Answers to some common questions about Gnomes
The following information is based on extensive research as well as observed experiences. For more information on the history, behavior, and tendencies of gnomes, we highly suggest that you obtain a copy of Wil Huygen’s book “Gnomes”, published under the title “leven en werken van de Kabouter” in 1976.
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Q: Where do Gnomes live?
A: Gnomes are as ancient as man. They are a very hearty species, and very intelligent. Gnomes can thrive anywhere. Gnome communities have been known to exist on every continent and in many different climates. Gnomes are vegetarians. Their bodies cannot process meat of any kind. Skilled at adaption and survival, they adjust to almost any living condition as long as there is ample food sources available. While they are mostly foragers and gatherers, and prefer to live where there are forests and gardens, they will grow their own crops if necessary
Q: Why do Gnomes wear pointed caps?
A: Gnome caps are quite special. A gnome receives its first cap at birth. They are made of felt (collected from animal hair, often sheep’s wool) and dyed with natural plant matter. Commons dyes are made from walnut hulls, sunflowers and pokeweed. It is believed that the cap enables a gnome to become invisible, but this is not true.
A Gnome’s cap is primarily a form of camouflage. If a gnome is out in the open and spots a human or other unwelcome threat, they will stand completely motionless and blend into the forest canopy among the wild forest mushrooms. The cap also protects the gnome from blows from above, such as a careless animals’ paws or falling twigs. If necessary, a cap will also be surrendered to beings of prey, much like a lizard will surrender its tail to escape danger.
Gnome caps are also handy for storage of important items. Gnomes are seldom seen without their cap outside of their homes.
Q: Are Gnomes Magic?
A: Not really. But they do seem “magic” to humans. Gnomes have the ability to move so quickly and silently that it is difficult for most humans to spot one. They use their ancient knowledge of the natural world and their very high intellect to do many amazing things. They have extensive underground tunnels (which they sometimes share with small burrowing animals such as chipmunks, mice and rabbits) and can use them to travel from one edge of the Nearby Forest to another. They are incredible engineers, craftsmen, and builders and also communicate easily with every single animal. They do not have many natural enemies (See the special note about house cats, below) and often work with forest animals, insects, and even fish to survive the elements and dangerous situations they may encounter. Humans and the wreckage create by humans is considered the most adverse to a gnome’s safety. This is why gnomes avoid most humans whenever possible.
Q: Do Gnomes ever show themselves to humans?
A: Yes, but only after observing humans for quite a long time. It is only after gnomes have decided that a particular human or group of humans pose little threat that a gnome will get close to a human. Once a gnome (or a community of gnomes) have decided that a human is indeed “safe” they will coexist in close proximity to them, and sometimes even assist them. Gnomes are very wise. Their main objective is to protect the earth, to live long, happy lives, and to love their families. They know that their survival depends upon the delicate balance of all living things. This is why they are such stewards of the Enchanted Garden and Nearby Forest. While they would never give up their underground homes, they will at times adopt a family, even spending some time in that family’s home, barns, and fields. This is especially true if, after many months observing a family, they have ample evidence that that family is kind, virtuous, cares for both animals and plant life, and is basically well-intentioned. Gnomes have been known to go as far as helping or being “protective” over very special humans and even whole families. This being said, they rarely speak to humans, as they view humans as having a lessor intellect, and generally selfish. Gnomes consider themselves much more evolved than humankind and often don’t waste their precious time associating with them.
This being said, gnomes rarely move once spotted by a human. They will “freeze” so that the human thinks they are a doll or statute. They will move again once the human leaves the room or is no longer looking at them. This is even true of gnomes that spend time in a human home.
Q: Do Gnomes “talk” to animals and plants?
A: Yes. Gnomes speak many ancient languages, including bird calls, insect language (mostly inaudible to human ears), and all plant languages (completely imperceptible to humans). It is because they communicate with all life forms so easily that they are able to be stewards of the earth and why gardens and forests thrive wherever gnomes travel.
Q: Is it true that Gnomes do not get along with cats?
A: Yes. This is especially true with house-cats and some house-dogs. Domesticated animals are generally considered lazy and aggressive. They are territorial over their homes and their human families, and often seen gnomes as a threat to their position within the family. Gnomes brought into the home should always be kept out of the reach of cats, dogs and other “fur-babies” as they generally fight to the death. The gnomes’ felted wool attire also has a scent that house dogs and cats find irresistible. All house cats, no matter how sweet and gentle, would like nothing better than to get their teeth on a felt-covered gnome. Being shredded by a cat is the leading cause of death to gnomes that interact with humans.
Q: Why aren't there any female Gnomes?
A: There are! Female Gnomes are as common in number as male Gnomes. However, they rarely come above ground during the daylight. Women spend most daylight hours in their homes, workshops, classrooms, and extensive underground tunnel systems. Females are highly respected among the Gnome community. They are considered reasonable, fair, and even tempered. As they have the ability to give birth, they are considered especially closely connected to Mother Earth, and are therefore carefully listened to and their opinions and judgment are received with appreciation and careful consideration. Male gnomes take physical risks and complete the majority of the physical labor in the above-ground world. Female Gnomes spend the daytime writing important documents, making important decisions, maintaining extensive databases of ancient knowledge, preparing medicinal recipes and teas, working on art of many kinds, and teaching classes, as well as raising and caring for Gnome children (They often share this responsibility.) Older Gnome children do the majority of the cleaning and simple food preparation together under their mother's guidance, and are generally very well-behaved.
Female Gnomes are most active above-ground after the sun has set and there is less risk of human interaction. Nighttime is enjoyed by the entire family in the fresh air if the weather is agreeable. This is when ancient stories, songs and lessons are recited. This is also when male Gnomes seek their wives and sisters' counsel on any number of matters.