Within a large roundabout on the edge of town, there was a pond. In the middle of Roundabout Pond was an empty wooden duck house. The road had been built around the watery island instead of through it, to preserve the peace found within its circle. On the grassy banks on the edge of the pond, flowerbeds bloomed by the paved roadside.
George was a gnome who lived in the wooden stilted duck house and cared for the flowerbeds on his roundabout in Sit-Town. Nobody paid him any attention, cars drove around him making him feel dizzy, and although he had a bench on his patch, hardly anyone wanted to watch cars go by. Still, George enjoyed filling his bucket from the pond and watering the flowers he’d planted around it. He would uproot the odd weed if they intruded, and he liked to watch the stars at night that circled with the path of the pavement. There was only one person who, when crossing the road to skim stones on the pond, would sit on the bench for a while. George would loiter around the feet of the bench, hoping one day to be noticed. To the tatty old gnome, she was the most beautiful princess he’d ever seen.
One day, she dropped something and whilst bending down to pick it up, she looked at George right in the face. Her crown fell from her head. ‘She really is a princess,’ George thought. Princess Molly reached out and picked George up. ‘Why hadn’t she seen him before?’ she thought.
Carrying the gnome home to her castle, George was scared, but also pleased. He was soon cleaned up and gleaming, looking better than he ever had before.
Princess Molly placed her gnome on the table and with her head in her hand, looked at him, deep in thought about where to re-home him. Staring out of her window at the traffic Island, the few flowers that grew on it were wilting and looking as though they would dry up. The roundabout didn’t seem like a good place for him – there was hardly anything there and the endless traffic would just make him grubby again. As she spoke her thoughts out loud, she looked into the face of her statuette and noticed something. He looked sad and she thought she saw a tear run down his cheek.
‘I will put him back on the traffic Island then!’ she said.
George’s face seemed less sad, somehow.
‘And I’ll visit you often!’ she exclaimed, with a smile.
George looked positively cheerful.
George was placed on the highest grassy bank surrounding the pond on the roundabout where he could be seen. The flowers curiously perked up again over the next few days and the gnome gleamed in the sun. This gave the princess much food for thought, and then she made one of her big decisions! (After all, she was the Princess.)
She liked the gnome on the roundabout, but it didn’t seem fair that he was so isolated and confined. She ordered the traffic Island to be enlarged and the traffic itself to be diverted to somewhere else, harmlessy. The area was pedestrianised and all sorts of beautiful flowers and shrubs were planted out.
The ducks even returned to the Island of their own accord now that it was safe to cross the road, and nature flourished again. George merrily built himself his ideal log cabin, so the ducks could move back into their pond house.
The little gnome was in heaven, with all the animals back on his patch there was so much to see and do. All the plants were thriving, the pond water was cleaned and he even created himself the gnomish vegetable patch of his dreams. Princess Molly was overjoyed at the wonderful world she’d helped to re-build and ate her sandwiches with George every day and they all lived happily ever after.