Question #8323. Asked by sandy.
Last updated Sep 06 2016.
Like the brownie, the tomte or nisse needed gifts, but this gift was a bowl of porridge or rice pudding on Christmas night. If he wasn't given his payment, he would leave the farm or house which couldn't survive without his nightly chores, or engage in mischief, such as tying the cows' tails together in the barn, turning objects upside-down, and breaking things.
Denmark -- A Danish Tomten was my choice. On a trip to Denmark I learned that a Tomten is a Danish elf who lives secretly in the barn. If the farmer offers him porridge, the Tomten helps things along on the farm. But if the farmer ignores the little elf, things go mysteriously wrong!
Norway -- Christmas Eve dinner begins with rice porridge which contains one lucky almond. A bowl is also set out for the barn elf so that he will continue to watch over the animals and not turn mischievous