Monday, February 18, 2013

Friday’s Mythological Creature of the Day – Brownie

Brownies or brounies are mythological creatures from English/Scottish folklore, comparable to the Scandinavian tomte, the Slavic domovoi and the German Heinzelmännchen. The first mentions of Brownies are found in the documents of the 16th century where they are described as small humanoid creatures with wrinkled faces, covered in short brown fur and wearing deep-brown clothes. Brownies are considered to be household creatures, but are also known to live in dead trees and forgotten dilapidated dwellings. Sometimes Brownies become very loyal to a certain family, generation after generation, and move with them from house to house, but typically, they are loyal to the house itself ( you know, like Maesters in Game of Thrones – they were loyal servants of a Castle, no matter which king wannabe claimed its possession at this or that point of time).
Brownies are known to be friendly creatures. When they are treated with respect, appreciation and timely treats (although some sources point that any type of a reward for the job well done could be considered offensive to them), Brownies enjoy helping the families they’ve adopted with running the household. It is considered lucky when a family has a Brownie’s help. Brownies enjoy cleaning the house (I wish I could befriend one to help out with the inevitable spring cleaning ;-)), mending socks quietly at night, washing that tea cup you left in the sink, gathering the clothes you left on the floor and folding it neatly. They pride themselves on running the household in a proper manner and probably giggle quietly and roll their eyes at their adopted family’s inability to handle such seemingly easy pleasurable tasks on their own. Their passion for order and tidiness doesn’t stop by the walls of the house. Brownies are known with helping milking the cows, tending the bees, and harvesting as well. In Scotland, they are also responsible for helping with brewing the perfect ale. Brownies are mostly nocturnal creatures and prefer not to be seen, but some are known to become advisers and a shoulder to lean on in difficult situations to those whom they love.
However, when one offends a Brownie, he might wish to leave the household immediately. Evil pranks, poltergeist-like behavior and cruel mischiefs would be the Brownie’s revenge. The Brownie will go all Boggart at you! ;-) And that’s not a good thing.  (BTW, It’s not like Humphrey Bogart, it’s more like a malevolent creature trying to get you by crawling into your bed and covering your mouth with its clammy hand. Yikes!)
So, next time when you see the Girl Scouts selling cookies, you’d better buy a pack from them. After all, their junior branch is named after these legendary creatures, and your support  will get you some “brownie points” as well.
This is it for today!
Come back and spread the word!

1 comment:

  1. I have always been enchanted with the Brownie legends. (I'm Scottish and Irish) I was suprised to learn that Brownies are actually a type of GOBLIN!

    In the old folklore Goblin's, including the Brownie's cousin the Hobgoblin were mishievous but rarely murderous. Un like todat's (inaccurate) portayals of such beings (Thank's Tolkien....!)