A gnome comes home

Roaming gnome returns home

I was pleased to see that a garden gnome taken from its home 17 months ago has been returned home -- with a fat package of photos showing places it visted around the world. Just as in the movie Amélie and the Travelocity ads.

I'm not sure why I like gnomes so much. I'm generally very picky about garden ornaments. Maybe it's the years I lived in Germany (before gnomes became mass-produced in China). Whatever the reason, they make me smile.

The history of these characters, which are considered Teutonic versions of leprachauns, is a bit murky. They are considered close to the environment, which is, I guess, why they end up in the garden. They either appeared in the early 1800s, mid-19th century, or in the 1870s. We tend to see mostly the cheap ones, but there are many styles.

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There are "gnome liberation" sites in several languages. But the most popular prank is stealing a gnome, leaving a note saying it has gone traveling, and then returning it with a record of its journey or sending postcards or notes and photos all along the way.

This latest incident occurred in England, where a 22-year-old recent college grad liberated a gnome and took it with him on a seven-month journey through  12 countries.

It's fun reading about it. I suspect that if gnomes were alive, they would enjoy seeing a little of world before returning home to be in charge of a smaller environment.

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