A Swedish Tomte is a beloved folklore being that people very much cared and were respectful of.
It was believed that the “hus tomte”, house gnome , would take up residence under the barn and protect the farmers family and its livestock from any danger or misfortunes. Especially at night when the house folks were asleep. In return the farmer had to take good care of the farm and treat the tomte with respect. If not the tomte could get upset and play tricks on the farmer such as tying the cows tails together at night, make sure the milk spilled while milking or even leave.
The tomte was friendly with all the animals on and around the farm particularly the horses who he would tend a little extra to, brushing and braiding their main. He was hardly even seen, at least not by the adults. He had just as with the animals a special connection with the children on the farm who would be able to see him now and then while he hurried from one chore to the next.
The tomte did not ask for much, but a large bowl of porridge with butter on for Christmas eve.