I’ve always had a fascination with mountains, but have sadly never lived near any. My hometown and Houston is pretty flat, with maybe some hills but even those are kind of a joke, lol. The closest I get is our Hill Country as we call it. This is the area around our state capital (Austin, TX). We do have some “mountains” over in west Texas (the end of the Rockies) and the tallest peaks are in Big Bend National Park down south near Mexico (Guadalupe Peak is 8,751’, Bush Mountain is 8,631’, and Shumard Peak is 8,615’). By contrast the hill country “mountains” are only 2,300’ - 2,400’, with most only rising 400-500 feet over the surrounding area. So I had to think for this challenge.
But then I remembered about my gnomes!
Gnomes go by many names depending on where you live: Germans call them Erdmanleins, they go by Nisse in Denmark and Norway, in Sweden they are Nissen, Britain calls them Nains, and the Finns call them Tontti. The Polish calls them the familiar Gnom while Bulgaria and Albania use Dudje. They are known as Skritek to the Belgian and Kabouter to the Dutch, while both Switzerland and Luxembourg use Klwinmanneken (which apparently means “little men”). In western Russia, they use Domovoi Djedoes.
The knocker (Cornwall) and the goric (Brittany) are comparable to the Gnome is Celtic folklore. In Scottish mythology, the pech would be what we would be looking for while in Norse mythology we would be looking for Tomte (Scandinavian) as well as the Nisse still used by Norway and Denmark.
Almost every Native American tribe has legends regarding “little people” which can be comparable to faeries, dwarves, or gnomes. The Pukwudgie of the Chippewa/ Wampanoag/ Algonkin/ Abenaki/ Mohican tribes are little people of the forests that are similar to European gnomes or faeries. In Hinduism there are Yakshis and Yakshas (also recognized in Buddhism) who guard treasures similar to gnomes. While there are beings of supernatural nature in asian cultures, whether they can be likened to gnomes/faeries/dwares is still under discussion.
Now that we know that just about every culture has some sort of gnome-like creature, who are they? They are generally represented as cautious, sensible, and kind little creatures (usually no more than knee high at the tallest). They are quick to help those in need, reward kindness, but will punish arrogance and pride. They may often offer their services in exchange for something precious that they desire and will scrupulously adhere to the arrangements agreed by both parties, so make sure you fully understand the deal you are making. The are also usually seen as guardians of enchanted places or treasure and prefer to communicate by signs rather than spoken words.
Gnomes are thought to be seven times stronger than humans and can run at speeds of 35 miles per hour! They also have incredible sight, some stories stating they have better sight than a hawk. Males are guardians of animal kind and show little preference for their animal friends, other than their aversion to cats. They are known for freeing wildlife from humans’ traps or operating on farm animals whose owners have neglected them. They are generally vegetarians, with main meals consisting of nuts, mushrooms, peas, beans, small potatoes, applesauce, fruit, berries, tubers, spices, vegetables, and preserves for desert (they really love their preserves!!). And they love mead dew (fermented honey), fermented raspberries, and spiced gin.
As you can see, I am slightly obsessed with gnomes! I have an area of my yard dedicated to them.
I make offerings to them often. They like red wine, baked goods, blueberries, or healing herbs. To perform the offering, I sit at my gnome area (it has a small “dish” I use) and will say the following:
Gnomes of the earth, Lord Ghob,
Accept this offering of food and drink!
May the magic that I do be aided by your powers,
The powers of life that were, that are, and that shall be,
So Mote it be!
Placing the food in the offering dish, I then pour the wine over and say:
From east to west, from south to north,
Ancient ones, I call thee forth!
I then quickly get up, gather my things, and leave (they are a private group). Almost always the next day, I will find a “gift” of some sorts within my gnome garden. It has varied from mushrooms popping up overnight to coins from animal bones that could not have been placed there naturally to strange arrangements of stones around some of their statues. It always makes me smile and I tell them that I am happy they enjoyed my offering.
I am always on the lookout for things that I think they may like in their area and am always adding to it. I actually have a few houses I recently bought that I need to cleanse and place.
I hope you enjoyed learning about gnomes as much as I do! With that, I will leave you will some gnome humor.
Why do gnomes laugh when they play football? The grass tickles their armpits!
What is the Gnome Allegiance pledge? Gnome matter what, I’ll protect your garden!
What do you call a Gnome in Spanish? Gnombres
Gnome, Alaska gets very cold in winter. You may need an extra hat.
The Garden Gnome General showed his enemies Gnome mercy!