Gnomes at home in the forests of Sweden

In 1977, I was given the book ‘Gnomes’ (written by Wil Huygen and beautifully illustrated by Rien Poortvliet) when I was 8 years old. It instantly became my favourite book. I used to pour over the stories and pictures, learning about the habits, family life and mythology of Gnomes, Trolls and the Snotgurglers (my personal favorite for the name alone).

Fast forward to 2011 – It is mid summer and we were in the small hamlet of Drevdagen, Sweden, staying in a cottage that backed onto a long distance wilderness walking track that meanders through Sweden’s national parks and forests. We were rained in the first three mornings, but the next day I was up at 2am, and made my way along the track.

You can imagine my childlike delight and joy to discover the landscape was inhabited by these same creatures. I have no idea how they got there – but some imaginative and creative people have definitely had some fun. I don’t mind not knowing – I love the playful mystery of it all! Needless to say, I got totally distracted and spent the morning in search of tiny doorways, houses, ladders, watchful rocks and kept my eyes open for the occasional Gnome sighting.


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