Excerpts for Notebook for Fantastical Observations


"To protect the house and those inside

is my duty, Guide or no Guide."

From Book 5: The Wrath of Mulgarath

Brownies

I admit I'm a slob. I throw my socks and underwear on the floor. I kick the covers off my bed and sleep on the bare mattress. My hair sticks up from my head like a bunch of crabgrass. I never clean up any of my toys. If something gets broken because I stepped on it, then I just try to avoid that area. Sometimes I forget, but usually there are enough clothes on top that the broken toy parts don't hurt my feet that bad. But no matter how messy I am, there is always someone messier than me.

My parents don't understand how I got to be this way. My room used to be neat, my hair combed and my clothes folded. That was when Skifflewhim was my friend. He's really little, with big hairy ears and pants made from an old leather glove. He would hop around, making my clothes dance themselves into the drawers. My hair would part and braid itself out before I even woke up, so I wouldn't notice if he worked on the tangles. My dolls would march right onto the shelves.

And all I had to do was leave out some scraps from dinner.

Skifflewhim liked everything I didn't. He would eat my brussels sprouts, my beets, and the liver my mom would fry with onions. I guess it was because he ate all that stuff that I started to wonder what he wouldn't eat. I left out a raw onion and he ate it. I left out a bunch of worms I dug up out of the yard and he ate those too. Finally, I thought of the most disgusting thing I could: kitty litter.

When I came back from school, my bed was unmade and the litter was thrown all over my room. Some of it was even in my sheets. Since then, I haven't seen Skifflewhim once, even when I left out a drumstick with only one bite taken out of it. But although I don't see him, I know he's there. Books sometimes just fall off the shelves. Lightbulbs burn out extra fast. My clothes are ripped and my homework goes missing.

So, you see, I have the be as messy as possible. That way hhe can't make it any worse. Until I figure out a better idea, that's what I'm going to do.

-- Kelly L.

Analysis: Brownies are known to be helpful, but if angered they can turn into troublesome boggarts. This appears to be a case of such a transformation.

-- H. B. & T. D.

I imagine this creature helping me with chores around my house:

Helps with:

How often:

In return, I give it:

Is it dependable?

Here's what else I know about it:

Things I can't see, but I know are there...

Things I see, but I know aren't there...

Food I would leave for a house brownie...

Food I would not leave for a brownie...

A drawing of my room when it's a mess:

A drawing of my room after being cleaned by a brownie:

A floor plan of my house showing locations of possible brownie activity:

Copyright © 2005 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

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