The Killmoulis - He is an ugly Brownie
who haunts mills. He has an enormous nose and a missing mouth. He eats
by stuffing the food into his nostrils. He works for the miller but he
plays pranks so often he is often more of a nuisance than a help.
The Brownie and the Fincastle Mill,
story retold by Theodore R. Hazen.
Brownie Clod who it is said that is name is Dobie haunted the Fincastle
Mill for the miller. In the world of other fairy folk it would e said,
that he is none-too-bright variety of brownie. The Fincastle Mill is in
Perthshire, Scotland. The story goes that the mill is haunted so
no one ever sets foot near the mill at night. This is how the miller
protected this secrets, and the brownie protected the mill for the
miller so no one would harm the mill, and its machinery.
One evening, a girl was baking her wedding cake, and she ran out of
flour. So she had to go to the mill to set some more. When she had gone
to the mill, the miller had gone home for the day. So she went into the
mill, and it was all dark. She built a fire in the fireplace for light,
and swung the iron pot back over the fire where it began to slowly
boil. The burning flames of the fire dancing underneath the huge black
cauldron cast eerie shadows around the mill. Then the young girl
grabbed the leaver and pulled downward on it which made the great water
wheel slowly turn, and the gears in the began to turn the millstone
which slowly started to grind meal (to flour) for the girl's wedding
All of this movement and noise in the mill awoke the mill's brownie who
liked in the mill, and he protected it from harm for the miller. So
about midnight the ugly little brownie appeared and wondered who this
mysterious person was working in the mill. So he slowly walked
over to her leering at her, and asked her name, "Who are you?". The
young girl is a quick thinker and she replied, "Oh, I'm Mise mi fein,"
which means, "Me, myself!" "What?" thought the brownie, and thinking to
himself, perhaps she did not understand my question. So he edged
a bit closer to her, and asked her again, "Who are you?". Again,
she replied, "Me, myself!" "Gee," thought the brownie thinking she must
have heard me, but perhaps I have flour dust in my ears so I may not
have heard her correctly. So he edged even closer to her, and she began
to grow even more alarmed. Then he asked her as plainly as he could in
his squeaky brownie voice, "Who.....are......you.....?" The young girls
quickly answered the ugly brownie, "Me, myself!' and splashed him with
the boiling water.
The ugly brownie ran screaming out of the mill fatally injured. He
slowly limped home to his mothers home. Then when his mother Maggy
Moulach who is a Highland Brownie, asked him who had dared to do this
to you my son? Mortally scalded by the boiling water, he gasped
out "Me fein," which is to say, "Me, Myself! he answered as he had been
told as he lay dying in his mother's bed.
Years passed by and the girl would amuse her friends by telling the
story of how she foiled the brownie on the eve of her wedding day. Then
one day Maggy Moulach was walking by the open window, and over heard
the girl boasting about the whole tragic incident and trickery that
took the life of her young son Dodie. She got so mad for vengeance, she
looked about and grabbed the first thing she saw. A three-legged
stool that she picked up and thew through the window with such force at
the young girl's head, killing her dead on the spot.
The moral of the story is: What goes around comes around. And no matter
how ugly the brownie was he is still loved by his mother, and you
cannot get between a mother's love for her child.
"Faeries," by Brian Froud, Alan Lee, illustrated by Brian Froud, Alan Lee, published 1978.
"Folktales of England," by edited Katherine Biggs and Ruth tongue, University of Chicago Press 1965,
Note: This story was one of my favorite stories to tell (complete with
the brownie voice) to children who toured Peirce Mill when I worked
there from September 1984 to June of 1995.
Copyright 2008 by T. R. Hazen.