The tomte is a gnome-like little man found in every Swedish home.  Legend tells us that he watches over the occupants of the house and their animals, protecting them from misfortune.  Occasionally, he will even help with the chores.  In payment for his duties, he expects to receive a bowl of porridge, with butter, on Christmas Eve.  Woe be to the master or mistress of the house should they fail to do this.  Although the tomte seldom directly punishes anyone, he will leave and take his good luck with him.