This one, originally published last fall here: Mythic Monday: Brownie seems apropos for the unpacking extravaganza. I don’t have Lucky Charms in the house in Minnesota right now, but I DO have Honey Nut Cheerios, milk, and M&Ms…
Help Wanted: small brownish creature willing to help clean my house, ride the dogs around in the middle of the night, organize as necessary, and remain hidden. Payment: various foodstuffs including porridge (when available), honey, chocolate, and heavy cream. Lodging and privacy included. Tolerance for iron in the house required.
People, I desperately need a Brownie.
I spent a good chunk of my weekend organizing and cleaning, and it’s completely true that those with children and dogs are just wasting their time on a wheel of frustration when attempting to clean. And therefore, tonight I’m lamenting the overabundance of iron in my house and the utter lack of Brownies, whom I’d GLADLY leave treats if one graced my home with her presence.
If you google “Brownie” you’ll get a variety of tasty baked goods…as far as I know these do not clean. In fact, I’ve proven on many occasions baked brownies have a magical ability to increase pounds but absolutely no ability to clean. They are terribly underwhelming as domestic help, except for easing crankiness brought on by chocolate cravings.
No, I’m referring to the small Fae people-ish creatures who, in Scots-Irish folklore, are rather famously helpful in the home as long as they’re properly cared for. Brownies are often considered a member of the Hob family (as in, hobgoblin, only benevolent): a small, shy creature who aids in household tasks if rewarded with food. Most often, porridge and honey, although those two options date back to the days when porridge and honey were pretty standard household fare. I wonder if Lucky Charms would work, or if it would just piss them off?
You do NOT want to piss off the creature who helps keep your house tidy and organized. Seriously. Bad things happen to people who abuse the Fae in general…particularly a human-like creature the size of a lemur who just happens to know ALL the secrets and ALL the places in your house to hide things.
Brownies traditionally don’t have any interest in being seen: they’re active at night when the family is asleep, and live in unused parts of the house. For a time it was custom to leave a seat open by the fire in the kitchen for the resident Brownie, in thanks for their protection and work (along with the ever-important food offerings, which are a must to keep your Brownie happy…I really can’t stress the food thing enough).
Unfortunately, Brownies, like all the Fae, have a severe aversion to iron. This means burying a nail under the threshold of your front door or hanging a horseshoe in your home will keep brownies (along with the rest of the Fae) at bay. Oh, did you think the horseshoe thing was a luck attractor? I suppose it was…as it was considered lucky to be passed over when the Fae are around, since they’re somewhat capricious and not at always kind. I suppose it’s the price to pay for keeping out kobolds, hobgoblins, and other nasties…but I DO sometimes wish modern homes were built without nails.
I need some household help, and I have plenty of Lucky Charms, milk, and honey to spare.