The Return of the Gnome King – #Tanka Tuesday

The actual gnome tree. About 9′ around.

A Haibun/tanka for Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge. We had to use synonyms for Spring (newborn) and Song (squawk). Okay, maybe a stretch, but here goes:

The Return of the Gnome King

(A True Story)

The Dragon Wood awakens with the returning light. Our meadow greens beneath winter’s withered grass, and spears of horsetail stand at attention, stalwart sentinels lining our path. They await the guardian snails whose slimy pilgrimage to the gnome tree is a slow one. Deer twitch their ears, alert for the gnome king’s return.

We fear not the witch in her uprooted stump. Rusty barbed wire holds her captive, and her mosquito hordes still slumber. Instead, we pause in awe to listen to newborn dragons skritch and squawk from the hollow stumps of ancient firs, this year’s fledglings still too young to fly. We’ll seek them among the moss-wrapped alders when spring’s marsh has dried, but now, other duties demand our attention. With our magic sticks, we must dig for treasure around the gnome tree’s roots.

I stand on the summoning-rock at the edge of the bog. An orange salamander gazes up, eager for my call. “Oh, mighty gnomes,” my voice soars into the forest. “Spring is upon us, and the gnome king has returned. Emerge from your winter home with gold and gems. For many months, the king has protected you and the creatures of the forest. His promise was kept. It is time to pay him tribute. Oh, mighty gnomes, heed my call.”

The gnome king nods his approval. “That was a good one, Grammy.”

“Thank you, my King.”

Dream, my little child
Of dragons, gnomes, and kingdoms
Treasure and witches
Forgive your silly grownups’
Misplaced imaginations

91 thoughts on “The Return of the Gnome King – #Tanka Tuesday

  1. Fabulous, as always. Loved this, Diana, both the story and the poem. :).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this, Diana! It sounds like you and Tornado Boy have some wonderful adventures! There’s nothing quite like the woods in their fresh spring greens, before everything grows wild. So glad Spring is here!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sarah says:

    Oh, and I loved the guardian snails!! 😄🐌

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah says:

    Aww – this is so lovely and beautiful, Diana! The Gnome King is lucky to have such a grandma!! 😄 This reminded me of my childhood games when I also went looking for fairies and dragons – would love to go back there sometime. 😄❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Sarah. It sounds like you can relate to the joys of imagination. I’m thinking we might build fairy houses in the woods this summer too. I’m keeping the fantasy running at full speed as long as I can. Thanks so much for the visit. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I kept wondering how this could be a true story, but you let me in on it with ‘That was a good one, Grammy.’ The Gnome King is a lucky boy. Your Tanka is a stunning reminder to us grownups to tune in to imagination even if vicariously through the children in our lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Molly. The gnome king will be turning six this summer, and pretty soon he’s going to be taught what adults think is real and imaginary. He’ll learn that he’s not the gnome king, but I hope he continues to be open to the possibilities in the invisible world. That’s Grammy’s mission! Lol. Have a wonderful Friday and weekend. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is so magical to see children’s belief in possibilities we’ve long abandoned as adults. We had our two grandsons with us for St. Patrick’s Day and Cameron (7 yo) built a Leprechaun trap with a sign that said, “Pot of gold at the bottom. Seriously.” In the morning he and Maxwell (5 yo) were disappointed to find they had not caught a leprechaun but delighted to see the little fella had left his green undies behind, along with lots of mischievous deeds!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Beautiful descriptive writing

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jennie says:

    Wonderful, Diana. You and Tornado Boy had a big adventure. Salamanders! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lyn Horner says:

