springtime again and you know what that means time
for gnoming! Crafty and fast, gnomes are one of the season's
most challenging catches.
the gnomish population has dropped slightly in recent years,
seasoned hunters should take this as an incentive to bag
the gnome rather than a deterrent. Gnomes are more of a
nuisance than a help to the modern farmer. They befriend
woodland creatures and invite them into the field and garden
to eat freely of the farmer's bounty. Their burrows undermine
the forest, creating nasty traps for the foot of the horse
or the heavy brother-in-law. If anyone needs a further reason
why we should take up arms against these diminutive devils,
consider the wonderfully dark, earthy taste of gnomish meat.
A dish combining mushrooms, beef gravy, and gnome is surely
one of the greatest pleasures of spring.
intelligent gnomer should outfit himself with the proper
equipment. Stealth is key when tracking gnomes, so first
priority is to get yourself a pair of quiet shoes. Gnomes
gravitate toward temperate climates and wooded habitats,
shunning swamps, so you needed bother with those hip waders.
Wear drab-colored clothing which reflects the terrain on
which you will be hunting. Dull browns and greens usually
do the trick.
your weapon carefully. Because your prey stands no higher
than one cubit at its tallest, it's easy to overestimate
your firepower. This can be a grave mistake, leaving you
with a weapon that would blast this tasty fairy into so
much pixie dust. Look for a powerful slingshot (for the
sly hunter), a potent club (for the quick brute), or a precise
crossbow (for the patient woodsman). Rifles are categorically
out of the question at least for beginners
but as I will explain later, a good marksman can bag a gnome
with a rifle and not even pierce the malignant creature's
skin. Another useful piece of equipment is the elephant
gun, for reasons that are to be discussed shortly.
parties are best limited to two, or to one hunter and a
good hound. Station yourself near the gnome's house, which
you will recognize by its location entwined in the roots
of a large oak tree. Look for miniscule woodworks (the gnome's
trade) littering the front lawn. Dawn and dusk are the best
hours for gnoming, as it is just before sunrise that the
gnome leaves his house to go to the woodshop and nightfall
when he returns.
have an olfactory sense almost as sharp as their joining
skills, so the successful gnomer will take care to smear
his skin and clothing with generous amounts of les scents
de la foret, as the French would have it. Mix elderberries,
trufflemud, and elk droppings to make a thick paste and
rub it on yourself and any weapons you have brought. This
will optimize your chance of evading the gnome's keen nostrils.
day and night are at their inbetweenest, that is when you,
the wisest gnomer of the wood, smeared in elderberry paste
and sling at the ready, will observe the telltale sign of
the gnome as he saunters down his forest path. That sign
is none other than the gnome's red hat. Each gnome wears
his conical red cap in all periods of wakefulness and sleep.
It is that selfsame cap that will prove to be our antagonist's
undoing, as it shines a bright red beacon down onto his
well-placed stone or crossbow bolt will knock the life out
of any healthy gnome. Take your shot carefully. You will
want to aim for the creature's head. Hit hard, though, because
the gnome's cranium is thick, hence the popular usage of
gnomeskull to indicate a person of low wits.
rifle-wielding sharpshooter must follow a different technique,
because any bullet that hits a gnome will take more gnome
than not. No use spending all your time smearing elk spoor
if all you've got to show for your trouble is a mangled
pulp of a fairy that might as well be a woodchuck! No, the
sharpshooter's technique is subtle, efficient, and more
useful than any well-placed hit. This technique is known
as the concussion shot, and is the preferred
method of this author.
concussion shot may be taken at a treed gnome. Although
treeing a gnome may seem like a lot of work, the trouble
is definitely rewarding, as a gnome bagged live via concussion
is certainly more valuable than a dead one. Gnomes are excellent
climbers. Forced to choose between the hound's jaw and the
oak's branches, every gnome will pick the latter. Because
gnomish bellies are fat and gnomish arms short, a treed
gnome will lie flat and still against the trunk, gripping
the bark tightly with its fat little fingers. Take your
opportunity here. Fire just to one side of the gnome's head,
hitting the tree. Even a strong gnome will fall immediately
and can be collected and bagged after it hits the ground.
This technique can be used against squirrels and other small
creatures and will kill them. The gnome's fortitude is more
stable, however, and our prey is merely knocked out by the
bullet's reverberating impact in the tree and then its skull.
The fall shouldn't break any of the gnome's sturdy bones.
Death does a double-take and leaves the gnome to its own
aching, unconscious head.
course, the results of a botched concussion shot can be
disastrous. If your aim has been tainted by a few early
morning scotches and you actually score a bullet to the
gnome's skull, then no gnome. Too far to either side of
the gnome's head and your shot will miss the tree, possibly
connecting with another member of your gnoming party. Depending
on how your season is going, it's conceivably better to
hit your partner, as any partaker of gnomish meat will attest.
bagged, gnomes need to be stored if they are not to be served
for that night's dinner. Dead gnomes can be kept in a salted
barrel (for temporary storage) or deep freeze (for thawing
later in the year). Keeping live gnomes is trickier. Hurry
home with your catch before it comes to from the concussion
shot. Many a gnomer has shaken his head in dismay after
his perfect catch woke up and slipped out of the bag using
evil magic. Gnomes are keen riddlers and may use their trickery
to bargain the unwitting sharpshooter into letting the gnome
be fooled. Get your gnome home and shackle it in the cellar
before the creature opens its deceitful eyes. Small iron
bands and chains will keep the gnome from using any magic,
let alone digging its way out of its prison of stone. If
you have been fortunate enough to catch a flock of gnomes,
or are slowly amassing a collection, a damp barrel with
a removable lid may be a more convenient storage method.
Feed the gnomes radishes and beer and they will remain docile,
no matter how many of them you cram into the barrel.
TROUBLE OF TROLLS
No gnomer should go afield without the knowledge that Modern
Man is not the only enemy of the gnome. As the gnomish population
has decreased, the danger posed to man from our villain's
natural predator has increased. A single troll is more of
a nuisance than twenty gnomes, but seeing as how a single
troll is also stronger than twenty men and offers not one
scrap of tasty meat, trolling is just not much
fun compared to gnoming. However, the problem remains and
deal with it the modern gnomer must.
are extremely sensitive to sunlight, a single ray turning
them to stone. Most retire hours before sunrise. Therefore,
the easiest way to avoid trolls is to opt for the dawn method
of gnoming rather than the dusk. Eventually, though, most
gnomers will find themselves gnoming at night and a little
knowledge of trolls can never hurt.
trolls can be smelt before they are seen. The odor of a
mature troll is strong enough to pierce the thickest coat
of elderberry paste. No need to go into specifics here
when the hunter smells his first troll, he recognizes it
stench, paired with the trolls utter lack of coordination
or silent movement skills in the forest, make it impossible
for this engine of destruction to sneak up on a human. Unfortunately,
without an elephant gun, most slow-witted humans are doomed
once they smell the troll. This is why the intelligent gnomer
always has his cannon at the ready. The troll is a quick
runner but slow to react when an elephant gun is pulled
on him. As with gnomes, aim for the head. Hit anywhere else
and you'll be eating your own leg as a late-night snack.
are also easily dispatched with a difficult
riddle. This is one I used when Id forgotten my elephant
gun: If one train leaves Kensington Station at 3am and another
leaves Yarborough Station at 4am, and both trains cross
paths at 5am, at what time did the trains cross paths? Something
along these lines will cause the troll to stop whatever
he is doing and sit to ponder the riddle until the weight
of thought causes his head to explode. Stand clear, mate.
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