Monday, 8 April 2013

For Once Upon a Time: a bit of fairy lore

                                                       


  The Lore of Scotland, by Jennifer Westwood and  Sophia Kingshill, is a collection which I am reading in bits and pieces for the Once Upon a Time Challenge, for fairy tales and folk tales sections of the challenge. This book is so interesting - it has all kinds of Scottish legends, myths, fairy tales, and folk tales, collected from all over Scotland.
                                                          

For your folk tale and fairy reading pleasure on this late Sunday night, here is a folk tale about a brownie:

Boghall Farm, Near Dollar, Clackmannanshire

The Brownie was very like a man in shape.  His entire body was covered with brown hairs, hence his name. He slept all day and worked all night, when the whole farmhhouse was hushed in slumber. Although possessed of great strength he was harmless, and had more of a forgiving than a revengeful turn of mind. His food was sowans (oats steeped in water) and sweet milk, while his bed consisted of straw made up in some cosy corner of the barn.  To the farm of Boghall, near Dollar, Brownie rendered essential services; but it happened one very severe winter, when the snow lay deep upon the ground, and the frost was so intense as to freeze every running stream and well,that the woman of the house, afraid that her friendly Brownie would die, laid down some warm blankets on his heap of straw.  Seeing this, he immediately left the place saying:
    To leave my old haunts, oh! my heart is
         sair,
   But the wife gave me blankets - she'll see
     me nae mair;
  I've worked in her barn, frae evening till
     day,
  My curse on the blankets that drove me
    away.
   All the boon that I asked were my
     sowans and strae,
  But success to Bhoga' although
     Brownie's away.

Although he wished well to his former home, Boghall was never the same again.  'At the present day, it is little better than a wilderness', ends this account of the Boghall Brownie printed in The Scottish Journal of Topography in 1848.
                                      p56-57

9 comments:

Debi said...

Oh my--I'd no idea that blankets were such a source of disdain! You never know what you'll learn reading blogs, do you? :D

Susan said...

Debi: I think it's more the gift aspect - the Brownie leaves the household when he is offered clothing or in this case, a blanket. It is fun to learn - I remember being surprised the first time I heard it too. One of Charles de Lint's books has a brownie in it, but I can't remember the book. I read it 20 years ago! It was a good fantasy, too. I like how he uses lore like this in his work. I'm way off topic, aren't I? lol!!!

Geranium Cat said...

I love browsing through this book and its companion volume, The Lore of the Land, which covers English folktales. Everywhere I've lived I've acquired local collections, too. You never know when the information will come in handy - if a lake has a pooka or a house is haunted it's important to know about it!

Geranium Cat said...

I love browsing through this book and its companion volume, The Lore of the Land, which covers English folktales. Everywhere I've lived I've acquired local collections, too. You never know when the information will come in handy - if a lake has a pooka or a house is haunted it's important to know about it!

Susan said...

Geranium Cat: They are perfect browsing books, aren't they? So many interesting stories, local bits and pieces. Now I have to look for the English one! :-) thanks for the tip.

Yes, it's good to know what creatures go with the house you're buying, or if any local legends are connected to the property!

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