The Adventures in Gnome Village by Joslyn Corvis

I wrote this story quite some time ago, when I was but a mere youth.  Where has the time gone?!?!?It has been years since I wrote this story, and I haven’t read it in forever!  It was just a fun little side-project for me that I wrote so that I could share it with a friend of mine, who just happened to be a fellow gnome-enthusiast.  I did a lot of editing, but my main focus was on pieces that I planned to have published so there may be some mistakes lurking about.  So please forgive any typos (although bringing them to my attention is always appreciated)!Typos aside (not to mention spacing and centering because I haven’t figured out how to fix those little tidbits on REDROOM yet), I hope you enjoy ADVENTURES IN GNOME VILLAGE! 

Adventures in Gnome Village
by Joslyn Corvis

*  *  *

Dedicated to those who believe . . .  

*  *  *

“They have sharp fangs and long claws, and their eyes glow red!”  Norman the Gnome raised his hands beside his pudgy little gnome cheeks and wriggled his stubby little fingers to try and frighten his friends who were all sitting in a circle around him.  His long, white beard made him look much older than his years, though his face was smooth and unwrinkled.           

“No, they don’t!” cried Cherry Blossom.  “They don’t even exist!”           

“Oh, yes they do!”  Norman lowered his voice to an awe-invoking whisper.  “I’ve seen them.”           

All of the other gnomes in the circle sat and looked at Norman with wide eyes, except for Cherry Blossom.  She didn’t believe a single word of it.  She knew that there were no such things as humans and whenever Norman made up stories about these strange creatures she would toss back her cherry-red hair and roll her big brown eyes.           

Esteban, who was the adventurous gnome of the bunch, had an idea.  “Let’s go find one!” he said as he pounded his right fist into his open left palm.  He liked to go exploring new and unseen parts of the forest, and he was the bravest gnome of all.           

“What if they try to eat us?” little Ellie cried as she covered her eyes with her hands and shook her head.           

“Aww, it’s okay, Ellie.  I’ll protect you,” declared Esteban as he climbed on top of a big, grey stone.  This was the stone where all of the Gnome Village meetings took place, and everyone knew it as The Gnome Rock.  He looked down at the other gnomes and started to organize a Human Hunt.  “Meet me here on Friday at sundown!  We’ll prove that these things Norman calls “humans” do exist!  Now let’s all get back to our chores-Break’s over!”           

All of the gnomes in the little community went back to work.  Cherry Blossom sprinkled her Magic Gnome Dust over all of the wild berries she found to make them grow nice and juicy and ready to eat.  Ellie gathered nuts and acorns and put them into the pockets of her tiny pink apron.  Stan dug around for rocks which he would take back to his workshop and make into tools and chisel into furniture.  Belle gathered special materials to take to Petie so that he could make new clothes and shoes for everyone.  Esteban gathered firewood so that they would have a large supply during the cold seasons.  And Norman went back to his lab to work on some new inventions and conduct some experiments.           

The evening soon came and the gnomes had a large feast, as usual.  Everyone contributed, and while they dined they talked about the hunt.  Norman explained that he was going to make some new equipment to help them in their search, and Esteban stroked his soft white beard as he listened very closely.  Stan, Ellie, and Petie weren’t as adventurous as Esteban, but they knew that with him around they would all be safe.  Belle, on the other hand, was very excited and asked at least a hundred questions about how they were to catch a human-“What will we do with it when we find one?  Where will we look first?  What do they eat?  Are they friendly?  Where do they live…?”           

All through supper, Cherry Blossom fidgeted with her floppy red hat, and though she didn’t believe in humans, she kept quiet.  She wasn’t interested in hunting down a non-existent creature but thought that it might be interesting to do something out of the ordinary for a change.  Besides, she figured she might find a pretty flower or make friends with a chattering little squirrel while the others were concentrating on finding a human.           

The very next morning, Esteban crawled out of his cave which was at the bottom of a big rock and walked over to Norman’s house.  Norman lived in the hollowed bottom of a tree stump.  He knocked three times and after several rustling and clanking sounds, Norman answered.           

“Any new ideas, Norm?” asked Esteban as he stood there expectantly.           

“Oh, a few.  Follow me.”  Norman invited Esteban inside to look at some of his charts and his special new invention for the trip.  On a long table there were many different contraptions, charts, and diagrams.  “I’ve mapped out all of the places that we should look first.  I think that the first place a human might go is near a stream of water to drink, so we should start there!  They probably eat bugs, so we should also look near the rotting trees.”  He traced his finger along a map of the forest along places that they would search, and Esteban’s eyes followed.           

