Even in the gnome heartland, the very Shire of gnomedom - Southern Germany - garden gnomes, dwarfs, and imps were in ill-repute. Many had already left for the diaspora in far away places like Illinois and Wisconsin. Gardeners that still had gnomes often hid them away in sheds or relegated them to shabby corners of their gardens out of shame. There were reports of gnomes being locked up and even mutilated!
And on the other side of the mighty Rhine River, the powerful Front pour la Libération des Nains de Jardin (FLNJ - Garden Gnome Liberation Front) was on the rampage, purporting to liberate gnomes from a life of bondage, but in reality kidnapping and then abandoning them in basements, forests, public libraries and other deserted places.
It was only a question of time before the FLNJ started foraging to the East of the border, for there were age-old resentments between the neighboring countries that ran deep.
To be sure, there were still some sheltered havens in Germany where gnomes were appreciated and nurtured as of old, one of these being a large garden colony near the traditionally open-minded metropolis of Mannheim. Here gnomes could go about their business in peace, performing their time-cherished tasks -
painting the spots on poisonous mushrooms,
and other important things like waving and carrying buckets.
But one misty fall morning, an alarm was raised in the gnome community. The lookout gnome on the morning shift was the first to hear the terrible news,
and messenger gnomes ran to all corners of the garden colony
to spread the word that an assembly was to be held to discuss reports of sordid crimes right here in
Something unthinkable had happened. While performing her morning chores, Snow White had been accosted by an exhibitionist gnome. To make matters worse, he had dressed up in the most sacred of gnome costumes.
But much much worse than this was the discovery of Johann Wichtel, stabbed with a kitchen knife right in his own allotment.
Now while big folk had occasionally been known to commit immoral acts towards little folk, crimes within the gnome community itself were hitherto unheard of.
It was an outrage. Fathers feared for their children,
Many started taking up arms and forming vigilante committees.
Rumors were rampant as to who the perpetrators might be. Could it be one of the reclusive giant gnomes who preferred the company of big folk to those of their own race?
Could it have been one of the many immigrant gnomes now entering the country under the new labor mobility laws of the EU? Who knew what they might be capable of.
Perhaps one of the economic refugee gnomes from Greece,
or one of the strange race of Belgian gnomes seen more and more frequently?
Would these immigrants ever be able to assimilate and adopt German gnome customs as their own?
To be sure, some of the native gnome habits had their dark side, and there were increasing instances of binge drinking among gnome youth, perhaps leading to crime??
The situation is grave. At the end of this sorry report we'd like to make this appeal to all gardeners: please consider giving your gnome a place in your home, perhaps among the houseplants, where he can be safe and happy. After all, we wouldn't want yet another magical race to disappear from the face of
All photos taken on original location in the garden colony Kleingärtnerverein Mannheim-Süd e.V.