Gnome stories (cont’)

Just as the girls were ready to set off with Gnome Minus Takeway to look for the gemstones, a rather plump gnome dressed all in green came bounding into the room. Like Gnome Share and Gnome Minus, this gnome wore big black boots with big soles. He had a reddish brown beard, brown sparkling eyes and a thick brown belt around his waist. On his belt hung an embroidered bag with a symbol on it, one that was different than the symbols worn by Gnome Share and Gnome Minus.

“Oh, hello Gnome Add!” said Gnome Minus “This is Phaedra, and her sister Adira. We were just about to go off hunting for seven stones that I lost on my way to the Treasure Room. They fell through the holes in my pockets.”

“No need, no need . . . “ said the fat gnome “I’ve got them right here! “ and as he showed the girls the seven gems in his left hand he shook Phaedra’s hand with his right. “Good to meet you. So very good to meet you!”

“I’m Gnome Add. When jewels arrive from the mines, I count them up. Today, as I was coming from the mines I noticed an emerald stone lying on the path. I bent to pick it up and discovered another that had fallen a short distance beyond it, a blue sapphire. As I gathered the stones I began to count. A green emerald . . . one, a blue sapphire, two. I continued walking along the path and collecting fallen gems as I walked. A lemon quartz . . . three, a peridot. . . four, an aquamarine . . . . five, a ruby . . . six and a citrine . . . seven. Seven in all. These surely must be the gemstones that you lost Minus.”

“Yes, yes, they surely must be!” said Minus blushing as he took the jewels from his friend.

“Gnome Add sir, you mentioned that you count the gemstones that arrive from the mines. Do tell us about your work please.” Phaedra said.

“Gladly, I will” said Gnome Add “As you have probably already noticed, the mine ponies bring the jewel stones up from the mines in large sacks that they carry on their backs. They love to walk the wide breezy tunnels, rustling their long pretty tails and shaking their thick long manes. I know the ponies have arrived when I hear them laugh and whinny, and then I bring out shiny red apples for the ponies to eat. They crunch happily while I carry the jewel sacks into the Treasure Room to count up the gems. Then the ponies have a nice long drink of fresh water from the spring that bubbles at the open cave doorway and trot willingly back down the tunnel paths to fetch more jewels. Meanwhile, I take the jewel sacks to the table and open them carefully. Each sack contains a certain number of gems. It’s up to me to count the gemstones. I do this by first counting the number of gems in each sack and then adding the numbers together. Here, I’ll show you.”

Gnome Add bent down and picked up three sacks of jewels. The first sack he counted with the girls. It contained three gemstones. Then they counted the jewels in the second sack. It contained five jewels. The last sack was then counted. It had four jewels in it. Gnome Add then showed the girls how to add up the numbers. “Three added to five gives us eight jewels. Four added to eight gives us twelve. Let’s count them all up to see if we are correct. Gnome Add let the girls count the entire pile of jewels. “Yes, there are twelve all together! But Gnome Add, what do you do with all of these jewels once you have counted them?”

“That my dear girls is up to the others. It is my job to gather the gemstones, to count them. I let Gnome Share distribute them among the people of Numeria. I just love collecting them!”


Gnome Add saves all that he can find
And gathers the gem sacks too.
He adds the jewels together
And says “Collecting is what I do!”


Phaedra and Adira passed several days in the company of Gnome Add. They enjoyed counting gemstones with the jolly gnome and adding them up. One day late in the afternoon, Gnome Add and the girls had just finished counting a large pile containing thirty jewels. Gnome Share then divided the thirty jewels into piles of five. There were six piles in all. Everyone felt satisfied to see the gems lying on the ground in neat piles.

“Let us record this last delivery of gems and then go to the banquet hall for dinner.” Gnome Add said as he opened a large golden record book. But the round gnome dressed all in green stood in front of the record book, his pen raised above its pages, with a blank expression on his face. “I can’t remember how many there are!” he said. “How in heaven’s name can I forget a thing like that! Do you remember?” he said turning to his companions. But Phaedra, Adira and Gnome Share all looked at each other in disbelief. They too had forgotten how many jewels there were.

