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|Source: The Book Of Imaginary Beings||Editor:
The Gnomes are older than their name, which is Greek but which was unknown to the Ancients, since it dates from the sixteenth century. Etymologists attribute it to the Swiss alchemist Paracelsus in whose writings it appears for the first time.
They are Sprites of the earth and hills. Popular imagination pictures them as bearded dwarves of rough and grotesque features; they wear tight fitting brown clothes with monastic hoods. Like the griffons of Greece and of the East and the dragons of Germanic lore, the Gnomes watch over hidden treasure.
Gnosis, in Greek, means knowledge; and Paracelsus may have called them Gnomes because they know the exact places where precious metals are to be found.
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