After Norman went over the trail they would use, Esteban pointed to one of the strange contraptions and asked what it was.  It was a small jar filled with lightening bugs, and it had a little handle on top.           

“You see,” said Norman, “You feed them through the lid at the top, and when you want to go out at night, you carry it around with you and they light up so you can see your way.”           

“Ahhh,” said Esteban, intrigued.  “This will work wonders!”           

“I sure hope so!  I have made one for each of us.”  When Esteban was ready to leave, Norman showed him to the door.           

Everyone was giddy with anticipation and had a hard time sleeping since they were so excited about what the next day might bring, but it wasn’t long before Friday evening came and the sun began to sink out of sight.  All the gnomes gathered at The Gnome Rock and stood in silence as Esteban climbed up on top and showed them Norman’s map and handed a copy to each gnome.  Then he held up a lantern and told them how to use it before he distributed them.           

The gnomes started off on their way, walking through the forest, but they were so busy talking and laughing that they weren’t paying all that much attention and would have probably walked right past a human if they were to encounter one.  Their giggling echoed through the stillness of the night, startling all of the creatures of the forest that they passed by.           

Cherry Blossom was beginning to get bored already, so she finally spoke up.  “I think I’m going to just head back and I’ll meet you by The Gnome Rock when you get there.  Besides, you know we’re not going to find anything anyway.  It’s just a waste of time!”           

All of the other gnomes protested because they had faith that they would find something.  They promised her that they would meet her back at The Gnome Rock, and that they would be bringing back a human; they were determined to prove her wrong.  Cherry Blossom turned back and left the others to go on their merry little way.  

 *  *  * 

Meanwhile…Elizabeth was lost in the forest.  She tried to find her way back, but each time she just got herself deeper and deeper in the woods and the sky was already growing darker by the second.  She could hardly even see where she was going and the sounds of the forest at night were starting to frighten her.It all started when she woke up this morning.  She spilled her glass of juice all over the kitchen table and her mother had to help her clean it up.  She was late for the bus and had to walk to school which also made her late for class.  She got in trouble for talking when she asked the girl sitting next to her about the class assignment and then, when she was on the playground, a boy pushed her down for no other reason than to be mean.  Her new dress was covered with dirt and grass, and though she felt like crying, she didn’t.           

But what made her even madder was when she got home and found her little brother eating the very last cupcake!  Her mom had saved it just for her, and she had been looking forward to it all day long.  Every time something bad happened, she reminded herself that it was there on the kitchen counter waiting for her.  She and her mother had baked them the night before, and her brother had eaten several already.  He wasn’t even considerate enough to save just one for her.  And so, out of frustration, she ran off to her favorite spot in the forest under the shade of a huge tree.           

She sat there for quite some time, just thinking about things.  She was beginning to feel much better and thought that all she really needed was a few minutes of quiet time to herself.  Her mind started to slowly drift off to other thoughts and she realized that even though she had lived in the little house by the woods all of her life, she had never actually explored the forest in depth.  She walked into the thick growth of trees, wondering what new and interesting things she might find.  And that’s when she lost her way home.           

Suddenly she heard giggly little voices cutting through the silence.  She was right about to call to them to save her, but she was afraid.  She didn’t know who the voices belonged to, and after all, someone would probably come looking for her soon, or at least she hoped.           

She sat on a gray rock, discouraged, hungry, and tired.  She withdrew a piece of candy from her pocket and put it in her mouth, hoping to stave off her hunger.  The chocolate candy melted slowly in her mouth and she started to miss her parents.  If she had only stayed in one place, she would have been enjoying a nice hot meal right about now.  She closed her eyes for just a moment, and tears began to run down her freckled face.  Now she was worried that she would never make it home!           

Cherry Blossom stood there watching the giant the whole time.  She had turned back to wait for the others at the big, gray rock, but when she got there she was a little startled to see the monster sitting there.  Cherry Blossom was so afraid that she hid behind a tree, but when she saw that the thing was crying, the fear began to subside and she started to feel sorry for her.  She cautiously walked over to the girl, stood in front of her and softly said, “Hello.”            Elizabeth looked around but didn’t see anyone.           

“Down here,” said the squeaky little voice.Elizabeth looked down in disbelief and scooped up the small gnome.            “What are you?” asked Elizabeth as she blinked her eyes and held the tiny person close to her face.  The little gnome shivered and shook with fear, covering her eyes with her tiny hands, so Elizabeth gently said, “It’s okay; I won’t hurt you.”           

