Adventures of a Brownie
as Told to My Child
By Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (aka Miss Mulock)
Published by Librivox.org
Read by Ancilla, Ted Nugent, swimmi and Christine Blachford.
Welcome to the world of Nineteenth Century children’s stories. I don’t know what possessed me to download this one, but thought it might be fun. I think I may be a bit too old to really enjoy this one as much as it deserves, however, but maybe I was expecting something a bit more humorous.
In spite of my own ambivalence, I suspect this is one little boys and girls would love to have read to them. It’s a charming tale of a Brownie, known simply as “Brownie” or “Mister Nobody<” who delights in tormenting the local adults, but also loves to play with the children. Brownie lives in a coal bin and the kitchen staff leaves a bowl of milk out for him each evening (there is heck to pay the night that does not happen), but adults never actually see him so in at least one of the stories the kids take the blame for his pranks.
Because this is a story for children there is no slang and everyone speaks absolutely correctly. I suppose this is to not encourage sloppy verbal habits in impressionable minds although a few Victorian era slang such as “Afternoonified” might have been worked in (I would have had to look it up, but then I did anyway) and nothing was every described as “Bang up to the elephant,” which is not as bad as it sounds to modern ears. Then again, the elephant one probably did not exist until a few years after these stories were written. Still some contemporary idioms, especially from the kids would “Take the egg.”
The stories come off as a bit preachy, which was, sadly, normal at the time, but not as bad as some of the stories of the period could be. These were not written to teach a lesson (“Children, please do not imitate the actions in this story!) but just to be fun,
So, what the heck, try reading them to your young children and see what they think.
A mixed bag as is often the case when there are multiple readers. Some were quite good, however and put the perfect amount of joy and wonder into their voices to match the exuberance of Brownie. One read much too slowly to my way of thinking. It felt like I had to go in and extract the words from that reader’s throat, but all told this was a pleasant experience.
So, it’s a children’s story, written for the amusement of young kids and for the most part is read for them as well.