Leprechauns vs. brownies

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue May 4 14:25:16 UTC 2004

James A. Landau wrote:

Putting any liquid in a saucer is likely to have someone
ask, "Are you leaving it out for the LIttle People [leprechauns]?"
which suggests there is a long-shot possiblity of an Irish connection.

FWIW, I recall a fairy tale from my childhood (late '30's-early '40's)
about so-called "brownies." These were  (bearded male, in
illustrations) elfin creatures (therefore, also "little people" in the
"leprechaun" sense) that, in return for, as it happens, a *saucer* of
milk and a slice of bread, would come into your house at night and
clean it from top to bottom. If, in an excess of appreciation, you were
foolish enough to leave the brownies more than their standard wage,
they would leave and never return, leaving you to do you own
housecleaning from then on. This is surely one of the most nonsensical
fairy tales ever imagined.
Given that the symbol of Girl-Scout Brownies is a leaping/dancing elfin
creature, there may be some kind of weird connection between brownies
and Brownies, e.g. much service with little expectation of reward,
though this sounds more like a wife..

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