The Secret Life of Trolls
The Grisly Truth about the Trolls of the North
The truth about Trolls is ugly. Yes, ugly. For Trolls are ugly, malicious creatures who will never be anything but the enemies of mortals.
These fearsome, baleful and evil minded creatures are from the mythology of the wild northern lands, fiendish giants related to Ogres.
You may read of a Troll here and there who is not quite as spiteful as the rest, you may hear whispers of a Troll who seemed friendly enough to humans, but pay no attention!
Trolls are not friendly, they are nasty vicious beings and the only way to treat a Troll is to run .. as fast as you can! And never look back!
How to Recognise a Troll
Pay close attention ...
Trolls are much bigger than us, somewhat like a huge, ugly, mossy giant, and much stronger, awfully, terribly, horribly strong.
If you are unfortunate enough to bump into a Troll and have one shocked moment to see his face (or faces), you will notice the long, warty nose, the grotesque reddened eyes and the twisted, slavering mouth.
You may also notice that the Troll has more than one head.
If this isn't enough to turn your heart inside out and your bowels to water, remember that Trolls eat people!
Your only hope (if your legs haven't turned to jelly) is to flee forthwith.
If you see this Troll - run!
Trolls have moved to the Wild Mountains
A Warning to Hikers
Before 1850 Sweden, Denmark and Southern Norway were mainly rural areas and Trolls lived, in a truce of sorts, with the local communities.
For trolls, half of the fun in life was to maliciously blight the crops, steal fat cows and exchange their ugly troll children for bonny golden- haired human babies.
But this part of the world is industrialised nowadays and the Trolls have mostly taken to living in the wild mountains. Beware! This is no guarantee of safety!
For the most part, the Trolls live in the deep forests or in caves in the untamed mountains, and we can feel comfortable knowing that they are far away from us, and not seen by many. This is indeed fortunate as the last thing you want to meet while enjoying a hike in the woods is a Troll.
The best way to get rid of a Troll is by exposing it to sunlight, as the warm rays turn the Troll into stone.
If you're very, very brave ....
Then again, it's worth remembering that Trolls often guard a dazzling treasure hoard.
If you have a strong stomach, and a sun-lamp, you may find riches beyond dreams of avarice!
A Troll turned to Stone by a Sun Lamp
Oh No! Taken by Trolls!
Be ever vigilant
In all Scandinavian languages there is a word which literally means 'taken to the mountain', used, in modern parlance, in the sense of 'bewitched', and the theme of being stolen away to the Troll Mountain is very popular in literature and art.
An English equivalent is "taken by the fairies". Not quite the same as "away with the fairies". but closely related. If you've been abducted by trolls and managed to get away from the freakish creatures, you will be absent-minded, distrait and unheeding of those who want to help you.
At one time, if a villager disappeared in the woods, it was obvious that the Trolls were involved. But this isn't past history - it happens today! The modern generation has forgotten the truth.
Recorded Abductions by Trolls
Until the beginning of the 17th century, Swedish churches in the countryside registered people who had mysteriously disappeared as being abducted by Trolls.
Don't let anyone convince you that these good folk were merely lost, or eaten by bears, for the truth is that they really did fall into the clutches of nasty Trolls.
For that matter, church records also show many people who had lost their way in the woods for a day or two and suffering loss of memory had also been abducted by Trolls. And who are we to argue with the Swedish clergy?
If you experience an unexplainable loss of memory after a tramp through the woods, this may not necessarily mean you have been abducted by Trolls
The Danger is still there!
These days the abductions are not so common, but the danger has only lessened, not disappeared. Trolls are still kidnapping people!
An inordinate number of fair maidens, up to and including princesses, are captured by Trolls and kept prisoner in a dismal dungeon or a damp cave (which is infinitely worse).
Luckily, Trolls tend to be somewhat stupid, so heroes can outsmart them and save the fair maiden or princess.
Trolls in Modern Stories
Watered down for the kiddies
In Swedish children's literature nowadays, Trolls are not portrayed as naturally evil, merely as primitive and misunderstood.
It's said that the misdeeds of Trolls are due to a combination of basic and common human traits, such as envy, pride, greed, ignorance and stupidity.
Don't be fooled! Trolls are naturally evil.
It's not fashionable these days to frighten children with stories of Trolls, we are soft and pampered in this modern age, but the Trolls are still in the mountains .. waiting.
The Boy Who Cried Troll
Don't be like Bjorn, the boy who cried Troll.
Once there was a little boy named Bjorn. He lived with his little old grandmother in a small cottage outside of the village and, everyday, Bjorn would walk to the field to guard the sheep from the trolls.
He hated going to that field everyday, because it was so boring and lonesome, and one day Bjorn thought, I wonder what people would do if I cried "TROLL".
So Bjorn ran towards the village screaming,"Troll, troll! There is a troll in the field and he's eating up the sheep!"
Everyone ran to the field, only to find that there were no trolls, while Bjorn laughed and laughed.
Bjorn's grandmother scolded him and told him never to lie to people again. "You should be thankful that people came up here to help you." Grandmother scolded, "Someday, you will understand what a good thing it is to have friends who trust you!"
