I like the idea that mentally ill people are so often the last to know that they’re declining.

    1. It is too weird. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. This is brilliant, Karen. You capture the perplexity of Mary’s husband really well. I fear that unless he takes very firm action there is a tragedy in the making.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Penny! I hope there is no tragedy lurking. Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. So well told. The despair of the husband, the conviction of the wife. This can only end in tears.

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting Sarah Ann! I hope you’ll consider submitting your own story to What Pegman Saw sometime.

    1. Thanks Jelli! Great to “see” you. 🙂

  5. Goodness, this is intriguing! I want to know more….

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Georgie!

  6. […] always, thank you to Karen and Josh for facilitating this group of globe trotting […]

  7. Dear Karen,

    When I saw that you and Josh had the same titles I thought perhaps that you were writing two sides of the same story. At any rate, I love what you did here. So much more story than meets the eye. Well written as always.



    PS I strongly disagree that your sucks compared to Josh’s. Pfft! Both stand on their own merit. I understand about being late. Weekends are so busy and with Mother’s Day even busier. A belated Happy MD to you.

    1. Happy belated Mother’s Day to you! Happy to see you. I’m honestly surprised Josh and I don’t come up with the same story idea more often, sharing the same house and having the same conversations. Thanks for reading and for your kind comments!

    2. Agreed! Pffft!

  8. […] on the other hand, totally did NOT go to Gwynedd… Because Karen and Josh are not mean and allow us to stray… And because once an idea planted… I could […]

  9. So deftly told, I think-. From low level unease, the greasy water in the sink, straight to the last line. Great story Karen.

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Francine! Glad you liked it.

  10. What a fantastic story. That tension between the characters is great, the dialogue so strong. Those details add so much – the greasy washing up water, the daisy chain which somehow conjures images of fairy rings … Maybe that child is a changeling after all. Smashing read

  11. Excellent, Ms Karen. Don’t you dare sell yourself short!
    And your story is just as good as Josh’s… Just so ya know 😉

    1. You’re very sweet. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  12. Weaving a daisy crown? Definitely a faerie child 🙂 Great last line, puts a different spin on the story.

    1. Yeah someone is definitely not right there. Thanks for reading!

  13. Don’t think this is going to end well. Great read.

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