History of the Tomte
The Tomte is one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore. From the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson, to the Tomten poem by Viktor Rydberg, to the artwork of Jenny Nystrom, the tomte/nisse is in so many ways a part of the Scandinavian mythological soul. The tomte was considered to be the very first inhabitor of the farm and helped care for the farm animals and assisted with the general welfare of the farm.
The Tomte was an honest fellow. He has been depicted as a very small person with a long beard and dressed as a farmer. Although small in stature, he is not weak and his caring spirit and worthiness was believed to help protect house and home.
Read more about the legend of the Tomte here: