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  • Marie-Carla Rekate & Lara Inderst

Jan Salamander wins again!

Once upon a time, there were three gnomes. The oldest and dumbest of the three was Herbert. He had extremely bushy eyebrows, poor eyesight, and an obsession with collecting rare hats.


The second gnome was Leon, the only Italian gnome. He had strong feelings for a certain tree and baked it his famous blueberry pie every day. His pies were his pride and joy.


The final gnome, Mateo had no particular talents. He was the youngest and tallest. The only special thing about him were his abnormally large that caused him to become very vain.


One day, Leon got an invitation to the famous baking competition of all the kingdoms in the land. Herbert and Mateo instantly offered to come with him to cheer him on. They set off, all carrying heavy ingredients, pots, and pans. After a short while, Herbert started to complain:

“My arms hurt, the pots are too heavy, and I can’t see because of my eyebrows.”

Suddenly, a mysterious voice came out of the shadows.

“I can help you!” Said the voice deeply.

“Who are you?” asked the three gnomes in unison.

“My name is Jan Salamander. You have a long journey ahead of you. Would you care to trade something for this fast-racing snail?

“Don’t do it!” said Leon.

“Jan is a well-known thief; he probably stole it.”

But Herbert wasn’t listening, he traded his favourite hat in exchange for the snail and sped off. Little did he know Leon’s top-secret recipe was hidden in that hat.

Herbert raced off with the snail and left Leon and Mateo on their long, treacherous walk. After a while, the two gnomes became exhausted. Mateo started complaining too:

“My feet are sore and hurt, I need a pedicure. My feet can’t go without intensive care for this long!”

Out of nowhere, Jan Salamander appeared.

“I can help you!” He muttered.

“I own a pedicure shop just around the corner.”

“Don’t leave too!” exclaimed Leon.

“I’m sure he’s lying, that’s what he’s known for.”

But it was too late, Mateo had made his mind up. He let his vanity take over and left Leon with the promise to meet him at the competition.

From that point onwards, Leon travelled across mountains and deserts carrying heavy pots and pans without any help in sight. After days of travel, he finally arrived at the competition, but his brothers were nowhere to be found. Devastated, he asked the all-knowing woodpecker what had happened to them.

“The oldest, Herbert was put in jail for stealing a racing snail and Mateo is in hospital due to a severe foot fungus that was caused by Jan Salamander’s strange foot mask.”

Devastated Leon broke down and cursed his brothers' laziness and vanity, which had cost him his baking future.

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