The Garden Gnome

January 1, 2010
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Long ago, gnomes lived on earth and could run as much as they wanted. Now these gnomes are frozen, unable to move an inch. This misfortune stemmed from a certain house in ancient Norway, where a gnome lived with his six siblings. The name of the gnome was Acacius.One day, Acacius went to work with his siblings. All were chattering happily, except for him. Acacius had been unhappy for years. Actually, he had been more insecure than unhappy. For the last several months, he had been trying to invent a potion to get rid of what he hated most about himself-his rather short height.

Acacius had tried a number of mixtures. One was full of cocoa beans, nutmeg, and rocks. Another mixture had been full of worms, and the fur of a giraffe. But it had been the third concoction that worked. It had contained almonds, and the remains of a poisonous apple. The gnomes were not killed by the type of poison used in the apple. In fact, it had a different effect on them. As soon as Acacius had tried a nibble, he had grown taller. As he had eaten a modest portion, he had only grown about a centimeter. Unfortunately, one of his brothers, Agathon, had noticed this alteration

Acacius and Agathon were enemies. While Agathon was displeased with his brother’s bad attitude, Acacius had his problems with Agathon too. Agathon constantly had a cold, and blew his nose often. This annoyed Acacius deeply, so the brothers had never had a good relationship. Recently, Acacius had thrown out a prized possession of Agathon’s in a fit of rage. Since then, Agathon had been seeking revenge. When he had noticed his brother’s height (which was identical to the height of every other gnome) increase, he knew what to do. Whathe had done was the very reason Acacius was in a worse mood than usual that morning. He had been summoned to the office of Alfsigr.

Alfsigr was one of the leaders for the gnomes. He was not the most important leader, but had important responsibilities, and was often called a “manager”. Alfsigr usually gave warnings and sometimes punishments for petty crimes. However, Acacius did not feel that he had committed a crime. In his opinion, all he had been trying to do was fix one of his physical traits that he did not like, and a little bit of magic had made it work. But, this was not how many gnomes saw it.

So that morning, Acacius detoured from his normal direction to work, and met Alfsigr in a garden, as they had planned. The garden was small, and at the sides grew many vegetables. In the corner was a large apple tree. Unfortunately, Acacius hadn’t known that Alfsigr had been promoted earlier that morning. As a bonus, the manager had received magical powers.

When Alfsigr saw Acacius, he began to talk. “You have tried to become someone you are not. You have tried to change something about yourself, not to make yourself a better person, but just because you are superficial. For this, you must be punished.” Acacius stared at him, and felt astounded.

“You will be frozen,” Alfsigr continued, “so that you may never again attempt to grow taller!”

Acacius was suddenly overcome by a change. He wanted to run, but he could not. He wanted to shout, and talk back, but that was impossible too. He was frozen, his stunned expression still on his face. But Alfsigr was greedy and irresponsible. He went too far with the magic.

Since that day, all gnomes stand still, because of the superficiality of one, and the irresponsibility of another. And in a garden in northern Norway, there still stands one gnome, looking very surprised, standing a little taller than the others.

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