Magical landscape of Scotland.

        ‘Did you bow before setting foot on the island?’

        ‘Yes, I did.’

        ‘And ask permission to be here?’

        ‘Yes I did, did you?’

        ‘Hmm hmm, will it be enough? Should we talk more loudly to let it know we are here?’

        ‘I don’t know, we will find out. When all our stuff is messed up I guess our performance was not good enough…’

The Haswell-Smith book about the Scottish islands advised us to perform a ritual to ask the Brownie permission to be on Cara island. Cara is an uninhabited island near the west coast of the Mull of Kintyre and south of the well-populated island of Gigha. It has got only one large house on it, probably a holiday house now. Brownies and large houses go together. 

The house on Cara island.

Wait a minute, a Brownie, isn’t that a lovely-sticky-gooey-chocolate-cake-with-chocolate-chips type of thing? 

No, it is a small-ugly-little-weatherworn-house-dwelling-fairly-like-creature-minus-wings-who-can-appear-and-disappear-at-will type of thing, with hair all over its naked body and perhaps some rags on.

According to folklore, a Brownie is a ghost of a servant that passed away. And it’s usually a male. If we don’t treat the Brownie nicely, the consequence is that he will mess up the tent while we are sleeping and float the kayaks. 

But when treated with the right amount of respect the Brownie will be nice and not touch our stuff. Or even better, during the night he will come out and do the dishes and repack our kayaks in a more economic way. All the more reason to observe the proper ceremony and leave a gift of food out in the night as a sign of our appreciation.

Now, I’m not a superstitious person but when a Brownie has a chair on the island there must be some truth to the story. Although, when looking at ‘the chair’, I don’t think it offers very much comfort. Only a pile of cushions would ever make this stone more comfy. Perhaps this is the favorite hang out of the Brownie during the day. 

The Brownie chair.

Oh no, I must not make fun of him. Brownies are very sensitive, easily offended, and have no sense of humor whatsoever!

I’m not really sure about what chores the Brownie has on the island with no-one living in the house at the moment... Perhaps island maintenance? Not really satisfying work for a house Brownie. He must be a bit bored, don’t you think? Or perhaps it’s a lazy Brownie. Oeps, I hope he didn’t hear my last thought!

I just realize…..hasn’t the Brownie the same characteristics as Dobby the house-elf in the Harry Potter books? Is that where JK Rowling got her the inspiration from? Must be. Except a house-elf is much more submissive than this Brownie creature and has a totally different look. There is no self-punishment and ill-treatment with this assertive island-dwelling creature. When this Brownie feels offended he will turn into a Boggard and that is when the real shit hits the fan.

         ‘Will the Brownie be satisfied with some milk made out of dried milk powder, you think? I don’t have anything else milk-like. Perhaps if we can add some ginger nuts with that…..’

         ‘But those are the last ones!’

         ‘I know, but what do you want, a totally messed up tent and boats floating with the risk of turning this Brownie into a Boggard….or just this small sacrifice and have a good night’s sleep?’

         ‘You read too much Harry Potter.’

         ‘No, I’m not, I’m just trying to persuade him to come with us and be a Brownie at our home. I could do with a bit of help in the house….Perhaps that will give him more job satisfaction...’

Charlotte Gannet

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