2017-08-20 / Family

Widgin the House Brownie (Part One)

By VALERIE EGAR
Author

Widgin tugged at his tiny satchel and took one last look at his family’s house. He’d lived with the Benson family for hundreds of years, moving from Scotland to America with the eldest Benson, Master James, in 1783. He’d helped build their farm and watched it prosper. Then, he followed the second generation of the family to Boston. As the family grew, he moved with them to various houses over the years until he found himself in a non-descript suburb with nothing to do.

Widgin was a brownie, an elf who cheerfully helped with household chores at night when everyone slept. Dressed in drab brown clothes and a red hat (his only nod to vanity), Widgin was spry despite his hundreds of years. Like all brownies, he made his home in the kitchen and he sorely missed the huge kitchen fireplaces he remembered from his youth.

As Widgin looked at the house he was leaving with sadness, he remembered all the things he had done to help his family over the years. When he was on the farm, he sang to the cows late at night to make the milk sweet. He watched over generations of children and kept bad dreams away. Made sure fireplace embers stayed in the fireplace. Ordered dogs to bark if anything was amiss. A small saucer of milk, a taste of morning oatmeal, a dip of honey inconspicuously left in a quiet spot were the only thanks he required.

Widgin’s suburban house had no fireplace, so it was hard to find a cozy place to rest. His family never ate oatmeal and abhorred honey. An occasional scrap of oatmeal cookie was the best he could find. The house had an alarm system, appliances that talked, a robot that vacuumed the floor and a funny gadget named Alexa that turned lights on and off, read the children stories, played music, and did so much, Widgin was left nothing to do. His family had long forgotten the old ways and didn’t believe in brownies anymore. He knew he wouldn’t be missed. With tears in his eyes, he started to walk.

Widgin wasn’t sure where he was headed. Many of the brownies in the neighborhood had left their families over the past year, bored with nothing to do and sad that no one acknowledged them. His friend, Alrick, thought he might go back to Scotland. 

“But how?” Widgin asked. Moving with a family was easy — any brownie knew how to slip into a roasting pan or scrunch into a tea kettle and pop out at the next house, but Widgin didn’t know any who managed to get across the sea on their own.

“Aye,” said Alrick. “That would be the problem.”

Widgin heard that some brownies who left their families found other families to help, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to adopt a new family. He was having a hard enough time leaving the Bensons and he didn’t think he could ever leave another family again.

He heard other brownies found barns where they were welcome and enjoyed protecting the horses and cows that lived there. He thought he might like that: barns were warm, animals were good companions, they would be grateful and could probably even see him, unlike humans. 

After walking all day, Widgin was finally in the countryside.  He saw a beautiful brown cow eating grass near a fence. “Hello cow,” he said amiably.

“My name is Belle,” said the cow. She shook her head and the cowbell around her neck clanged. “Get it? Belle.”

“Are there any brownies living in your barn?” Widgin asked.

“Yes,” she scowled. “Two and that’s two too many. All they do is fight.”

(To be continued)

Return to top