Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Today I'm going to tell you about brownies! When you hear the word "brownie" what do you think of? Probably a luscious dense chocolaty cake-like rectangular prism, perhaps with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or drizzled with chocolate syrup. Well, that doesn't really have anything to do with literature, so that's not the kind of brownie I'm talking about.  If you think of little uniformed girls from the youngest division of Girl Scouts, then I'd say you were closer to today's topic. For a brownie is indeed a small person who does good, but they're not Girl Scouts.  Brownies are small people of folk lore who "adopt" a house and perform chores at night. In return the family puts out simple food for him, such as fresh milk, an oat cake, or a bowl of porridge on the hearth. The brownie usually stays hidden from site and although they are seldom seen they should never be taken for granted or angered, I repeat: NEVER. Their needs are so simple yet they are fussy creatures.  I heard a story where a man was boasting to a friend about how his brownie did everything for them and that he did not need to work any more and assumed that the brownie would always be at his service.  The brownie was so angered he left. Also, when a brownie is angered he turns into a bogart. The bogart will wreak havoc on the household before leaving the place and no longer serving that family.  As I said, their needs are simple: respect and food.
Any changes in the way you treat a brownie may result in his turning into a bogart or else his peaceful departure as a brownie. One book I read told that even changing the arrangement of his food may anger him into a bogart.
Even an extra act of kindness may send the brownie off in search of another household. Seeing the weather growing colder, a girl made some wool garments for Aiken-Drum (the brownie) and left it with his porridge.  He did not become a bogart, but he left the town because he had been paid with clothes. (This story is called, "The Brownie of Blednoch" and appears in "The Book of Elves and Fairies" from Dover Publications.)
Brownies live in Scotland, so unless they've immigrated, probably the only brownie doing chores around your house is your helpful girl scout. Also, if traveling in Scotland I'd be careful about talking about how delicious brownies are, or you might have some angry bogarts on your hands...
Well, I hope this has been an informative discussion on these over-looked but helpful little people and their evil side: the bogart.

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