A type of domestic fairies who were very useful, and were said to perform all sorts of domestic drudgery. The family would give him offerings of various products of the place. Thus some, when they churned their milk, or brewed, poured some milk and wort through the hole of a stone called Brownie's Stone.
On the Island of Vallay (near North Uist), below the three chapels, there was a flat thin stone called Brownie's Stone, upon which the ancient inhabitants offered a cow's milk every Sunday.
When rewarded for his work, the brownie will disappear. The rhyme of the Scottish brownie, when rewarded with a coat and sark, ran thus:
- "Gie Brownie coat, gie Brownie sark,
- Ye's get nae mair o' Brownie's wark."
Well-known brownies are the Cauld Lad of Hilton, the Brownie o'Bodsbeck and the Hobthrush of Elsdon Moat. See also brùnaidh.
"Brownie" is a diminutive of "brown" -- "a wee brown man" often appears in Scottish ballads and fairy tales.
- Martin, M. (1716). A description of the Western Islands of Scotland. London: A. Bell, pp. 391, 67.