Our Name

You may be wondering just what a Tomten is and why we named our organization "Tomten Farm and Sanctuary." 

We're happy to share this magical story of peace, protection and possibility and introduce you to the mythical character that inspired us.

The farm is named after the Swedish Folk story, "The Tomten" by Astrid Lindgren. It is a story that is close to my heart and was given to me by mother many years ago. It is my hope that Tomten Farm and Sanctuary forever embraces the magic, the wonder and the beauty of both the work of Astrid Lindgren and the original story adapted from a poem written by Viktor Rydberg, a well-known 19th century Swedish writer.

According to Scandinavian legend, the Tomte (singular form of Tomten) lives in the corner of the barn's hayloft. He only comes out at night when the humans are asleep, tiptoeing around the farm in the cold Winter moonlight, going from stall to stall and animal to animal, checking on and caring for each life as he mulls the passage of time, waits for Summer and the return of kinder days. Except for his tiny little footprints in the snow, no one has ever actually seen the tomte but they know he is there, protecting all in his care.

The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren

Should you be interested, we have included the original poem for your enjoyment and encourage you to curl up on a cold Winter night and read the beautiful story based on the poem below, The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren.

Footprints in snow
Snowy road
Book inside

Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold

The stars glitter and sparkle.

All are asleep on this lonely farm,

Deep in the winter night.

The pale white moon is a wanderer,

snow gleams white on pine and fir,

snow gleams white on the roofs.

The tomte alone is awake.

Gray, he stands by the low barn door,

Gray by the drifted snow,

Gazing, as many winters he’s gazed,

Up at the moon’s chill glow,

Then at the forest where fir and pine

Circle the farm in a dusky line,

Mulling relentlessly

A riddle that has no key.

Rubs his hand through his beard and hair,

Shakes his head and his cap.

“No, that question is much too deep,

I cannot fathom that.”

Then making his mind up in a hurry,

He shrugs away the annoying worry;

Turns at his own command,

Turns to the task at hand.

Goes to the storehouse and tool shop doors,

Checking the locks of all,

While the cows dream on in the cold moon’s light,

Summer dreams in each stall.

And free of harness and whip and rein,

Even Old Pålle dreams again.

The manger he’s drowsing over

Brims with fragrant clover.

The tomte glances at sheep and lambs

Cuddled in quiet rest.

The chickens are next, where the rooster roosts

High above straw filled nests.

Burrowed in straw, hearty and hale,

Karo wakens and wags his tail

As if to say, “Old friend, “Partners we are to the end.”

At last the tomte tiptoes in

To see how the housefolk fare.

He knows full well the strong esteem

They feel for his faithful care.

He tiptoes into the children’s beds,

Silently peers at their tousled heads.

There is no mistaking his pleasure:

These are his greatest treasure.

Long generations has he watched

Father to son to son

Sleeping as babes. But where, he asks,

From where, from where have they come?

Families came, families went,

Blossomed and aged, a lifetime spent,

Then-Where? That riddle again

Unanswered in his brain!

Slowly he turns to the barnyard loft,

His fortress, his home and rest,

High in the mow, in the fragrant hay

Near to the swallow’s nest.

The nest is empty, but in the spring

When birds mid leaves and blossoms sing,

And come with her tiny mate.

Then will she talk of the journey tell.

Twittering to all who hear it,

But nary a hint for the question old

That stirs in the tomte’s spirit.

Now through cracks in the haymow wall

The moon lights tomte and hay and all,

Lights his beard through the chinks,

The tomte ponders and thinks.

Still is the forest and all the land,

Locked in this wintry year.

Only the distant waterfall

Whispers and sighs in his ear.

The tomte listens and, half in dream,

Thinks that he hears Time’s endless stream,

And wonders, where is it bound?

Where is its source to be found?

Deep in the grip of the midwinter cold,

The stars glitter and sparkle.

All are asleep on this lonely farm,

Late in this winter night.

The pale white moon is a wanderer,

snow gleams white on pine and fir,

snow gleams white on the roofs.

The tomte alone is awake.


-Viktor Rydberg


Horse running in snow
Book dedication

If you have never heard the story by Astrid Lindgren, and have yet to see one of our annual Christmas Eve readings with many of our rescues, you may enjoy this video taken December, 2021.

Yes, there are a few bloopers. Just before filming the goats had "styled" my hair and while I considered redoing it, the Rescues are so fabulously engaged that I left it for all to see. Please forgive its inadequacies as the animals celebrate peace, protection and possibility at Tomten. Perhaps you can still feel the magic and comfort of the story even though it comes to you virtually and will heart will warm as you think of these lives on cold Winter nights.

Together We Are Tomten

We exist thanks to the generosity of those who join us. If you believe that every animal deserves a dream-come-true, we ask that you consider giving the gift of a one-time contribution, writing a review of our sanctuary, or becoming a sustainable partner. Your kindness and efforts matter to every life here as we make the impossible possible for those in need. Thank you for being part of Tomten Farm and Sanctuary.