One of the great sources of sadness in my life has always been that I was not born a gnome. I blame my parents for this, for they were not gnomes either.

But, I had an uncle who was a gnome. Murphy was his name. He would sneak into people’s yard at night and secretly plant mushrooms, which is very funny to a gnome. He also made his own “medicine” in a little copper still and grew his own pipe-weed in a secret garden behind the garden. He listened to the stories of the sea shells and carried on conversations with passing butterflies and bumble bees. He knew every ant by name and played chess with an elderly cricket who had travelled the world on a merchant ship, back when that was a respectable way to travel the world.

One spring, Uncle Murphy travelled to Norway to buy some very special mushroom seeds from a fellow gnome. That fall, we had red and golden mushrooms and no one knew why.

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