There was a legend that surrounded the old McFarley house. It is said that the McFarley’s were once very wealthy merchants who wanted for nothing. There was Mr. McFarley, who ran the business from his stately office in the west wing of the house. Mrs. McFarley held many get-togethers with her lady friends in the parlor but spent much of her alone time sewing in the second floor family room.
They had two children, a pair of rowdy brothers who delighted in turning their large estate into kingdoms or raging seas on which they sailed their pirate ships. Surprisingly enough, they only had a butler, a cook, and a landscaper to care for the grounds. Despite the lack of effort they themselves put into keeping the house clean, it was always lovely. Those who are still alive and remember what the estate was like before could attest to its beauty.
The secret? There was a pair of Brownies that lived in the house. At night, when all was quiet and the rambunctious boys were finally sleeping, the two brownies would emerge from their hiding places and do the household chores. Laundry, dusting, ironing, organizing; whatever had been left undone, the Brownies would finish.
In return, the cook would set out small plates of food for the pair. She even taught the children to leave out little treats as a way of saying thanks and apologizing for their messes at the same time. At first, they thought it was a game that the cook was playing. Likening it to the tooth fairy, they tried to stay up night after night to catch the cook taking the treats that they left out only to wake up in the morning, no closer than they were before.
It took many months before they realized it really wasn’t the cook taking the treats. They continued to disappear from their small play table while the cook was on a short vacation to visit her mother. This delighted them more than ever and both of the boys tried to make the portions of whatever sweets they left out to be equal. They didn’t want either Brownie to feel slighted. Cook had warned them that a slighted Brownie would turn dark and bring misfortune to the family.
One night, Mrs. McFarley woke to a strange feeling. Curious and worried for her children, she crept quietly down the hall towards their room where near silent shuffling noises could be heard. Peeking through the crack of the door, she saw two small creatures sitting at her boys’ table and munching quite happily on twin piles of candy.
Fearful of these little creatures, she threw open the door and threw whatever she could get her hands on at the brownies. This woke her children who quickly tried to jump to the rescue of the brownies. They may not have seen the little helpers before but they did not want them hurt. Unfortunately, the damage was already done and the Brownies began to grown and take on a much more fearful appearance.
Now boggarts, the once kind helpers sneered darkly before disappearing into the night. Over the next several weeks, the manor began to fall into ruin. Mr. McFarley’s business began to fall apart as key pieces of paperwork went missing from his office.
None of Mrs. McFarley’s friends would come over for afternoon tea or games after one woman broke her foot after being pushed down the stairs and another had a pot of scalding tea dumped down her back. It began to spread around the town that the McFarley’s were cursed, that they had angered a great witch who was taking away their good fortune.
The two boys of the household seemed to grow more and more withdrawn as things continued to grow worse around their house. Then one day, they just disappeared without a trace. It was said that the cook kidnapped them as she had also gone missing when the boys did. There were no leads for the police to chase or scents to send the dogs after.
In her grief, Mrs. McFarley flung herself from the window of her sons’ bedroom. Mr. McFarley packed up what he could stand to take and moved as far away from that wretched house as he could. Rumor has it that he remarried and was now a proud grandfather.
As for the fate of the brothers and their kindly cook, there is much speculation. Some say that they can still hear the rise and fall of their laughter and the delicious smell of Cook’s famous pastries wafting down from the house as they walk past the abandoned place.
Others claim that the brownies, even after their transformation, held a soft spot for the people that were kind to them. In return, they were spared from the bad fortune and taken into the land of Faeries to live out their life in luxury.
What do you think happened?
“So? What do you think?”
“I think that Matilda will love you for not mentioning that she was also our nanny.” A green eyed youth laughed, handing the stack of papers back over to his brother as he rolled over in the lush grass. Faeries knew how to care for nature and even their grass felt like floating on a cloud.
“Do you think Father will recognize my name?” The shorter youth asked, flipping the pages of his notebook shut. His brother looked over at him and shrugged, trying to keep it as simple as he could.
“That all depends on how much he wants to believe.” And if he was even still alive. Time within Faerie passed far differently than the mortal world. Even so, neither of the McFarley brothers wished to permanently return to their birth world.
And all caught up!!!
Tomorrow’s creature: Tomte