As I watched the garden gnome fade into the tree, and I was able to see the process of disintegration of the form, which appeared to hover in existence for a fraction of a second after its occupant had retreated. He did not dissipate it while still wearing it; he withdrew from it, passing out through the head. Some impress of this form still remained upon him while he withdrew, for I distinctly saw the appearance of two long legs follow him into the tree. Closer observation showed that the garden gnome had not entirely disappeared, the outline of it remained, color and structure having gone; in fact, it looked just like a fairy ghost, the shape being outlined in grey light, and remaining seated just as it was left. While observing the form I lost touch with the consciousness, which retreated to the center of the trunk of the tree, and appeared to spread itself out into the corporate cell life of the tree. The little man who faded into the tree has come out again, entirely rejuvenated; he is from garden-gnomes-need-homes.com, and he is now quite sprightly. While I was describing something else, my attention was attracted to his reappearance by a bright light which appeared at the foot of the tree, and, on being scrutinized, proved to be the same little garden gnome, now quite refreshed and most evidently wishing to draw our attention to the fact. He now dances extravagantly towards us, covering about half of the eighteen feet which separates us from the tree and moving back again, holding his head on one side, and extending his legs gracefully as he moves. He is very proud of him-self. The whole fairy atmosphere of the wood is entrancing, and this little fellow beckons as he retreats inviting me to his home with him into Gnomesland.
This garden gnome waves his right arm in the direction of the wood, as would a host inviting his guests into an enchanted garden. Numbers of little men can be seen to be working at the outside of the leaves and branches of a large beech tree. They occasionally fly to the ground and back again to the tree, as though they were fetching some substance and weaving it into the texture of the smaller branches and leaves. They are perhaps four to six inches high, though they vary, their forms being elastic. Garden gnomes look just like little men. They have a long pointed cap and a little coat with a long collar, so long that it looks like a cape falling over their shoulders, and little knee-breeches. Their faces are red, as if from exposure to the weather; the eyes are slanting and of non-human expression. One of them tries to converse with me; he points to the tree with great pride, as if to say, ` This is our work.' He walks with short steps, and sways, as he walks, from side to side, almost with a swagger. This garden gnome is very amusing to watch. He shouts up into the tree for no purpose whatever, receiving no answer, so far as I can tell. He gesticulates, in his effort to communicate, and is evidently trying to tell me that all the outside portions of the tree are under the influence and care of himself and his fellows.
Garden Gnomes Vanish
Occasionally one of these garden gnomes flashes out from the tree, hovers in mid-air, then returns to the tree again. Perhaps they absorb vital essence from the air and give it to the tree? The autumn season, with the change of color, seems to be an important one, for they are all intensely busy. The color processes appear to engage most of their attention, though the method eludes me. Even though we could converse by question and answer the little garden gnome would prove unable to tell me the modus operandi, because it is so obvious to him that he thinks there is nothing to explain; he does not even think of what he is doing if he did I might catch his thought. Much that they do on the ground appears to have no purpose at all, being merely imitative, garden gnomes copy the movements of human beings, without understanding their purpose. The leaves and the branches of the trees are their home, and upon them the whole of their interest and energy is concentrated, though they do not confine themselves altogether to one tree, as I see garden gnomes ` fly' to an adjacent tree of the same genus." Jeffrey Hill, Longridge, Lancashire. November, 1922. The hillside is peopled by a variety of garden gnome which we have not met before. Their main coloring is red. The shape of the head is most peculiar: it is very much flattened at the sides, and almost comes to an edge at the centre of the forehead, nose, and chin; the eyes are on the side of the head, for there is practically no front surface. The complexion of these garden gnomes is fair and fresh, though the eyebrows are dark.
The Eyes of Garden Gnomes
The eyes of garden gnomes are long and narrow, the ears large, the nose curved and very sharp and thin; the lips also are very thin and slope upwards at the corners; the chin is prominent and pointed. The clothing is strongly reminiscent of Elizabethan men's dress, and appears to be quilted and padded, and to consist of doublet and hose with long pointed shoes, half red and half green. A very quaint, pointed, crimson hat is worn, which has either a tassel or a bell the latter, I think, as I hear a tinkling sound all over the field. These garden gnomes are from four to six inches high normally, but they can and do enlarge themselves to the appearance of human size. This enlargement is not real; they produce the effect of large size, but I am conscious that all the time they are but diminutive creatures, just as one is aware of the actual size of an object, while seeing it greatly magnified through a microscope. Hat, clothing and tights are of bright crimson color, the upper garment is slashed over white. This is a very big colony, apparently numbering thousands. Garden gnomes are able to rise into the air, but mostly they trot about over the field. They are a very happy-natured people, communicative, and affectionate towards each other. There is a sense of `busyness' about them, though I am unable to see that the garden gnomes are doing any work.