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A Winter Tale - Brownie Finds a Winter Home

When I lived in Bavaria, it was common for the farmers to put out a bowl of milk every night for the elemental who looked after their farms. Some had helpers for the farm; some had helpers for the house. I loved the idea of a magic being quietly tending to a household. This story is in honor of all those little tomtens and house brownies out there

Brownie Finds a Winter Home

The winds howled and the snow flew through the cracks in the old barn walls. The little Brownie curled up in the last of the hay bales left behind by his farm people. He had been a house Brownie for the farm family for years and years. He missed helping them with the chores. He always lived in the barn, and when the people slept at night he would tiptoe into the house and clean and dust and care for all that needed doing. But now his people had moved far away to a city, and no one lived in the old farm house. No one cared for the barn and it was in disrepair. All the animals had been sold. Brownie was too cold to sleep with the winter wind whistling through the old barn. He needed a plan.

By morning, when the sun rose pale and shivering, the little Brownie knew what he must do. He had to find a new family to care for. So off he went down the snowy road away from his old farm. He had seen a kind little girl named Susannah living in a country house not too far down the road. ‘I will go to her house and become their little Brownie,’ he said with a hopeful voice.

The big country house was lovely, with a big porch and a red door. Brownie hid and waited for someone to open the door. He could hear children laughing inside. ‘I am going to love living here,’ thought little Brownie. It was not long before the red door opened and 2 children, Susannah and her brother Henry tumbled out dressed in their winter clothes. Henry took the sled by the door down the porch stairs, and called to his sister, ‘hurry, let’s sled down the big hill two times before breakfast!’

Little Brownie slipped inside while the door was still open without being seen, and the children ran through the snow to the sledding hill. Inside, Brownie looked all around, the rooms were large and there were a lot of them. He needed to find a place to live before anyone saw him. The first place he saw was a little mouse hole. He knocked and called inside. Hello, is anyone inside? I am looking for a new winter home.’ A little grey mouse peeked out and said, there is no room here, but come for tea one day. Little Brownie said goodbye and wandered on to Henry’s room. There he saw a small teepee on the floor where Henry played. ‘Perhaps this would be a fine place to live,’ thought the Brownie. He peeked inside the teepee, and saw a circle of ten toy Indians already lived there. He asked if there was room for him too.

‘Oh no, the Indians all said, we sing all night and you will not get any sleep in here! But welcome to the big country house, the people are so nice. Come back and visit!’

Little Brownie wandered on down the hall, until he found Susannah’s room. There he saw a tall Victorian doll house full of rooms. He walked in, as the doll house was open to all. Upstairs in the doll house, the doll Mother was making the bed. She was happy to see Brownie, ‘ oh goodness me, a helper has come! How wonderful!’ She did not mind sharing the doll house at all. Go down to the little room by the kitchen, you might like to live there.

Little Brownie, went down the doll house stairs and through the living room to the kitchen. A sweet little cozy room was waiting for him behind the kitchen. Brownie not only liked it he loved it. And here he made his new home, warm and safe, with no winter wind blowing snow inside.

The best part of it was, he had found a new family to care for. Every night, when the people slept, little Brownie tiptoed through the home finding keys that were lost under a chair and putting them on the table where they would be found. If the cat needed more water, he would fill up his bowl. If Susannah or Henry needed their room tidied up, he was happy to help put things in order. There was always something useful to do. He was happy in the new country house.

One day Susannah woke up early and went to play with the doll house. This is when she saw the little Brownie sleeping in a small bed in a room behind the doll house kitchen. She ran to the big house kitchen and came back with a bit of cheese and a grape, and left it on the doll house kitchen table for him.

The next morning Susannah woke up early again and looked in the doll house kitchen. The cheese and grape were gone! Susannah became the helper for the little Brownie, filling the doll’s pantry with real food, and real tea in the doll tea pot. Little Brownie had never been cared for before. How lucky he was to have found such a fine family.

Brownie came to love Susannah, and Susannah too loved the little Brownie. On cold winter nights he always made sure her bed covers were pulled up tight, and whenever she had a bad dream he sang to her until she fell sound asleep again. Sometimes he fell asleep curled up on her shoulder. Little Brownie had found a most wonderful Winter Home!

Time came and went, and Brownie stayed on in the country house. It started out as his winter home, but soon became his always and forever home. This is what a little Brownie loves best. He did go regularly to have tea with the grey mouse in her mouse hole house. And often after his night chores were done, little Brownie would go to Henry’s room and sit in the teepee circle with the toy Indians and sing and sing and sing.

If you are very lucky
You’ll have a Brownie in your house.
He is not a toy or like a sweet grey mouse.
He is the one who watches over all
Even if he is so very, very small.


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