Animals and creatures of Christmas, Nisse

Cartoon,imagination,writing,drawing,illustrations,The ant king and Heffanutt, Christmas traditions, The ant king and Heffanutt

nissen.jpgThe Nisse, Santa Clauses much older cousin.

The Nisse was often imagined as a small, elderly man, no taller than 90 cm (35 in), with a full beard often dressed a pull-over woollen tunic sometimes belted at the waist and knee breeches with stockings and a conical red cap. The Nisse is an echo of an ancient ancestral cult. He was sometimes seen as the farmer who cleared the forest to build the farm and who in pre-Christian times would have been buried on the farm in a mound. He was referred to as the Haugkall or Haugbonde, from the Old Norse haugr meaning mound.

According to tradition, the Nisse lives in the houses and barns of the farmstead, and secretly act as their guardian. If treated well, they protect the family and animals from evil and misfortune, and may also aid the chores and farm work. In return, he demanded peace and quiet at night, and that the farmer and his family respected him and followed the norms of their relationship. Last but not least, he demanded a large bowl of porridge with a little butter on top at Christmas night.  A Nisse could also take a ship for his home and was then known as a Skipsnisse. Despite his small size, the Nisse possessed immense strength and could sometimes use magic.

However, they are known to be short-tempered, he was easily offended by careless lack of proper respect and lazy farmers. Once insulted, they will usually play tricks, steal items and even maim or kill livestock.  If a Nisse gets really angry he could bring misfortune on the farm for years and years to come.


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