Unpacking The Legend of the Penny Gnomes

Yesterday I returned to my first attempt at a novel. It’s a satirical fantasy, with nods to both Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde. The opening chapter will, I hope, one day be reworked for an illustrated children’s book. This is why the point of view character is so young — probably about the age my kids were when I first began working on this story. There will be much to unpack in future sections, and I’m really looking forward to exploring this world with you all, but there’s only one thing worth unpacking with you today.

Where the heck did Penny Gnomes come from?

They actually sprang into existence during my sophomore year in college. One evening I went up to pick up my girlfriend 1 for a date, only to find her frantically looking around her dorm room for something.

I have no recollection of what she was looking for, but I remember her spotting something on the floor and rushing over to pick it up.

“Where did this penny come from?” She said as she held it up.

It was, indeed, a shiny new penny. My girlfriend quickly shoved it in her pocket and returned to searching her room for the missing item. Rather than joining her in searching I blurted out, “I think the Penny Gnomes got it.”

“What?” she said, looking up at me as though I’d declared I was carrying a two ton elephant on my back.

“The Penny Gnomes, they like to go on shopping sprees. So any time you discover something missing in your room, but find some pennies left behind, it’s probably the Penny Gnomes.”

So that’s where the Penny Gnomes came from. And she still married me, which continues to boggle my mind.


  1. Who now happens to be my wife. 
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