The Tomte Klaus

It was their second Christmas together and the fact that most of the guests were from the Fairy Realm and all of the animals could talk somehow seemed happily normal to both Netta and neighbor Bob. Netta paused before entering the living room with another bowl of miniature marshmallows that the Dwarves were quite fond of and she smiled. The party was going well and all her guests were enjoying themselves in their own ways. The sparkly ornaments on her Christmas tree kept moving around always changing places on the limbs. With her inner ear, the secret one that allows people who believe to hear magic, she heard the chatter of pixies in the pine tree. Easily bored by anything staying the same, the little pixies moved the glass bulbs from branch to branch. Long strands of silver garland and blinking lights would un-wrap and re-wrap themselves around the tree. Tiny blue creatures would all come flying out from their playground, circle the festive green pine clapping and cheering, then start re-decorating again. Micro troops of dirt fairies made themselves at home in her potted plants delighted with the gold and silver glitter she had sprinkled in the pots just for them. Each pot in choral harmony, they were singing songs of sparkle and the plants seem to come alive and dance. In the guest bathroom the Loireags from the nearby pond sullenly splashed in the bathtub complaining about everything and what a sacrifice it was for them to come. But, like all annoying human relatives they would not have missed the Christmas Party for anything. As Loireags are most happy when complaining about something, Netta being a considerate host, made sure the tub had a slight ring around it. The Loireags were so ecstatic to be able to complain about how their hostess had terrible hygiene habits that they completely forgot to threaten the other guests with drowning should they come near the bathtub to wish them Merry Christmas.

Dr. Underhill the dwarf, spied Netta holding the bowl of miniature marshmallows and started the “Marshmallow Cheer” which was heartily taken up by Dwarf, Dog and Fairy all. Netta danced the bowl into the room twirling about tossing marshmallows to her friends. Andi a beautiful emerald eyed fairy from the Romanian Keshalyies had just finished telling her holiday story. With delicate fairy grace she danced towards Netta and the bowl of treats. Having the Fey appetite for sweets, she quickly took a handful of fluffy confection and not so gracefully stuffed her mouth with marshmallows leaving only bulging cheeks and a big grin.
The room became unnaturally quiet as both dwarf and fairy stuffed as many sugar pillows as they could possibly fit into their mouths and then all sat back with puffy cheeks and happy smiles.

As much as they love sweets, shiny things and sing-a-longs, the Fey Folk enjoy listening to and telling stories. Roxie Hollywood, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi born from a Pennsylvania puppy mill, was Corgwyn, a true fairy dog who was just learning about her heritage. She ate up the stories like the
other fairies ate marshmallows. So rather than playing Jenga with Syd the cockatoo and neighbor Bob during the lull in story time, she looked at Captain Corgi with her best puppy eyes and said;
“Would you pleeeease tell us story?”
Captain Corgi is a Royal Woodland Ranger, a sort of fairy police, and Chief Inspector of the Southern Ley Line Distrct. Hailing originally from Pembrokshire Wales, he speaks with an accent that is neither British nor Scottish so it must be Olde Welsh .
“Aye, sure little one, as it’s Christmas stories we be telling, and you who need schooling, I will tell you a story about a Swedish fellow now goes by the name of Tomte Klause. The Tomtes are close kin to the English Brownies and the Norwegian Nisse.”

At the mention of Brownies, the group in Netta’s kitchen stopped compulsively washing and rewashing her dishes, because frankly, Brownies are not very good at relaxing at parties. They wanted to listen to Captain Corgis tale of Tomte Klaus. Pausing so the Brownies could properly
fluff a sitting pillow to share, The distinguished corgi with the interesting accent continued;
“Right then. Now the Tomte are fine looking fellows what stand about two feet tall sporting red cone shaped caps, curly white beards with neat grey suit coats paired to some fine matching grey breeches that fit close round the calf to white socks and curly toe brown shoes. Quite actually, they favor in looks that Travelocity gnome on the telly commercials, but oh how they
get offended to be compared to such a footloose character as a traveling gnome. Like the Brownies, the Tomte are serious fellows that work hard and stay loyal to the human family they adopt. None of that flittin round the world business for them. Now a Mr. Wee Tom Tomte of a formerly small village just on the edge of that big port city in Sweden pronounced Jyoteborg but take note youngster it’s spelled like Gothenburg.”

Syd, always the smart aleck broke in; “Is there going to be a quiz?”
The Brownies and Roxie glared at the large white cockatoo named Syd.
Captain Corgi realized he was teaching instead of story telling went back to his tale.

