I’d love to be in a wintery, witchy fairy tale. My home would be an old quaint castle hidden in the forest, I’d be the young witch of the woods villagers would brave traveling to for tinctures, cures, and spells for ailments. And I’d always be known as kind, but very dangerous.
A gnome is a diminutive spirit in Renaissance magic and alchemy, first introduced by Paracelsus in the 16th century. Paracelsus uses Gnomi as a synonym of Pygmæi, and classifies them as one of the four spirits of the four elements, making them: salamander=fire, gnome=earth, undine=water and silph=air. He describes them as two spans high, very reluctant to interact with humans, and able to move through solid earth as easily as humans move through air. The chthonic, or earth-dwelling, spirit has precedents in numerous ancient and medieval mythologies, often guarding mines and precious underground treasures.
Gnomes consist of a number of different types. The most common is the Forest Gnome who rarely comes into contact with man. The Garden Gnome lives in old gardens and enjoys telling melancoly tales. House Gnomes have the most knowledge of man, often speaking his language. Gnomes are usually an average of 15 centimeters tall (but in some stories they are said to be around a foot (30 cm) in height), but with its cap on it appears much taller. The males weigh 300 grams, and female is 250-275 grams. Most Gnomes are 7 times stronger than a man, can run at speeds of 35 miles per hour, and have better sight than a hawk. Gnomes tend to live in hilly meadows and rocky woodlands. In Huygen’s book, it says they live in trees, the house itself, with a hidden entrance from another tree.
(Some versions of Erlking tales refer to his daughter as the dangerous
entity, such as in Johann Gotfried von Herder’s THE ERLKING’S DAUGHTER
(1778). According to Wikipedia: "The story portrays Sir Oluf riding to
his marriage but being entranced by the music of the elves. An elf
maiden, in Herder’s translation the Elverkonge’s daughter, appears and
invites him to dance with her. He refuses and spurns her offers of gifts
and gold. Angered, she strikes him and sends him on his way, deathly
pale. The following morning, on the day of his wedding, his bride finds
him lying dead under his scarlet cloak.“)
According to ancient Kalos folklore, Hydreigon were formed from three cursed humans. The three (a commander and two subordinates) wanted the gold of the mountains and killed the mines’ owners. The dying owners cursed them, forcing the killers to merge into one being without hands. Their greed forces them to stay in the mountains, but they can never dig for or touch the gold they murdered for.
Triglazka. A forest witch inspired by slavic folklore and tales my grandma used to tell me. She has three eyes so she can see even when she’s asleep and she will probably cook a great soup out of limbs if you meet her.
I want to read up on fairy tales, what would you recommend?
Well, first of all, just read a lot of them. And–this is crucial–read folklore from other traditions, stuff that isn’t typically called fairy tales, to give yourself a good understanding on the gut level of how fairy tales are unspecial (they’re just a particular slice of world folklore; when you get down to it it’s all the same messy preoccupations filtered through different cultural conventions, reference points, etc) and how they are special (i.e. the cultural-historical specificity of the particular stories that have ended up in this category).
But I suspect this is not what you are really asking. So: