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Brownie

Updated on August 28, 2010
Thimbletack the Brownie from the Spiderwick Chronicles
Thimbletack the Brownie from the Spiderwick Chronicles

Brownie, in the folklore of Scotland, a goblin of the most obliging kind. He was rarely seen, and was known by the good deeds which he did. He usually attached himself to some farmhouse in the country, and he was noticed only by the voluntary labour which he performed during the night. He would churn, thresh the corn, clean all the dairy utensils, or perform some equally good-natured labour. The country people had great faith in the good works of the brownie and believed in him implicitly. His reward was usually a dish of cream, and he usually left when offered clothes.

The brownie bears a strong resemblance to Robin Goodfellow in England and the Kobold in German literature, whilst some comparison can be made between him and the household gods of the Romans (see lares) and the Russian 'domovoy'. Brownies were often the cause of the mysterious disappearance of things, and in this respect can be compared to the pixies of south-west England. Practically every known folklore has its special fairy which can be compared to the brownie.

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