At first Jacobi did not take notice of Walter but when he took a gulp of buttermilk, through the glass he saw Walter standing there. Jacobi had never before encountered a human, a human that could see him that is, and Walter had never seen a brownie. Walter was not frightened and wondered if he should be. Jacobi was not scary to look at but rather charming. They stood there gazing at each other as if time had frozen them, both amazed of each other’s existence. Walter edge a little closer. “Hallo,” he said quietly. “I’m Walter. Are you a brownie?” When Jacobi regained his composer he bolted out of sight. Walter did not mean to scare him away he sighed.
Jacobi ran back to the rat’s hole where he entered and hid. Winded from his experience. He had placed his hand on his heart as if it would thump out of his chest. He has never been that close to a human. The thought the boy could have caught him, made Jacobi feel a shiver run up and down his spine. “That was close,” he said. “If I do say so myself.” Jacobi had good reasons to be afraid of humans. He once had a cousin who was caught by a boy who kept him caged in a birdhouse. He never saw that cousin again. Jacobi did not venture back out again.
The next morning, Jacobi was awoken by voices and sounds in the kitchen. “I really did see a brownie,” Walter said to his mother. “It was about this size,” he gestured with his hands. “It wore a pointed, red cap, and –”
“Walter you probably were imagining things,” said his mother. “People tend to see things when it’s put in their heads. This house is old it was probably a rat. Should I be worried about you, Walter?”
“No, I am fine,” he tried to refute. “I did see him. He drank the buttermilk and Manchester tarts I–”
“Walter, I told you about being wasteful,” she reprimanded him.
“Maybe he just needs to stop hanging around, that boy,” his older sister piped in.
“But –” he tried to tell them.
“Walter, dear,” his mother did not want to hear it anymore. “I am glad you found a friend here. I wonder myself if you should be hanging around him. You are too old to be believing in magical elves. Now be a good boy and stay out of trouble.”
“All right,” Walter said giving up his argument.
“I will be home late today,” his mother said. “Come by the Swan Inn for dinner. Now go to school before you are late.”
“Yes, mother,” he obeyed and soon left.