“Now we shall have to start all over again counting and adding until we have the number.” said Gnome Add. The girls looked at him disappointedly. They were hungry and needed to have a rest. “I simply do not know what else to do! We cannot leave these jewels unaccounted for. We must finish our work before we eat.” Gnome Share saw the expressions on the girls’ faces. He knew the last thing everyone wanted to do was to recount all the stones. “I have an idea!” Gnome Share said “Let us call Gnome Times! He will help us to re-count the gemstones quickly.”

So Gnome Times was summoned and before the girls could even sit down to wait, the speedy gnome entered the room. He was a large gnome with a round belly like Gnome Add, but he was light on his feet in a way that the others were not. He was dressed all in yellow, with big black boots. His green eyes sparkled and his beard was as grey as a November sky. On his brown belt he wore an embroidered pouch, just like that worn by Gnome Share, but with a different and unique symbol.

“You called for me?” Gnome Times said as he made his way toward his friends. “Oh, Gnome Times, how good of you to come. These are our friends, Phaedra and Adira. They have been helping us to add and divide the jewels in the Treasure Room. A very unlikely thing has occurred. We just spent an hour counting and adding the latest delivery of gemstones, after which Gnome Share divided them into six piles of five to be distributed to the good people of Numeria tomorrow. But I’m afraid that none of us can remember how many were in the delivery. It seems almost impossible, but we have all forgotten the count! Can you help us so that we do not have to start from the very beginning again?”

“Certainly, I can!” said Gnome Times. “Let’s see, six piles of five. We can count by five, six times. Here we go! Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty. There are thirty gemstones in the last delivery of the day. Now you can account for it in the golden record book and we can all go to dinner!”

“Hurray! To the banquet room!” they all cried. Everyone was grateful — Gnome Times had saved the day.


Gnome Times knows quite well
That two times two makes four
He always likes to multiply
Of that he is quite sure.



Phaedra and Adira were homesick. Many moons had passed since the day they had followed the rabbit in the meadow. Their adventures with Cipher were exciting and wonderful. They had learned so many things about numbers. And now the time spent with the Gnomes was full of interesting adventures. They were discovering how fun numbers could be. They didn’t want to leave, but they missed their mother and father.

Before they went through the doors to Numeria, Cipher had told them that once they entered Numeria they would gain the power to return to their home whenever they desired, and that they would always have access to the Land of Numeria. They would be able to return at any time just by speaking the words “I desire to know the mystery of numbers.” Knowing this, they decided to go home. Afterall, they reasoned, they could return whenever they wanted.

So the two girls told the Gnomes. “Gnome Share, Gnome Minus, Gnome Add and Gnome Times, Adira and I have decided to go home for awhile. We miss our family and while we have so enjoyed meeting the four of you and being in your company, we are homesick. The good news is that we will return to Numeria soon and when we do you can teach us many more wonderful things about numbers.”

“Well,” said Gnome Share “we shall miss you while you are gone. But we will continue our work in the Treasure Room and wait patiently for your return.”

“But you must take provisions with you on your journey.” Said Gnome Times. “Something to nourish you after all your hard work. . . What could we give them Gnome Add?”

“How about the apples that we give to the mine ponies!” said Gnome Add. “We have lots of them”

“How many do we have?” said Gnome Times

“I don’t know,” said Gnome Add “Let me count them up.” On the ground in front of Gnome Add were three piles of apples. One pile had ten apples, a second pile had ten and a third pile had four. Gnome Add began to add the piles together. “Ten added to ten added to four is twenty-four.” Said Gnome Add

“OK.” said Gnome Share “Let me divide them between the two girls.” The generous gnome began to divide the apples. When he finished, each girl had twelve apples.”

“Wait,” laughed Phaedra “We can’t possibly carry this many. I think we should only need two apples each.”

“Then we must take away ten apples from Phaedra and ten apples from Adira.” Said Gnome Minus Takeway

“What shall we do with the rest?” said Gnome Add “Count them?”
Gnome Times said “No, we needn’t count them. We can just multiply! Two times ten equals twenty. We have twenty left. And those will stay here for the ponies.

After the gnomes had gathered other provisions for the girls and said their goodbyes, Phaedra and Adira left the Treasure Room and retraced their steps through the tunnels and out the little door. They were on their way home. But how exactly would they get there?