Everyone has seen a garden or Christmas gnome with their wide belts and cone-shaped caps. Some have beards while others have puffy, red cheeks. But some people are afraid at the sight of gnomes.
So, it begs the question: are gnomes evil? No, they’re not evil. But depending on what part of the world you visit, gnomes do have a wicked reputation. But most instances of unsavory activity is a result of them being angry.
Gnome Types | Their Temperaments
- Forest Gnomes – This is the most common gnome in the world and help animals when injured by hunting traps. They can be mischievous, but they are often helpful.
- Garden Gnomes – These are the second-most common type of gnomes who live with humans and help healthy plants to grow. Although very docile, they will take vengeance on those who disrespect them.
- Home Gnomes – A very popular gnome type, they live in human homes, especially big ones with a basement. They do household repairs and help with other chores. But if humans are ungrateful, they will leave and never come back.
- Jungle Gnomes – These are the smallest type of gnome and live in tropical climates. Most stories say they are tricksters and some are something out of a horror story. But some tales say they’ll help lost travelers.
- Farm Gnomes – Much like Forest Gnomes, they live alongside humans on a farm and assist with caring for animals. They will not tolerate any amount of unnecessary animal cruelty and seek out revenge when angered.
- Desert Gnomes – Gnomes of this kind often wear light, neutral clothing and live in sand dunes. They often play tricks but help people find hidden treasures if they’re deserving of it.
- Siberian Gnomes – These cold-climate gnomes wear dark clothing, are the tallest type of gnome and are always in a discordant mood. They have no qualms performing wicked deeds upon the slightest infraction against them.
The word “gnome” means “earth dweller.” It’s a Greek word that ties gnomes to the fairy realm. These are not to be mistaken for dwarves, which are a different thing. They’re quick, tiny, intelligent and fearsome.
Once thought to be the ugly, backwards counterpart to fairies, gnomes are a beloved figure in many gardens and children’s stories. But the type of gnome depends on where they originate from, which gives indications about their temperament.
Myths and legends tell us they guard mines, underground treasures, precious gems and rare metals. They also have advanced knowledge about managing money and give financial advice.
Gnomes usually avoid humans, which makes them more shy than evil. But some stories relate how they offer help to humans. An example comes from Cologne, Germany in the tale about Heinzelmannchen (House Brownie). They take care of domestic work for citizens at night.
The wife of a tailor was curious about how these gnomes worked. So, to catch a glimpse, she scattered peas on the floor to make them trip and fall. Infuriated at the trick, the gnomes left Cologne and they haven’t returned since.
Other legends tell us that gnomes are wild beings who have little concern for cleanliness and hygiene. And yet other stories say that they will leap out and pull pranks. Some who can’t speak are clever jokers and tricksters.
According to Paraclesus, a 16th century Swiss alchemist, gnomes are stubborn but brave and intrinsic to the earth. They work with physical matter and maintain home heating while also having the power to transform the world in lasting ways.
Because of their unique earth connection, people once believed that they could travel through the earth at the speed of light. They enrich garden soil, helping to propagate all plant life on earth.
When gnomes do evil, it’s often because are angry at a human in some way. There are many stories about humans trapping, ensnaring or ruining their homes. That’s not necessarily evil.
But some fables from Spanish-speaking regions, like Central and South America, tell us that gnomes are horrifying, vile forest-dwelling creatures. They’re called “Duendes” and wear animal skins. They can be two to three feet tall and shapeshift or become invisible.
These gnomes play pranks and cause problems for humans, especially small children. But there are a few stories of them helping lost travelers.
Mindfulness Around Gnomes
Understanding gnomes as part of nature rather than as an evil entity determines a human’s relationship with them. If you are cruel to the earth and animals, disturb their home or kidnap one, expect vengeance.
But if you invite them to your home, treat them with respect and honor them, they can be a trusty companion. Unless you’re in an area where gnomes are on the trickster side of things, then be cautious.
Are Gnomes Bad Luck?
Gnomes are actually a sign of good luck and hurting or breaking a gnome is bad luck.