I'm excited about the launch of our new Celtic Hearts blog. A big thank you to everyone who made this site possible. Great job!
For those of you who know me—you've probably had first hand experience with my vivid imagination. When I sat to write my first romance story, I decided to write a Scottish time travel because the genre was one of my favorites as a reader. After doing a lot of research, I also decided to include fantasy elements—fae creatures.
One of these creatures is the brùnaidh.
Contradictory information regarding the diminutive creatures known to the Lowland Scots as brownie and to those who speak the Scottish Gaelic as brùnaidh abounds. I've seen where the brùnaidh is mistakenly lumped together with the ùruisg and the gruagach but each is a separate species of otherworldly creature, the brùnaidh being of the household, whereas the others are creatures of nature.
Some say brownies evolved from the lore of the elf, and in my mind, they have similar physical characteristics. The included drawing is of an ancient elf, but his image is similar to the one I imagine for a brownie.
My first exposure to brownies was as a young Girl Scout. Scouting Brownies take their name from the folklore brownies, as the wee men are a model for the young girls due to the brownie's penchant to assist in household chores, asking for only a bowl of cream or a honey cake for payment.
I became reacquainted with the brùnaidh while doing research for that very first romance story I mentioned earlier. Thus was born my Garden Gate series, which revolves around the MacLachlan clan, who resided at Old Castle Lachlan on the
In the classic work, Faeries, from Brian Froud and Alan Lee—I have the twenty-fifth anniversary edition—brownies are introduced as a species of faerie. The brownie is described as a shaggy male of short stature, no more than twenty-five inches tall, wearing either tattered garments or nothing at all. It is also suggested that brownies living in the
Other references tell a different tale. "In appearance, they (brownies) have been variously described, from squat, shaggy, naked creatures to tall, handsome and well proportioned. They usually kept to themselves, being mostly solitaries, unlike the fairies who were notably gregarious." –Scottish Fairy Belief by Lizanne Henderson and Edward J. Cowan
Although few brownie names are known, there are some who've achieved notoriety: Billie Blin, Aiken Drum, Wag-at-the-wa', and Puddlefoot. With Meg Mullach, also known as Hairy Meg, being one of the few females.
Superstitions of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, by John Gregorson Campbell, is available on the internet for download and provides additional references to the wee men.
Writers: Have you included Celtic mythological creatures in your romance stories?
Readers: Have you read a story including such creatures? What did you like or dislike?