Cherry Blossom slowly removed her hands from her eyes and stared at Elizabeth for a moment with wide, curious eyes.           

“My name is Cherry Blossom.  This is my forest, and what are you doing sitting on my rock?”           

Elizabeth didn’t even notice the gnome’s rudeness, but rudeness in a gnome is only a sign that the gnome is inquisitive, although there are a few out there that are just plain rude.  But Elizabeth was entirely too fascinated to pay attention.”Are you a tiny human?” she asked.           

“Human?  Why, no!  I don’t have sharp teeth, long claws or glowing red eyes!”  Cherry Blossom bared her teeth, wiggled her fingers, and blinked her eyes and Elizabeth had to laugh at the elaborate display Cherry Blossom gave.  Then she puffed out her chest proudly, put her fists on her hips and declared, “Why, I’m a gnome!”           

“Wow!  I’ve never seen a real live gnome before!  Just in books and on the television.  My name is Elizabeth.  I live in a little house past the edge of the woods but I got lost and can’t find my way back home.  Do you think you could help me?”           

“Sure thing!  But first could you tell me what you are?  A giant of some sort, perhaps?”           

“No,” Elizabeth laughed.  “Not at all; I’m a normal-sized human!  But I guess I do look like a giant to you, huh?”            Cherry Blossom jumped out of Elizabeth’s hand and stood on the rock, squinting her eyes to get a good look at Elizabeth.  “Where are your fangs?  And your claws?  And your glowing red eyes?”           

Elizabeth was confused.  She didn’t know what her new friend was talking about, so Cherry Blossom explained how she had heard stories about these “human-things” before and what scary creatures they seemed to be.  Elizabeth had blonde hair and blue eyes, and she surely didn’t have claws or long, sharp teeth.  In fact, she wasn’t scary at all!  She looked just like a gnome, though her cheeks weren’t chubby and she didn’t have a pug nose.  The main difference, though, was that Elizabeth was much, much bigger than any gnome Cherry Blossom had ever met.  They both chuckled at how silly it all sounded, especially now that she was standing face-to-face with a human.           

“This way,” cried Cherry Blossom as she swung her hand over her shoulder to motion for Elizabeth to follow.  Elizabeth hopped to her feet and followed behind Cherry Blossom, careful not to accidentally step on her.           

They had been walking for such a long time and Elizabeth was so tired, thirsty and hungry that she asked to stop for just a minute.  They found a tree stump and Elizabeth sat down and lifted the gnome up to sit beside her.  She then took out the half-eaten chocolate bar and broke off a piece for herself, and another tiny gnome-sized piece for Cherry Blossom.           

“What is it?” asked Cherry Blossom.           

“It’s chocolate.”           

Choc-O-Late,” repeated Cherry Blossom.  “So what do you do with it?”                       

Elizabeth laughed.  “Well, you eat it; I bet you’ll love it!”           

After taking a big bite, Cherry Blossom gasped with delight.  It was so good; she had never tasted anything like it before!           

It was time to get going again, and Cherry Blossom asked the girl how she had gotten lost, so Elizabeth went on to tell all about how horrid her day had been, and all about the cupcake, too.            

“So you ran away?”           

“No, I wasn’t running away at all.  I just can’t find my way back to the path leading home.  I come to the forest when I’m sad or sometimes just to sit and think and be alone.  I walked further than I ever have before, so I didn’t really mean to run away; I just got lost.”           

Cherry Blossom understood, but she had to ask – – – What was this thing called a “cupcake”?  Elizabeth was about to answer but when they came to her favorite, familiar old spot in the woods she was too excited to speak!  Now she could easily find her way back home!  She thanked Cherry Blossom for her help and gave her a big piece of chocolate to take home with her.           

“So I guess this is…Goodbye?”  Cherry Blossom seemed sad.           

“We’ll see each other again!  Don’t you worry!”  Elizabeth tried to comfort her new friend, and suddenly Cherry Blossom’s eyes lit up as she remembered something.  She dug into her pockets and pulled out a tiny whistle.  She held it between her finger and thumb, reaching up on her tippy-toes so that Elizabeth could grab it.”Here.  If you ever get lost in the forest again or need me at all, blow on it and wherever I’m at I’ll come and find you.  Go ahead; give it a try!”           

Elizabeth held the tiny whistle to her lips and gently blew, but it barely made a sound.  “I think it’s broken.”  Elizabeth sounded disappointed.           

