Once upon a
time there was a gnoma, a tomta, named Iskra and a gnome, tomte,
named Oskar. They were very busy all year around. They were creating
and manufacturing a lot of Christmas gifts and they also guarded
folk´s houses. They looked after the grounds. In Sweden,
the land of the north, the gnome is called tomten after the word
for grounds, which is namely "tomten". A long time
after this fore-time the gnomes are still called tomten.
All the little tomtenissar, girl and boy gnomes of the family,
took part of the work. If they weren't occupied with playing
with all the toys that the human´s children left behind
in the corners. If the toys were broken the tomtenissar just
repaired them. Mum, Tum, Sum, Gum, Rum, Hum, Lum, Kum, Num, Fum,
Pum, Zum were their names. So many. As many as the months of
the human calendar up there in the north.
tomtenissar were such tiny little figures and somewhat fuzzy
the could be very useful. They could repair rocking-horses, clean
up in the play-house and in the nurseries. They could do a lot
of small things that were hardly to be seen, like tidying up
after the mice who lived in the attic and cellar. In the small
narrow mouse-paths and nests where the cat couldn't find the
way, the small gnome girls and boys crept gathering the trash.
Oskar and Iskra
made up the house and the garden. Windswept branches and leaves
disappeared pop! quickly just before they touched the ground.
Everybody was so busy. Imagine all the Christmas gifts that were
to be ready for Christmas. Knit, carpenter, sew napery's and
curtains. Household utensils like whips, wooden trays, riddles,
bowls and wooden toys. And how quickly it went. Iskra and Oskar
and all the children almost didn't sleep during the year. But
on Christmas second, third and fourth day they went to sleep
24 hours a day. All the other days of the year they only slept
for three hours every day. Gnomes like all other fairies get
their sleep only during the day. In the night they work. Gnomes
don't have to get as much rest as people need.
arrived all the family used to sing together their favorite song:
come with us and Santa claus
Both big and small
Christmas with love
That is what we want
But if we can´t
We get help
in a special way
cleaning up floor and stair
with garlands and flowers
Red is right
Red is bright"
in the woods not far from the people's house grew an enormous
oak. It was many hundreds years old. The tree had grown very
broad and bulging down close to the earth. Like a snails house
it looked. A little bit up the branches were bent and winding
roughly up to heaven. In the stem near ground a big hole was
seen. This stem-hole was the home of the gnomes. They had two
stories with many small rooms. Every little gnome had it's own
room and their parents had a big bedroom. The family had lived
here for hundreds of years. The family was very old, many hundred
years. Even the small gnomes were old. A gnome is not grown up
until it is about 200 years.
The tree was
a wonderful home. But once it was not too wonderful. People came
to the forest with saws and axis with the mission to cut for
timber. When they found the oak, they immediately understood
that the tree was something special. Firstly, it was impossible
to cut it, because it was too big, too voluminous. Secondly,
they heard a soft sound from the leaves. "This is a home,
this is a home, don't you dare to cut, this is earth's hat!".
listened to the language of the leaves and thought deeply about
this. They couldn't touch the tree with their saws and axis.
And this was their luck. Otherwise the gnomes had disappeared
from their home and maybe from this planet. So nowadays there
are gnomes almost everywhere. Even in the trees.
©Jenny Axvi Greifensköld 1999