    Fun story! I’d like to meet the gnome king.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This has a wonderful message about imaginations. I too fear without them, so many treasures will be lost and forgotten – and that gnome king will be stuck with all that loot forever. Your prose reveal details in such a fluid manner that it is so easy to be hooked. And I also really liked this poem, you gave it just the right amount of wit while maintaining such good flow. Awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Ethan, for the lovely comment. I feel sad when kids stop believing in magic and the possibilities that exist in the invisible world. I’ll extend our adventures for as many years as I can. The gnome king likes his loot, so he’s not in a hurry to stop believing. 🙂 Thanks for the visit and Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love this…what a sweet story, I can see big eyes as the gnome king snuggles!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. dgkaye says:

    Fabulous story and lead up to the poem. I can’t help thinking you’re Grammy and were relating to Tornado boy lol 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Haha, you must be the coolest ‘grammy’… but you really have salamanders around?? I truly thought they only existed in made-up fairy worlds… wait a minute… 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Dawn D says:

    Oh Diana! Such a lovely story! I was here with you and Tornado child 😉
    It reminds me of a similar experience, though in the Fall, with school children on a field trip. We were on the hunt for dinosaur nests 😀
    https://wordpress.com/post/dawnsnight.wordpress.com/1872
    Maybe you remember… we’d had an exchange, around pictures of moss…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Dawn. It’s easy to get kids’ imaginations charged up, isn’t it? That’s so cool that you were hunting dinosaur nests. Ha ha. The link didn’t work, but that’s okay. I remember. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Dawn D says:

    Ok, I’ll go back to read it, but… thank you for expanding my vocabulary a little bit more tonight. I didn’t know what horsetail is. I looked it up. Now… I know exactly what it is 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is amazing Diana, I love this so much! xo

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Vashti Q says:

    I love it, Diana! Beautiful Haibun/Tanka. What a cute surprise at the end. The imagery is fantastic! ❤ xo

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Diana!! Your imagery is outstanding! I absolutely love this! (can you tell lol). ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  18. delphini510 says:

    Magic, imagination, dreams are all so important in the lives of both
    grown ups and children. I love the story and the poem.

    miriam

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Violet Lentz says:

    You’ve got some seriously lucky grandchildren in the making, D… whew! I’m in awe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Violet. There’s only one, so he gets the magic treatment! We spend half a day preparing for his visits, knowing that someday it will end and we’ll move on to tree forts and fishing. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. 🙂

      Like

  20. areilly88 says:

    Magical storytelling. What a precious gift to offer your grandson, more valuable than the other jewels you might unearth at the base of the gnome tree 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Amanda. The rainbow gems are highly prized as are magic artifacts. Fortunately the gnome king hasn’t figured out that the same ones get reburied over and over again. 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed the poem. Have a magical day!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. memadtwo says:

    Dreaming is free…(K)

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Oh, I love this! It brings back fond memories of a silly faerie story I once read on stage and had published in a literary journal, except she was calling Fall to come. 🙂 Great job – so fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. This is so imaginative and creative, Diana. Very enjoyable.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Loved it all- especially the ending! Grandma hasn’t forgotten her imagination 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  25. Reblogged this on Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author and commented:
    A fantastic voyage into the imagination with D. Wallace Peach!

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Superb! Thoroughly enjoy reading it!❤️🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Teri Polen says:

    Hope you and the Gnome King continue your adventures, Diana – adorable!

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Thanks Diana. A wonderful introduction to Spring. You are blessed with a creative imagination. You are an eloquent grammy in your story telling.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Jina Bazzar says:

    Sweet and creative as ever. I want to meet the gnome king!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Wow. I bow to you and the Gnome king! Fun story and great tanka Diana.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Mae Clair says:

    That is adorable! I love it!!

    Liked by 3 people

  32. Khaya Ronkainen says:

    Wow, Love it! Your writing conjures up beautiful imagery.
    And in keeping with using synonyms for Spring… Here’s to a feast of blossom in your garden! 😀

    Liked by 4 people

  33. Aww, this is a sweet tribute to spring and young people’s imaginations. And such lyrical language!

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Beautiful piece!
    “An orange salamander gazes up” What an unbelievable imagine.

    Liked by 2 people

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