“Nope, not at all!  No matter how far apart we are, I can always hear it.  It’s my special whistle.  Maybe one day you can come visit Gnome Village; just give me a whistle!”           

“I’d like that,” said Elizabeth.           

“Oh!  And one more thing before you go; please don’t tell anyone about us gnomes.  We like our privacy.  Only very special people can see us in our true forms.”           

Elizabeth gave her word that she wouldn’t tell a soul, and then she thanked Cherry Blossom for all of her help.  Pretty soon she was out of the forest and she could clearly see her house.  There were police cars in front, and she ran as fast as she could.  Her father was standing there talking to one of the policemen, and as soon as he saw his daughter he ran to her and gave her a great big hug.  In the distance the officer was talking on his radio and notifying everyone that the little girl had come home, safe and sound.  Her mom and little brother heard all of the commotion and ran out of the house, and the police soon left after talking to Elizabeth, who had to once again explain that she wasn’t trying to run away, and that she was very sorry.  Even so, her parents both scolded her for causing them so much worry and told her to never run off like that again.  She tearfully apologized and though she was crying, she felt much better on the inside.  She was home again with the family who loved her, and no matter how bad things ever got, she knew that they would always love her, and that she’d always be able to come back home.           

When Elizabeth got inside the cozy house, she saw by the clock that it wasn’t as late as she had thought.  She still had time to eat dinner and take a bath, and since it was Friday she hoped that she would be able to stay up a little later; that is, if she wasn’t in too much trouble.  Her mom made her a plate of spaghetti with a slice of garlic bread and salad, and while she ate, her brother brought her a large plate filled with cupcakes.  He and their mother had baked up a whole new batch, just for Elizabeth, while they awaited her return.            

“I’m sorry, Lizzie.  These are all yours.  I didn’t mean to eat the last cupcake, but it’s just that they were so good!  I couldn’t help myself.”

Elizabeth leaned over and hugged him.  ” And I’m sorry I got so upset, it’s just that I had a really rotten day.  I won’t eat all of these cupcakes so help yourself!” 

 *  *  *            

Back at the Gnome Village, everyone showed up at Gnome Rock empty handed.           

“So, you didn’t find any humans, did you?” asked Cherry Blossom sarcastically as she stopped playing her tiny flute and put it back into its case.           

“No,” cried all of the other gnomes disappointedly, almost as if they were singing in a choir.

“See?  I told you!”           

It was time for dinner and everyone was preparing different things.  Stan made some stew and Belle made an acorn-berry salad.  Norman brought some water and Ellie made the berry juice.  Esteban made a mushroom casserole and Petie made his absolute favorite dish — Mud Pies!   But Cherry Blossom brought a very special dessert to share with her friends at their nightly feast.           

After everyone had gotten their fill of the main courses, it was time for dessert.  They were all requesting some of Petie’s Famous Mud Pie, and since everyone always contributed to the meal, they all looked at Cherry Blossom and asked what she had brought.  She took out the chocolate bar and set it on the table so that her friends could serve themselves.  Everyone was surprised when they tasted it, and shouts of “This is delicious,” and “What is it?” and “Where did it come from?” filled the air.  All Cherry Blossom could say was, “It’s called ‘Chocolate,'” and “Oh, I just got it from a friend I met in the forest,” but everyone was enjoying this new treat way too much to care where it had come from.           

That night, all of the gnomes went to bed with full little pot-bellies and the taste of chocolate on their tongues.  It was very early the next morning when Cherry Blossom heard a single whistle that woke her from her sleep.  Elizabeth needs me, she thought.  She crept out of bed and climbed out of her underground home as quietly as she could so that the other gnomes wouldn’t hear her.  She followed her ears to where she had heard the whistle and recognized the area immediately.  Elizabeth’s favorite spot!  But where’s Elizabeth? she wondered.  Though it was dark, Cherry Blossom could see that on top of a stone was a little note with something on top of it to hold it down in case a draft should blow it away.  All it said was, “Cherry Blossom-This is a cupcake!  I hope you and your friends like it.”           

Even though it was big, Cherry Blossom carried it all the way home, propping it up on her back.  She knew that whatever this cupcake was, she and her friends would love it.  She also knew that she would be seeing a lot of her new friend from now on, and there was still so much more that she wanted to learn about humans.

 ~*~*~*~*~*~

            Elizabeth walked home in the darkness knowing that her friend would love the cupcake.  It made her feel good to be able to do something nice for Cherry Blossom; after all, she did help her find her way back home.  She hoped that they would be seeing much more of each other.  After all, she thought, there is still so much I want to know about gnomes!

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