Folklore Friday: Faerie Folk III
Art by Brian Froud
If you're seeking some sort of intro, please refer back to the first post in this series on faeries!
This time I'm covering Brownies, Shellycoats, and Urisks--all somewhat gentler fey! In fact, should you happen upon a Brownie or Urisk, it'd be your lucky day!
Art by Tony DiTerlizzi
The first time I heard about brownies was in the 1988 film "Willow"--where the faeries end up being more trouble than they're worth. However, in real lore, brownies are excellent house guests!
Brownies benevolent faeries that appear as small dwarves or hobs/hobgoblins with coal black eyes. They have pointed faerie ears and long nimble fingers to do all kinds of housework. A brownie will carefully choose a deserving home where help is needed. They seek humble, kind people and will often avoid homes with cats. They work at night in exchange for small gifts of food such as honey, butter, cream/milk, cake, and porridge. Sometimes, they'll even enjoy some ale.
They hate liars and cheaters and will leave a home if they feel misused. If you do have a brownie in your home, they're most likely living in an unused room or attic.
Art by Alan Lee
While shellycoats aren't necessarily good faeries, they're harmless overall. They are small faeries with a fishlike, bulbous appearance and large mouths and eyes. You'll see the eyes first as they bob near the surface, surveying the landscape around them. They dwell in pools of shallow fresh water or lakes and often play pranks such as misleading wandering people or crying out, mimicking a drowning person. After you follow the sound for a while, they will laugh and lose interest.
Art by Alan Lee
Urisks are sad creatures. These faeries are said to be so ugly that they've frightened people to death. However, they wish humans no harm and only seek companionship. They appear emaciated, wrinkled, and hairy in patches--and are also said to have goat-like features.
An urisk will help you in any way possible, just for a brief moment of company. They're known to be psychic, intelligent faeries so their help is a great gift to any witch. To find them, you can seek them out in isolated woods, where they will be waiting eagerly to aid you.