Shortly after, a dust storm came in and wiped out the remaining hope of a good season. Unable to face the hunger the family packed up and abandoned the farmhouse. Jacobi had lived in that house for many generations and to see the remaining family leave broke his heart. All they left him was biscuits and a note that said they had run out of buttermilk and to take care of the house which he did. The farmhouse stayed vacant for years and he stayed on for even more years hoping they would return. When nobody did, he headed for the woods where he made his home.
That night he was awoken by the smell of buttermilk and Manchester tarts. He poked his head out the hole and carefully looked around. No one was in sight. He quietly crept out into the kitchen, amble with caution, hoped up with ease and discovered the delicious tarts and buttermilk. Jacobi ate to his heart’s content. When he was done he turned around to leave when Walter appeared at the threshold.
“You really do exist!” Walter said in a loud hush. “I know you!”
Jacobi was out of sight again and back into the rat hole.
“I–I didn’t mean to scare you,” Walter stammered. “I never meant to. I just never seen a brownie before. Alden talks about brownies all the time and my father use to tell me stories. I really am sorry to scare you.”
Jacobi could hear Walter’s voice. It seems to him that he really meant what he said.
“I was told you did not exist and that you were just a figment of my imagination, but I just had to believe,” Walter continued. “You are real aren’t you?”
Jacobi disliked preposterous questions. “Of course I exist,” he called out from the hole. “Don’t be absurd. I am as real as you are, child.” He walked out of the hole with resilience. “To question our existence is atrocious. We brownies rather keep out of sight of humans, it’s in our nature.”
“I knew you were real,” Walter said. “I heard many stories about brownies but I never met one before.”
“Of course,” Jacobi said. “Nobody can really see us unless we make ourselves visible to humans and the ones that do—“Jacobi became silent. “Well of course,” he giggled. “That would only make sense.”
“What makes sense?” Walter wanted to know.