Brownies

Kathy Kohl Seeger, Iskra Adams, (and anybody else who was curious)- to answer the question about other books which reference brownies- almost any story of folktales or fairy tales from the 19th century and very early 20 th century will mention them. The Elves and the Shoemaker are really brownies.

Some other books-
Several by Palmer Cox, who was said to have ‘resurrected’ the Brownie from Scottish folklore and focused more on their mischief than on their secret good deeds
Julia Horatia Ewing published a sweet story about Brownies which were really children doing secret good deeds for their father
The Adventures of a Brownie, as Told to My Child by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik – 1872
The brownie of Bodsbeck By James Hogg (1818)

“THE brownie was a household spirit, of an useful and familiar character. In former times, almost every farm-house in the south of Scot-land was supposed to be haunted by one. He was understood to be a spirit of a somewhat grotesque figure, dwarfish in stature, but en-dowed with great personal strength, and hav-ing a mind of the most disinterested and even exalted sort. It was his humour to be unseen and idle during the whole day, or while the people of the house were a-stir, and only to ex-ert himself while all the rest were asleep. It was customary for the mistress of the house to leave out work for him,—such as the supper-dishes to be washed, or the churn to be prepay-ed,—and he never failed to have the whole done in the morning. This drudgery he per-formed quite gratuitously. He was a most disinterested spirit. To have offered him wages, or even to present him with an occasional boon, would have insured his anger, and perhaps caused him to abandon the establishment alto-gether. Numerous stories are told of his re-sentment in cases of his being thus affronted. For instance, on the goodman of a farm-house in the parish of Glendevon leaving out some clothes one night for the brownie, he was heard during the night to depart, saying, in a highly offended tone,
“G’ie BROWNIE COAT, G’ie BROWNIE SARK, YE’SE GET NAE MAIR 0′ BROWNIE’S WARK! ” From The Popular Rhymes of Scotland: With Illustrations
By Robert Chambers, 1820’s, a book more about folklore than rhymes

Lydia Maria Child even talks about them in her 1835 book
The history of the condition of women in various ages and nations

I think Sir Walter Scot may refer to Brownies in one or more of his Waverly novels. as well.

Robert Burns, in 1787, mentions an old lady in his family who told him stories of Brownies and other folklore and superstitions of Scotland- The British Prose Writers, Volume 23

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One Comment

  1. Kristina Tyree
    Posted June 11, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I was expecting a vintage recipe!!!! I do know about these brownies though. Thanks. Kris

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