Novel Conversations

What do you know about Gnomes?

Gnome: definition (OED) A legendary dwarfish creature supposed to guard the earth’s treasures underground; a small garden ornament in the form of a bearded man with a pointed hat.

I was considering our very own Gnomesville and wondered where a history of the gnome originated.  Reading the definition from the Oxford English Dictionary it seems quite applicable to our own Gnomesville with its large colony of gnomes guarding our precious Dardanup landscape.

Gnomes have one of the longest lasting folklore traditions with early statues said to guard against evil spirits, bring fortune and paving the way for a more prosperous future.  The gnome appears in ancient Germanic and Scandinavian folklore but it wasn’t until the 17th century that the practice became widespread with people placing gnomes in their gardens.

A recent BBC article by Laura Studarus (2018) quoted a 2007 study by the University of Iceland suggesting an estimated 62 per cent of the nation believe that the existence of elves is more than a fairytale.  Similarly, the Irish had a strong belief in fairy-folk and magical creatures such as leprechauns, selkies and mer-people, some of the superstitions remaining today.  It seems that many people believe a little in the magic of gnomes (and other magical beings) which suggests an extension of early cultural beliefs carried through generations from far-away lands.

With all this in mind, what an amazing phenomenon that there are over 5,000 gnomes residing at Gnomesville, travelling from all parts of the globe, to set up residence guarding a patch of Dardanup.

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