Home is not a home without a gnome

When confronted with a garden gnome, the common reaction is to raise your hands in horror and express disgust, wondering how anyone can bear to have such a creature stay in the backyard. On the other hand, we know from reliable sources that the population of gnomes in southern Germany is approaching four million, and if you look, there are quite a few of them in the USA.

Perhaps the Germans shouldn’t surprise us, as gnomes were first created in their country in the early 1800s. The earliest recorded sighting in England was in 1840 at Lamport Hall, the residence of Sir Charles Isham. It wasn’t until 1872 that garden gnomes began to be produced in large numbers. According to German folklore, gnomes were considered lucky charms. They were supposed to help around the house and in the garden, and in the countryside they often lived on the rafters of sheds, where they closely watched the owner’s animals, as well as the harvest and garden products.

Over the years, German master gnomes honed their skills and became masters. At its peak, the Griebel Dwarf Factory in East Germany produced about 300 different Dwarf characters. After the collapse of communism in 1989, entrepreneurs in the Czech Republic decided to enter the market and produce cheap imitations of traditional characters. They were initially barred from entering Germany under a law that allowed customs to confiscate dwarves who infringed on company copyrights. However, now on the border with Germany it is free for everyone, and Reinhard Griebel, the great-grandson of the founder of the company, has only one workshop and a gnome museum.

While the original gnomes were portrayed as gardeners engaged in traditional rural tasks, the range has been expanded to include everyone from fishermen to musicians, athletes, and farmers. Soon, living people began to be sculpted from clay or ceramics. Among those currently available are the gladiator Russell Crowe, TV gardeners Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock, and even Tony Blair’s wall plaque.

For gnome lovers, no trip to Europe is complete without a visit to the Gnome Sanctuary, located in the wilds of northern Devon in England. There, you’ll find over a thousand gnomes and pixies in a four-acre sanctuary. Gnome hats are free with fishing rods, so you don’t confuse the gnomes!

There are people who look differently at the cheerful little character sitting in your yard. FreeTheGnomes.com provides information on freeing garden gnomes and calls to action. They declare that “Thousands of dwarfs are enslaved in gardens all over America. For too long, we have allowed our neighbors to usurp the rights of these gentle forest creatures. Join our boycott. Organize a picket demonstration. Write to Congress. Free the gnome. We”. I’ll show you how to do it. “

Some groups have taken the law into their own hands. In April 2000, in Paris, the dormant Garden Gnome Liberation Front came to life, kidnapping about 20 gnomes during a night raid on a Paris exhibition. “We demand … that garden gnomes are no longer ridiculed and released into their natural habitat,” the Front’s Paris wing said in a statement following the weekend’s strike.

The disappearing gnomes are causing headaches for police around the world. In May 2004, The Scotsman reported that a wave of bizarre thefts had left the Lothian police with several unusual prisoners – 14 garden gnomes. An elderly woman complained to the police that someone was stealing gnomes from her yard in Fairfax County, Washington. The officers set up a spy camera and caught their suspect four times at the scene. The police found out that their bad boyfriend was a really good Labrador Retriever named Magnum. The dog took the figurines and brought them home. In Australia, garden gnomes began to disappear en masse from one area. A few months later, they were found in a clearing in the bushes, where they all gathered around the largest gnome, holding a meeting.

If you haven’t yet succumbed to the temptation to acquire one of these hilarious little creatures, let me leave you with one last thought. A 2003 study in England on the issues to consider when selling your home found that having a gnome in your front garden lowers the value of your home by $ 840.

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