This week, as well as going back to school (hooray says I!), my little girl will be officially starting Brownies. Her Brownie pack meet every Friday in the local church hall and learn skills, play games and do good deeds for others. They follow the Brownie Guide Law and are led by some lovely ladies known as Brown Owl and Tawny Owl. This in itself has it’s roots in weird and wonderful folklore; something which I will certainly explore in the future.
But aside from being a little girl in a yellow and brown uniform, or a yummy chocolate treat, what actually is a Brownie?
Brownies are close in looks to the fabulously named hobgoblin. They live in houses – often in the loft or cellar – and love helping with the chores. As a busy mum of two, I’d be very happy to share my home with a helpful Brownie; imagine coming home to one washing the dishes! But proper Brownies are not happy with being seen by humans, and will get awfully cross if you dare to try to pay them. They’ll scarper if they are so much as rewarded!
Does all of this not ring true of a house elf called Dobby? I wonder if JK Rowling based him on a traditional Brownie. Although, Brownies from her native Scotland aren’t as lucky as English ones; they have to live outside in ditches and streams! Poor things. Let’s leave Dobby as a house elf, happy in his work.
If you are lucky enough to live with a Brownie (who isn’t your sister) make sure that you leave them well alone and only offer honey, sweets or biscuits as a small thank you for the help they give. And just think, maybe it’s not really your mum who does all the housework when you’re at school…