“Right then. Now Wee Tom Tomte lived with an old old couple named Astrid and Albin who had given him porridge and vocation at their little cottage where Albin had always worked as a Tinker to support his family. Times had changed, the suburbs came to their little village and most all the original folk sold while the city folk bought and then, knocked down cottages to build big fancy town homes. In no time at all their wonderful little village became home to the naughtiest children in all of Sweden. Nary a one be it parent or child believed in fairies or SantaClaus.
Everyone in Netta’s living room gasped in horror. How could a whole town not believe in fairies or Santa Claus.
“Surely then it was hard times for the Fey folk who moved on. None of the city people with all their fancy electronics had use for a Tinker. Hard times fell on the couple too. Even though they had little money, they always fed Wee Tom . Well sure enough same as every year, winter comes, but it was this year that Astrid sat wrapped in a blanket by a dark cold stove what had no coal to make it glow and cried while Albin paced the floor looking about the small cottage for something he could sell.
Now all this broke Wee Toms heart. A Tomte will sometimes take to borrowing things to help his family, but these were desperate times and Wee Tom was seriously thinking of taking to thieving to save his people. Here it was Christmas Eve and all they had was cold porridge in a
cold cottage amidst people what had more than plenty. A right sad Christmas Eve it was too. Because they couldn’t afford a whole tree Albin had cut some evergreen branches and holly from one of those common areas of landscaping that looks a cross between a forest and a gate to a private road letting you know the rich peoples homes are nearby. The evergreens looked better for the trim but someone called the police who came along lecturing old Albin about whats right and wrong, threatened
him with a nursing home then took the branches to just throw away in the trash.

Wee Tom almost cried when the missus gave him their last piece of bread and told him Merry Christmas.
After his family went to bed wrapped in all their blankets because the house was cold, Wee Tom sat to thinking about what an honest fellow could do. Every year Santa came and dropped coal in the stockings of all these children that didn’t believe. Oddly, because they didn’t believe
and their parents bought all their presents, they never found the coal that Santa left. Kinda like they had become blind. Now it annoys Santa to no end making these unnecessary stops but the Rules Of Christmas Magic clearly state that if a child hangs out a stocking, good kid or bad, Santa has to put something in the stocking. The rules also state; Naughty gets lumps of coal.
Well Wee Tom figured if they couldn’t see it they wouldn’t miss it and that would be more like borrowing instead of stealing so he had made up his mind what to do when he heard Santa’s sleigh bells.

Surely it was past midnight when Santa came to town. Wee Tom followed behind with a sack, hopping down the chimneys after Santa popped out. In the last house while he was taking coal from a red store bought stocking, Santa popped back down the chimney nearly frightening poor Tom half to his death.

In his deep jolly voice Santa said “So then Wee Tom, why are you
following behind me nicking all the coal?”

The Tomte all ashamed to been caught by Santa just looked at the tops of his curly shoes and said real quiet like, all full of embarrassed, “Dunno.”

Santa being the wise and good fellow that he is, dropped to one knee putting a hand on the little guys shoulder, “Tell me then, is it your
family? Do they not have coal for their stove or food for their table?”

Wee Tom , he got a big lump in his throat just then and tears started running from his eyes even though he told them not to. Santa spoke, “You know how the laws of magic work. I’m not allowed to give presents to adults only children. But, I can give presents to my elves that they
can give to their friends and family. Would you like to be one of my elves?”

Wee Toms face lit up. Tomtes were not elves, but Wee Tom would call himself a Traveling Gnome if it would help his family. “ Oh yes Santa, yes indeed, I want to be one of your elves.”

“Well then you are one of my elves. I shall call you Tomte Klaus. Your job will be to look after the old people around here that still believe.” With that Santa gave Tomte Klaus two magic sacks, one was full of coal to heat their stoves and the other full of food.
Tomte Klaus, who’s heart was suddenly filled with the warm magic of giving, went about town visiting homes of the old ones, spreading Christmas magic and goodwill.
During the night Albin and Astrid starting throwing off their blankets. They felt warm.
Astrid being a bit of a talker mumbled in her sleep about Christmas miracles. Upon waking up the old couple found the coal stove had a glowing fire, the bin alongside was full to over flowing with coal, enough to keep them warm all winter. The cupboards had food, fresh apples and oranges were on the table.

There perched up on the window sill just as proud as could be stood Wee Tom Tomke Klaus grinning ear to ear wearing his new red suit. The rules say you can never thank the Fey for their help or they consider themselves dismissed. It’s the look of happiness they take as gratitude. So Albin nodded to WeeTom, smiled and took Astrids hand, gently kissed her cheek and whispered, “Merry Christmas my love.”