The Farm Nisse

A “Nisse” is the name for a small humanlike creature. He is not exactly an elf or a dwarf.  The Farm Nisse and his family dwells mainly in barns, stables and stalls, but he also inhabits lofts and attics –so long as they are not too tidy.

The Farm Nisse is kind and helpful.  He takes care of people and animals all year round. It is very important to be on good terms with the Farm Nisse, otherwise strange incidents can occur on the farm.  It is wise to remember the Nisse during Christmas and to put a bowl of porridge for him and his family.  There is even a Norwegian Christmas song about the rats that are trying to steal his Christmas porridge called "På låven sitter Nissen med sin Julegrøt" (In the barn the Nisse is sitting with his Christmas porridge).




The Nisse.

(by Thor and Joan Dahl)


Nisser are some small Elf type "Santa Claus looking" cute creatures. According to the Norwegian folklore, a Nisse is wearing a red knitted cap and has long beard. He is possibly the best known creature in Norwegian folklore. Even today, some people believe that he exists. From Norwegian rural areas there are lots of legends about his life and his duties. I have seen serious "normal" people claiming that they have seen Nisser and their footsteps in the snow! The farmers believe that having a Nisse living in their barns will bring them luck and good harvests. If they are so lucky having a Nisse, they prepare food for him, especially at Christmas time and place this in the barns. And it's always eaten up by the next morning!


If the farmers take good care of their "personal" Nisse, he will jump in the moving carriage to continue living with the farmer should a farmer purchase a new farm. The word Nisse is originally not a Norwegian word, but has a foreign origin. So who knows, Nisser may even live in your country if you just know where to look for them?


“Documentation” shows that this mysterious little fellow comes out of the mountains for a twelve-day period during the Christmas season. He will come to a certain farm at that time. If he is treated kindly by the people on the farm, he will remain there for that full time. Then he will disappear as suddenly as he came.


The Jule-Nissen seems to love all the animals and is said that he has the power to bring good luck to people and good health to the animals, unless he is treated badly by his “hosts”.


This Christmas project painted on a sled, shows how a Nisse is sitting in the barn enjoying his Christmas meal while some cute mice are dancing around him to try to have him share a little bit with them. The theme of this project comes from a very popular Norwegian Christmas song "På låven sitter Nissen med sin Julegrøt"


The text and the painting about The Nisse was provided by Thor and Joan Dahl from Florida.  They have done some great research on trolls and troll looking creatures, which they share with the members of their Online Rosemaling Club.



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