The Tiny Nisse of Yule

Tomte riding Julbocken by Lars Carlsson (1921-2002), Sweden Public Domain.

Nisse (Norway) Tonttu-Ukko (Finland) also known as Tomte in Sweden is a tiny elf or wight identified with the winter solstice & Yule season. Nisse has four fingers, has pointed ears with eyes reflecting light in the dark, like those of a cat. Nisse may accompany the Júlbock/Yule goat. The Nisse enjoy morphing into large folks when needed.

These tiny elves or ancestral spirits once held the special status of the soul of the first dweller of a farm. They would aid in clearing the property while living under mounds. Tonttu-Ukko and Nisse would evoke good fortune to the property owner. The Tomte of Sweden are known to ride the Yule goat called Julbocken during Yule delivering gifts to children. They are mythological creatures from Nordic folklore today typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season.

Source & References:

  •  John Bauer, (1912) Featured illustration Julbocken Wikimedia in the public domain.
  • German and Scandinavian Legendary Creatures: Elf, Troll, Tomte, Jörmungandr, etc. LLC Books 2010
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