These wonderful stories of the North will delight children of all ages with the humanity and grace of the gnomes.
The first few stories in this collection recount the exploits of a disagreeable troll, who ensnares unsuspecting creatures – a goldfish, butterflies – in his net and keeps them in his dark cave; other animals help to free the captives. Then begins the story, in short chapters, of Liputto, a gnome whose job it is to bring drops of sunlight deep into the earth; after seven years of work, he is awarded a kind of sabbatical, to explore for a year. For this purpose he is given an invisibility cap, so that he can remain unseen by humans, though his stated hope is to learn more about them. The rest of the book is devoted to his journey.
Liputto first helps a tiny violet, unintentionally trampled under the foot of a child; he then saves a baby bunny from a lawn mower, and helps the mother rabbit find a home safe from foxes. As the story develops, Liputto learns more about human nature, and helps to encourage kindness in them. He is called on to be courageous. And he is shown grace by others, because of his thoughtfulness and good intentions.
I especially like an early episode, in which Liputto rescues two children who are lost on a mountain picking flowers for their mother's birthday; Liputto decides to take off his hat so that the children see him, in order to show them the way home. He doesn't say anything, but gestures and points, and when the children find the path down, he disappears. Despite that he's not supposed to reveal himself, he decides to do so in the interest of this childrens' safety. Rules are important, but sometimes the most sensible thing to do is to ignore them.
Available from Waldorf Publications, Waldorf Books