The Three Little Gnomes
Written & Illustrated by JOHNNY
A silvery thread of smoke curled up over the
trunk of the old tree and floated away through the forest, and tiny voices
came from beneath the trunk of the old tree.
Long, long ago, the tree had stood strong
and upright and its top branches reached far above any of the other trees
in the forest, but the tree had grown so old it began to shiver when the
storms howled through the branches. And as each storm came the old tree
shook more and more, until finally in one of the fiercest storms it tumbled
to the earth with a great crash.
There it lay for centuries, and vines and
bushes grew about in a tangled mass until it was almost hidden from view.
Now down beneath the trunk of the fallen tree
lived three little gnomes, and it was the smoke from their fire which curled
up over the trunk of the old tree and floated away through the forest.
They were preparing dinner and laughing and
talking together when they heard the sound of a horn.
“What can it be?” one asked.
“It sounds like the horn of a huntsman!” another
As the sound came nearer, the three little
gnomes stamped upon their fire and put it out so that no one would discover
their home. Then they climbed upon the trunk of the tree and ran along
it to where they could see across an open space in the forest without being
seen themselves. And when the sound of the horn drew very close, they saw
a little boy climb through the thick bushes.
As the little boy came out into the open space
the three little gnomes saw that he was crying.
“He must be lost!” said the first little gnome.
“He looks very tired and hungry!” said the
second little gnome.
“Let us go and ask him!” said the third little gnome.
So the three little gnomes scrambled down
from the trunk of the fallen tree and went up to where the little boy had
thrown himself upon the ground. They stood about him and watched him, for
he had put his face in the crook of his arm and was crying.
Finally one of the little gnomes sat down
in front of the little boy and spoke to him.
“I am lost!” the little boy said. “My father
went hunting yesterday with all his men and when they were out of sight
I took my little horn and followed them, but I soon lost their track, and
I have wandered about with nothing to eat. Last night I climbed into a
tree and slept!”
The three little gnomes wiped the little boy’s
eyes and led him to their home under the fallen tree. There they finished
preparing the dinner and sat about until the little boy had eaten and had
Then the three little gnomes carried him into
their house, away back in the trunk of the tree, and placed him upon one
of their little beds.
When the three little gnomes had finished
their dinner they lit their pipes and wondered how they might help the
little boy find his way home.
“Let us go to old Wizzy Owl and see if he
can suggest anything!” said one.
“Yes, brothers,” cried another, “Let us go
to old Wizzy Owl.”
So the three little gnomes went to the home
of Wizzy Owl and Wizzy Owl said he wouldfly high above the forest and try
and see the little boy’s home.
“I can not see his home!” cried Wizzy Owl.
“Maybe Fuzzy Fox can tell you!”
So the three little gnomes went to the home
of Fuzzy Fox and Fuzzy Fox said he would run through the forest and see
if he could find the little boy’s home. So Fuzzy Fox ran through the forest,
but could not find the little boy’s home. “But,” said Fuzzy Fox, “I came
upon a wounded deer who told me that a party of huntsmen had passed through
the forest yesterday and had shot her with an arrow.” So the three little
gnomes went to see the wounded deer and they washed the wound the arrow
had made and bound it up for her.
Then the three little gnomes sat upon Fuzzy
Fox’s back and he ran on through the forest with them until they came to
a wild boar.
The wild boar had been crippled by the huntsmen,
he told the three little gnomes, but had managed to hide himself in the
thick bushes and escape. “It must have been the little boy’s father and
his men,” said the wild boar. “I am sorry that I am wounded for I would
like to help him!”
Then Fuzzy Fox ran with the three little gnomes
through the forest and they met a wounded bear, and a wounded squirrel,
and five or six wounded bunny rabbits, and they all told the three little
gnomes that the huntsmen had shot them with arrows and that they just managed
The three little gnomes felt very sorry for
their wounded friends and helped them all they could by washing their wounds
and tying them up. “We are sorry that we can not go with you and help find
the little boy’s home,” they all said, “For his mother will miss him and
cry for him. And we know how much a Mamma or a Daddy can miss a little
boy or girl, for we have all grieved for our own little ones that the huntsmen
who roam this forest have killed. That is why we feel sorry that we can
not help you bring him back to his mother.”
So Fuzzy Fox ran until he came to the edge
of the forest and then the three little gnomes saw a large castle away
in the distance with bright red roofs on the tall towers.
“That must be the little boy’s home!” said
one little gnome.
“Let us return at once to our home under the
fallen tree and ask the little boy!” said another. So Fuzzy Fox ran with
them back to their home and the little boy told them it was his home.
Then the kind Fuzzy Fox took the three little
gnomes and the little boy upon his back and ran to the edge of the forest
and on the way they stopped to see the wounded animals, and they were all
glad that the little boy’s Mamma and Daddy would soon see him. “Oh, if
we could only see the children who have been taken away from us by the
huntsmen!” they said as they bade the little boy goodbye.
So Fuzzy Fox carried the three little gnomes
and the little boy almost to the castle gate and shook hands with him.
“I will remember the way to your home,” the
boy told the three little gnomes, “and I will be back to see you soon!”
The next day when the three little gnomes
were preparing dinner they again heard the little boy’s horn, and ran along
the trunk of the tree until they came to where they could see across the
Soon there came a great many people, and riding
upon a fine horse in front of his Daddy was the little boy, but this day
he wore fine silk and satin clothes and they were not torn by the brambles
and bushes. Near him rode a beautiful lady. She was the little boy’s Mamma.
So the three little gnomes went out to meet
them, and the little boy slid from the horse and ran to them and threw
his arms around them. “This is my Daddy, and this is my Mamma!” he told
The little boy’s Mamma and the little boy’s
Daddy dismounted and came to the three little gnomes and thanked them for
returning the little boy to them. “We will give you anything you wish for!”
said the little boy’s Mamma and Daddy.
“We wish for nothing!” said the three little
gnomes, “We live happily here in the forest and our wants are simple, but
if you could send us some clean white cloths to bind up the wounds you
give our forest friends we would be very grateful!”
“I told Daddy of the wounded creatures!” said
the little boy. “Yes,” his Daddy said, “and I have given orders that no
one in my country shall hunt through this forest, and from now on your
forest friends will be unmolested and can always live here in peace and
happiness.” For the great king was sorry that he or his men had ever caused
any of the forest creatures any sorrow. And after that the creatures of
the forest were never harmed and they grew up so tame they would wander
right up to the castle, where the king’s men would feed them.
The tiny thread of smoke still curls up over
the trunk of the fallen tree, and the voices of the little boy and his
Daddy mingle with the tiny voices of the three little gnomes as they prepare
their dinner; for the great King and the little Prince come often to visit
their friends, the three little gnomes.