| "The Garden Gnome Freedom Front" by Laura Frankos |
Fantasy set in OTL
|Type of Appearance:||Contemporary and posthumous references|
|Date of Birth:||20th century|
|Date of Death:||1996|
|Cause of Death:||Natural causes|
|Military branch:||United States Army (World War II)|
Sven Faelling was an American veteran of World War II. By the time of the Normandy Invasion, Faelling was a sergeant. While Faelling was leading his patrol through the town of Saint-Clément, Normandy, a shot rang out. The shooter turned out to be a German sniper who had mistaken a decorative garden gnome for an American, and had fired prematurely, thus forfeiting the advantage of surprise. Faelling realized that the silly toy had saved the lives of all his men, and discussed this with the woman who owned the garden. She promised to mail the gnome "Otto" to Faelling when the war was over, and had Faelling write his information on the sole of Otto's foot, but for unknown reasons never delivered.
Faelling survived the war and returned home, living a long, contented life. By the 1990s, it was apparent that he had not much longer to live, so he settled into a veteran's hospital in California. In September 1996, Alizon Riand, Raquel Guibert, and Becca Milleron, young residents of Saint-Clément, had found Otto the gnome with Faelling's inscription, and learned via the Internet that Sgt. Faelling was still alive. They mailed Otto to the hospital in California, and Otto lived in Faelling's room for three weeks until the old soldier died in October. Faelling's wife then kept Otto in her garden, and Faelling's son sent a letter to the three French women, thanking them for this last gift.