On Brownies and Goblins by Dr. W. Felix Haynes, Jr.

Today’s guest blogger is my father, Reverend Dr. Wilson Felix Haynes, Jr.


I did not know anything about Brownies and Goblins until I ”stumbled” into a 1915 grade school textbook entitled The Brownies and the Goblins by N.M. Bantlay. To add enhancement to my early education, I did a quick read-scan of the well-illustrated volume, beautifully crafted. I came to understand their profile.

Brownies, or Hobgoblins, evolved in Scottish lore. They are fabled household spirits who are domestically inclined. They come out at night while households sleep and do beneficial tasks. These welcome visitors oversee needed chores, deplore slovenly work, prod the lazy, and are experts in hiding. Brownies are mostly male and appear in a characteristic form as little thick people. Scottish homes left cookies and cream to assuage their temperamental nature. Handle them with care!

The Brownies’ reputation for good work and a merry spirit made them good examples in children’s textbooks. They found their way into cartoons and advertising posters as “salesmen.” Brownies created a fortune in products, including Eastman’s Brownie camera. They go fishing, horseback riding, and travel the world. Brownies have had a hey-day in products. On posters they accompany soft drinks, cookies, coffee and soap. Any item that has a Brownie connection is a jewel.

The opening page grabs the reader of the children’s text:

Good morning to you, dear friends!
We think it very fine
To see your faces beaming
Like the merry, bright sunshine.

Your hearts are beds of roses,
That breathe their sweet perfume;
And brownie folk all love you
With a love as sweet as June.

I advocate for their return and am leaving a bowl of milk and cooking beside my fireplace. I need their prod, blessing, and spirit.

Check out Pinterest for some great ideas on building elf doors and fairy gardens in your own yard or in a public space that invites others to add to the creative magic!