LYING between Blairingone and Dollar, the farm of Boghall was a place of mystery a few hundred years ago.

There was a curious inhabitant at the farm who was known as Brownie.

Brownies, or Broonies. are not unknown in Scottish folklore. Generally, they were male, although there are a few known cases of female ones, and they performed various menial tasks around a house or farm.

All they asked for in return, and accepted, was food to be left for them.

By giving them gifts in return for their work would result in them downing tools and leaving immediately.

Some people believed they were sent by God to do the drudgery of chores while others thought they had been cast out by local priests.

There is also a story of a Brownie taking off when he saw someone reading a bible.

The Boghall Brownie was described as covered in brown hair all over his body. It is said he was a very strong man who slept all day and worked all night while those in the farmhouse were sleeping.

He was harmless and had a forgiving rather than vengeful nature. His ate sowans, a kind of porridge, and sweetmilk, that being fresh milk straight from the cow, while his bed consisted of straw made up in a warm corner of the barn.

Boghall consisted of a substantial dwelling house with outhouses attached, and he provided essential services.

One very severe winter, the snow lay deep on the ground, and the frost was so hard it froze every burn and well.

The farmer’s wife, afraid that her friend Brownie would die, and quite ignorant that she was doing wrong, laid down some warm blankets on his bed of straw.

On seeing this he immediately left the farm and was heard saying:

To leave my old haunts, oh my heart it is sair,

But the wife gae me blankets – she’ll see me nae mair;

I’ve worked in her barn, frae evening till day.

My curse on the blankets that drove me away.

All the boon that I asked were my sowans and strae,

But success to Bogha’ although Brownie’s away.

Whether it was owing to Brownie’s departure or not, Boghall was never the same again, and by the mid-19th century it was not doing particularly well.

What happened to Brownie is unknown but because he was used to farm work. and was a good worker who sought little reward for all he did, he would have found employment elsewhere quite easily.