Customarily brownies are said to inhabit houses and aid in tasks around the house. However, they do not like to be seen and will only work at night, traditionally in exchange for small gifts or food. They take quite a delight in porridge. They usually abandon the house if their gifts are called payments, or if the owners of the house misuse them. Brownies make their homes in an unused part of the house.
Brownies have the qualities of man and the supernatural curiously commingled. They have a peculiar fondness for solitude at certain seasons of the year. About the end of harvest they become more sociable, and hover about farmyards, stables and cattle-houses. They have a particular fondness for the products of the dairy, and are fearful intruders on milkmaids, who make regular libations of milk or cream to charm them off, or to procure their favour. They are said to be jolly and personable.
When irritated through neglect or disrespectful treatment they will not hesitate to become wantonly mischievous. They are notwithstanding, rather gainly and good-natured rather than formidable. Though, on the whole lazy and lounging, they will often bestir themselves on behalf of those who understand their humours, and suit themselves thereto. When in this mood, they are known to perform many arduous exploits in kitchen, barn and stable, with marvellous precision and rapidity. These kind turns are done without bribe, fee or reward, for the offer of any one of these would banish them forever. Kind treatment is all they ever wish for, and it never fails to procure their favour.
The brownies seldom discourse with people, but they hold frequent and affectionate converse with one another. They have their general assemblies too, and on those occasions they commonly select for their rendezvous the rocky recesses of some remote torrent, whence their loud voices, mingling with the water's roar, carries to the ears of some wondering superstition detached parts of their unearthly colloquies.
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