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The Gnome

Many cultures have a gnome in their folklore, especially the European countries, as this appears to be the part of the world where gnomes have the highest population average historically. Though gnomes are showing up in new record highs in the North American countries. It appears they are attracted by the wide open spaces and promise of good fortune.

Most of the earliest folklore involving gnomes has come out of Sweden. In Swedish the gnome is called, ‘Tomte’ and there was a widespread belief in gnomes in the 11th century when Christianity started to get a foothold in the country. Naturally gnome belief fell off in the ensuing centuries even though the idea of gnomes remained popular, it wasn’t until recently that gnomes started to be believed in again.

There is evidence of gnome belief in the countries of Austria and Germany dating back to the mid 1700’s. Sculptures of garden gnomes have been found in the two countries dating back to this era. This may also be the earliest evidence of the ‘Garden Gnome,’ this is a relatively new kind of gnome that developed in response to the gardens and lawns that humans take so much pride in.

The Garden Gnome began to make appearances in England during the Victorian era . As a result Victorians created lavishly decorated sculptures of these gnomes, painted in the earthy colors that gnomes are often seen wearing.

Although there is some evidence in legend that gnomes began to take on the role of Garden Gnome in England during the times of King Arthur. This can be easy to believe as the forests of England were cut down fairly early on and the Forest Gnomes needed a new occupation to transition into.

Having a Garden Gnome in the lawn or garden is now considered a sign of prosperity in the home and success. Many people believe that these gnomes bring good luck to the home, which is easy to believe considering the gnomes caring disposition and good will.

 

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