Brownie in the House

Brownie in the House

Dedicated to Ella Sophia Cera,

who, if she'd had the chance, would have done this just like her mother.



“Ugh, Ella, I’m trying to sleep! I hear you tossing and turning.  Why aren’t you asleep yet?” Glenda turns on the lamp.

“I’m thinking about the new calf Brownie,” says Ella.  “Now that she’s away from her mom and dad, I’m worried she’s lonely in the barn.”  

“Cows sleep outside or in the barn by themselves ALL THE TIME.   I’m sure she’s FINE,” says Glenda. 

“I think we can sneak her in through the mud room,” says Ella as she gets out of bed. 

“Are you serious?” asks Glenda.  

“Yah, I want Brownie to sleep with us.  The dog sleeps in the house, why can’t a cow?” asks Ella as she slips out of bed and grabs a flash light.   



“I’ll be back!” she says to Glenda as she dashes out of the bedroom.

Glenda groans to herself, “Ugh! I know I'm going to regret this but I can’t let my little sister go outside at night on her own.” 


Glenda puts on her boots, a big sweater, and grabs another flashlight. 


(Ill:  two flashlights in the dark with the barn silhouetted again the moonlit sky.) 


(Ill: They enter the barn and find Brownie laying in the barn on some hay.)


“Hi Brownie!  Are you lonely?” asks Ella as she nuzzles Brownie.  “It’s OK, I’m going to take good care of you.”   

“It is cold in here,” says Glenda. 

“See Glenda, Brownie needs to sleep with us,” states Ella as she begins to lead Brownie out of the barn. 

“I’ll grab some hay for her to snack on,” says Glenda

“Come on.  Come on, we’ll take care of you,” says Ella. 


(Ella leading Brownie by the collar back to the house.)


“I’ll sing you a song.  That will make you happy,” says Ella.

“Shhh, no singing. Mom is going to hear us!” says Glenda.  


Glenda quietly opens the mud room door to check if Mom is still watching TV in the living room.  Then she waves Ella forward.  Ella cajoles Brownie to climb the steps into the mud room.  Once inside, Brownie is so big she steps on work boots and bumps into everything.  A box falls off the shelves but Glenda catches it.


“Oh, my goodness, that was close.  Mom would definitely have heard that box crash,” says Glenda. “Watch where Brownie is walking Ella!” 

“I’m doing the best I can.  She’s big for a baby!” answers Ella.  

“She’s A COW, Ella, of course, she’s BIG!” says Glenda.

“This mudroom is a mess.  I can’t keep her from banging into things,” answers Ella.  


“Mom DID tell us to clean it,” says Glenda to herself as she shakes her head.  

“Well, I guess she was right,” concedes Ella.


Brownie and Ella continue through the mudroom and down the hallway with Glenda as the look out.  Luckily Dad hadn’t gotten Brownie a bell for her collar yet, so they made it all the way without being discovered. 


In their bedroom, Ella grabbed the blankets off her bed and put them on the floor.


“Here Brownie, this is much nicer than that cold barn,” says Ella.  

As if she understood, Brownie laid down on the blankets and leaned up against Glenda’s bed. 


“I’ll get her some water!” says Ella as she dashes out of the room.  When she comes back Glenda is sitting on the floor with Brownie. 

“She’s bleeding,” says Glenda. 

“What?  Oh, my goodness! Brownie! Glenda you have to make her all better,” cries Ella.

“OK, stay here and don’t make a sound.  I’m going to get the first aid kit,” answers Glenda. 


(Ill: Glenda in the kitchen opening a drawer.)


“Hey Glenda, why are you out of bed?” asks Mom. 

“Oh, I just need a Band-Aid,” answers Glenda. 

“Are you OK, Do you need help?” asks Mom.     

“No, I’m fine, thanks,” she says as she darts back to down the hall with the first aid kit. 


Back in the bedroom, she tends to Brownie’s small cut just above her hoof. 

“Does she need to go to the Animal Hospital?” asks Ella.

“No, she’ll be fine,” answers Glenda.

“Should we call the vet?” asks Ella

“NO!  It’s just a little cut she probably got crashing into all the stuff in the mudroom,” says Glenda.  

“It’s OK, Brownie. Glenda has her first aid badge from Girl Scouts!  You’re in good hands.  Right Glenda?” asks Ella. 

“Yes, now BE QUIET and let me do this,” pleads Glenda. 

As Glenda works, Ella pets Brownie’s head and starts singing. 

“Old McDonald had a farm, EIEIO and on that farm he had a cow!” sings Ella.

“Ella!  Please stop singing or Mom is going to hear you and come in!” says Glenda.

“But she likes the song! It was almost her part!” says Ella.  


Then, as if on cue, Brownie let out a loud MOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Glenda and Ella froze and stared at each other.

“Maybe Mom didn’t hear that,” whispered Ella

Then footsteps. 

Then the door opens. 

And then there is Mom with her arms crossed. 

“TAKE HER OUT!” she says firmly. 

“Last month, when you brought that pony inside, I told you both no animals in the house!” Mom says. 

“But we have a dog in the house,” says Ella.

Glaring at them both, mom says  “No FARM animals in the house.” 

“She doesn’t like being a farm animal.  She wants to be like a dog!” says Ella.

“Oh, yah?” Mom starts laughing.  “Have you asked Brownie if she wants to eat dog food?” 

“Well…” Ella pauses trying to think of an answer but can’t.

“Please Mom, please let her sleep in our room!  She wants to cuddle and be petted and loved,” begs Ella. 

“And she has a cut,” Glenda said as she shows the now bandaged area. 

“Oh, yah? Let’s take a look,” says Mom.  

Bending down Mom checks out the leg. 

“You did a good job of caring for her Glenda,” says Mom.  

“So, can she stay for the night?” asks Ella.

“Nice try girls, but the answer is still no. Farm animals have the barn.  Now either I can take her back out or you can take her back out.  Which is it going to be?” asks Mom.  

The two sisters looked at each other.

“We’ll take her out,” they reply in unison. 

“But, you can put this blanket in the barn for her and she can cuddle with that,” says Mom.  

Glenda leads Brownie back out to the barn with Ella in tow carrying the blanket and petting Brownie. 

“How about one bedtime song?” suggests Ella.

And so they sang one round of Old McDonald before turning to head back into the house. 

“Night Brownie,” says Glenda.

“Sleep tight,” says Ella

“MOOOOOOO,” says Brownie. 

Back of the Book Questions:

Do you have any pets?
If you do, do they live inside or outside?
Have you ever seen a cow at a farm or at a country fair? 
Do you know that milk, cheese and ice cream all come from cows?