A crisply beautiful, mythical and symbolic story of the final voyage of the oldest member of the tribe of Root Gnomes.
The tribe of the Root Gnomes lives in the depths of the forest, where the birches, covered with lichen, spread their branches. They live in caves underground, ceilinged by the roots. One night late in the fall, the oldest gnome summons his tribe to say farewell before departing his final voyage. “Where are you going?” “Why?” “When?” “Very soon,” the elder answers, and early the next morning, when the others are still sleeping, he leaves.
During the voyage he sees a birch tree so ancient that sap no longer flows in tis veins. Yet at the foot of his tree, a sapling struggles upward in search of sunlight. He also comes to the bank of a deep forest pond, where he falls asleep – when he awakes, he sees that the pond has frozen and snow has fallen, blanketing the forest with white. A wolf follows him, but he is not afraid. And without hesitation he accepts a great moose’s invitation to sit on its horns. “I have come to bring you there,” the moose says.
When he gets there, the gnome meets a ray of light who invites him to enter her kingdom. The gnome finally understands the purpose of his voyage.
The Gnome’s Last Voyage is a crisply beautiful, mythical and symbolic story about moving from this life to the one beyond. In the story, death is part of nature’s cycle. It must be accepted. Surojegin doesn’t preach, nor does she over-dramatize the matter. Death is a subject that every child wonders about. Surojegin deals with it beautifully and naturally in fairy-tale form.
Surojegin’s illustrations breathe with the harmony of nature, fairy-tale enchantment and the deep colours of the Finnish forest. The sympathetic appearance of the Root Gnomes will especially appeal to children.