On my first journey to the surface of the green earth, the hills were covered in thick forests through which wild animals roamed. I amused myself by rolling great rocks down desolate valleys, chasing grey wolves, and hearing the thunder echo through the hills.
The next time I went up to the surface, everything had changed. The dark woods were hewn down, and thatched cottages with orchards dotted the landscape. Sheep grazed on the hillsides, blue smoke curled peacefully into the air, and from the shade of hedges came the music of the shepherd’s pipe.
I attempted to make friends with men but they treated me poorly. I worked for a master, but when I refused to be the tool of his injustice, he threw me into prison. I escaped, of course; that is no difficulty for a gnome. But I am very disappointed with men.
Rubezahl, King of Gnomes in Rubezahl, Brown Fairy Book. Picture by Lennart Helje.