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I'll tell you a tale from across the lands
About a killer with varnished hands;
So shut your windows and lock up your home,
For somewhere out there lurks a garden gnome.

It all begins in a nursery,
A quainter one could hardly be!
Sitting, waiting for a mission
Was a gnome, in mint condition.

Short and stout, with boots he stood,
Stern and static, like gnomes should.
He held a fishing rod in hand,
tall and red his hat did stand.

Fresh off the production line,
He was resting for a time
Until some shopper, passer-by
Allowed his smile to catch their eye.

Days and months and years would pass,
Snow would settle on the grass
Summer came and snow would melt,
Still he sat upon the shelf.

Waiting, wishing was that gnome
For someone to take him home.
But then someone bought that gnome,
Yes! Someone did take him home.

On a lawn he now resided,
Some would say his time he bided.
But for him his task was fair:
To give that lawn a little flair.

Daily was his duty done
Even in the scorching sun,
Even in the freezing rain
His bushy beard would hide the pain.

One fine day our gnome woke late
To find on his head an unusual weight.
Was this guilt upon his mind,
Or something of a tangible kind?

But then he heard, from on the ground,
A dreadful, ghastly dripping sound.
He knew before his eyes did see,
What that dripping sound would be.

Upon his head he could surmise
(Although it was beyond his eyes)
Was a corpse that dripped with blood,
And deafening was each drop's thud.

The way it happened, truth be told,
Was as he slept through morning's cold
The owner of that lawn had fainted
And thus with blood his hat was tainted.

In her chest his hat was lodged,
Death, it seemed, she had not dodged.
Statistics say, “most die at home”
How many are killed by a garden gnome?

So evidence was found and bagged,
Into court the gnome was dragged.
The coroner's report was taken:
“It's foul play, I'm not mistaken!”

Our garden gnome, though, was in luck;
His owner kept a pet: a duck!
The least the gnome could do was try
To get that duck to testify?

The duck was thus brought in to speak
But not one word passed from his beak.
He said “I don't care how you try,
You won't get me to testify!”

Then stepped forth the prosecution:
“I demand an execution!”
No matter how our gnome appealed,
His fate was nothing short of sealed.

The judge then brought the gavel down
And word spread quickly through the town.
The date for death already set,
It seemed gnome's fate would soon be met.

Lying in his cell at night
Gnome would dream of taking flight,
In dreams he'd fly to lands unknown
Where the seeds of doom weren't sown.

“Dead gnome walking down the Green Mile!”
Yelled the warden with a smile.
Legs and arms in cuff and chain,
Gnome did grin, was he insane?

Our gnome had realised, not too late
That death in the chair was not his fate.
His kiln-fired body, so you see
Could not conduct electricity!

To undertake his execution,
The state would try every solution.
Syringes bent, gas chambers fruitless,
Lack of neck made gallows useless!

So instead of some deadly attack,
They told him to leave and never come back;
“Now I banish you from these here lands,
So nobody else may die by your hands.”

This is why some folk are scared to leave home
For still out there somewhere is that garden gnome.
Where is he now? None can say
But maybe he'll show up one day.

Inspired by a (possibly apocryphal) story that I was told about an old woman who did die by falling onto a garden gnome.

Update:It's a distinct possibility that I dreamed that story up, since the person who I believe told me about that old woman doesn't remember it at all.

Thanks to Oolong for helping me iron out the meter in one stanza.

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