But Bjorn didn't learn. The next day, Bjorn yelled," TROLL,TROLL" and the people came and started looking for the troll. Needless to say, they were pretty cross with Bjorn and his lies.
On the third day, while watching the sheep, a troll came and grabbed Bjorn! Bjorn yelled "TROLL,TROLL" but no one came to help, they were sick of the foolish prank, and the troll gobbled up the young boy.
The moral of this story is Don't Lie for if you do, a troll will come and gobble you up
But what about Troll Dolls?
I can hear you ask ....
Troll Dolls are, of course, extremely ugly (collectors claim the ugliness to be part of the charm of the doll) with huge ears, a potbelly, no forehead and long strands of sheep's wool for hair.
Danes believed the dolls were so ugly that you had to laugh at them and if you were laughing, nothing bad could happen to you.
Soon the dolls became a source of good luck to people around the world and, in the late 1960s, Troll Dolls were the second largest selling dolls in the United States.
There is simply no accounting for taste!
A Most Necessary Troll for your Computer
Example of a non-threatening Troll
Is a Dose of Bad Luck haunting your computer?
You must always be wary of computer misfortune. In these modern times, mishaps and malfunctions of the home PC are blamed on Gremlins, but this is far from the truth.
Gremlins are indeed mischievous, impish tricksters who once vexed the farmers of Scotland and then moved on to meddling with aircraft. It's believed that they still like to manipulate machinery but computers have never interested them.
Inexplicable trouble with your PC can be traced to Pixies, those impertinent, obstructive busybodies who delight in tampering and tinkering.
This is why you need a dedicated Computer Troll! No self-respecting Pixie can bear to be in the presence of a troll. Luckily, you can have your own troll to safeguard your precious computer.
Troll Dolls can help ward off REAL Trolls
Better to be Safe than Sorry
It's a strange thing. While the REAL Trolls want to eat you, these miniature versions of the Norwegian fiends bring luck to certain areas of your home. I believe that they frighten off pernicious pixies who so enjoy plundering your kitchen and pillaging your laundry.
Sometimes mysterious things go awry in my kitchen, the gravy will turn into peculiar lumps, the pastry inexplicably refuse to rise and the milk will curdle. Pixies will spitefully spoil the last of the laundry powder and steal my socks. I need a Lucky Troll Doll to combat these dire events!
These little Troll Dolls (Dam Dolls) have never lost popularity in Europe. You need a Troll Doll to keep your home in good running order.
A famous Troll
One famous, or more correctly 'infamous', troll is Grendel, the grinder of bones. The name says it all.
The story of Grendel is pure horror although the hero wins out in the end. Yes, some trolls can be slain, but you need to be a hero to manage such a deed.
If only we had more heroes!
In the Faroe Islands, in Orkney and Shetland, trolls may be called trows. But don't be fooled, they are still trolls!
Trolls of the Orkneys
In the Faroe Islands, in Orkney and Shetland, trolls may be called trows. But don't be fooled, they are still trolls!
The superb website, Orkneyjar, dedicated to the preserving, exploring and documenting the ancient history, folklore and traditions of Orkney.
Orkneyjar is created and maintained by Orcadian, Sigurd Towrie.
- Orkney Trows
Orkneyjar - The Origin of the Orkney Trow
An Ancestor Cult?
Modern Theories on Trolls
It has been said that Trolls represent the last vestige of an ancestor-cult, common throughout Skandinavia until Christianity came to the region.
Family forebears were worshiped in sacred groves, by altars, biers and gravemounds. One of the customs associated with this practice was to sit on top of a gravemound at night, possibly in order to make contact with the deceased, But, when the priests arrived with the new Christian religion, all reference to these earlier long-held beliefs was demonised.
In the 13th century it was decreed illegal to attempt to wake the "mound-dwellers" in the sacred groves. (Warning : Don't even think of trying ......)
Disregard these modern theories. Or the Trolls will get you!
In the Hall of the Mountain King
Peer Gynt and the King of the Trolls
Under the Mountains in the Hall of the Troll King
After some bizarre actions and their consequences, Peer, the anti-hero, wanders the wild mountains of Norway. He meets three amorous dairy-maids who are waiting to be courted by trolls, gets drunk with them and spends the next day alone with a severe hangover.
He comes across a woman clad in green who turns out to be the daughter of the Troll Mountain King. Together they ride into the mountain hall, and the Troll King gives Peer the choice of becoming a troll if Peer is to marry his daughter. Peer agrees to a number of issues, but withdraws in the end.
The music In the Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt is a well known melody although many may not know the actual name of the piece. Did you?
The Full, Fantastic Tale of Peer Gynt
- Peer Gynt - The Story
From wikipedia, an article about the play, Peer Gynt, by Henrik Ibsen. What a story!
Slow Down, Trolls Crossing
Don't be fooled!
These days the Troll is seen as a humorous phenomenon, a childish symbol of fears, or the subject of doctoral dissertations. But don't be fooled.! They are as malevolent and wicked as they ever were.
Once a troll, always a troll
Share your opinion on Trolls. Are we safe?
Are Trolls still hiding in the Wild Norwegian Mountains?
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© 2008 Susanna Duffy