Betty Stogs is said to have been a lazy girl who lived at Towednack. She had a life many would have been envious of – a loving husband, a moorland cottage, and a new born baby. But Betty didn’t appreciate what she had. She showed no interest in cleaning her cottage or caring for her young child – in fact her pet cat supposedly spent more time with the baby than Betty did.
That cat laid with the baby in its cradle, and even shared its food. As a result of its mother’s neglect, the child was filthy – ‘Towednack is a windy place an’ cold,’ Betty would say. ‘A good layer of dirt will keep ‘n warm.’
One evening Betty returned home, having gone out to the local tavern and left her baby in the care of the cat – a regular occurrence. However, when Betty entered the cottage she heard not gurgling or crying of her infant, and no mews from the cat. She searched high and low but the two had completely disappeared.
Betty began to panic and practically dismantled the quaint abode in a frantic search for her baby. When her husband returned home from working in the mine he was understandably furious. Her husband gathered together their neighbours and a search for the baby went on throughout the night – no stone was left unturned.
The next morning, just as the sun was beginning to rise, Betty saw her cat and hurried to follow it. The feline led her to a thicket of fern and furze, and nearby Betty found her child, sleeping peacefully upon the grass. But the baby was almost unrecognisable – it was washed and clean, smelling sweetly of herbs and flowers.
When Betty returned home with her child, the wise ones of the village explained that the Small People were responsible. The tiny folk had seen how neglected the baby was and fancied it for their own. Luckily for Betty, the faeries hadn’t quite got the child clean enough when the sun rose and sent them back into hiding. In fear that the faeries might return, Betty never again left her child unattended and showed as much love for the child as any good mother should.