19 Jan 2012


There were seven and a hundred Trolls,
They were both ugly and grim,
A visit they would the farmer make,
Both eat and drink with him.

Out then spake the tinyest Troll,
No bigger than an emmet was he,
Hither is come a Christian man,
And manage him will I surelie.

- Excerpt from the Danish Ballad of Eline of Villenskov.

Inspired by Carol's Thursday's Tale:THE CAT ON THE DOVERFELL which featured a troll AND the release of the film TROLL HUNTER on DVD I thought that I'd do a post on ........ yes, you guessed, trolls - known as Huldrefolk in Norway and Vitterfolk in northern Sweden.

Oh and by the way you can find this weeks Thursday's Tales:Tamlane by Joseph Jacobs by clicking HERE.

Not a big fan of these mythological creatures, when asked about them, my first thought would be the ugly yet kind of cute doll that belonged to my mam, the second, the story book, THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF which was amongst the many Ladybird books I read as a child. (Click on the book title to hear the story and/or see the video below, its great fun.)

Anyway, I digress.

Trolls ........ And I'm talking the creatures of Norse mythology here as opposed to the more modern troll who HAUNTS THE INTERNET causing all manner of technological mischief.

Pictured by me as being somewhat large, of below average intelligence, and of grotesque appearance, the troll of my imagination is a solitary individual who resides beneath bridges, feeding off any goat (be it large, medium or small) OR Christian who happens to pass by. But what of the 'reality'?

Having achieved international cult status both through literature and, more recently, role-playing games the troll is of Scandinavian origin and in Norse mythology the word signifies an 'uncanny' being.

Seemingly of two distinct types, the first being the troll of my imagination and fairy tales and the second, a different race altogether ..... they are said to be of human appearance though often with a tail hidden in their clothes, and are social beings who live together, farming animals, cooking and baking.

They live together? Underneath bridges, right?

Once again it seems to depend largely on what type of troll you are talking about. Some it is believed were forest dwellers - if you were in a forest and smelt cooking, you knew a troll was close at hand - whilst others dwelt in underground caves well hidden beneath large boulders in the mountains. AND in some accounts they lived in a far off land known as Trollebotten.

So what of the behaviour of the troll?

Generally accepted as being not particularly pleasant characters, though most self-respecting trolls kept themselves to themselves, it is not unknown for them, as great thieves, to sneak into human houses during feasts, stealing from plates. Also known to abduct people in order to enslave them, the greatest risk was to women who had recently given birth but not yet been 'churched' (a Christian tradition in which a blessing is given to new mothers after recovery from childbirth) the troll was also capable of spiriting individuals away.

Any protection, any way of warding off the advances of a troll?

Well, it is said they fear steel, and, as they are always, without exception, heathens (ah, so that could be where I get my belief they ate Christians), you could try uttering 'Jesus' or 'Christ' OR as some fairy tales have trolls turning into stone when exposed to sunlight you could always hope for a sunny day.

PS Want to read more about trolls? I visited several sites including MONSTROPEDIA.


carol said...

I actually have a fondness for troll stories, probably because we had a couple just awesome books when I was kid that were full of troll stories.

joan said...

love trolls !!!!!
i used to have quite a collection years and years ago , shame don't know what happened to them , I miss them lol
thanks for this post
thanks for hopping by to say hello

joan said...

what started me collecting them, i was sent one by a penfriend (who i lost touch with) and she came from Sweden, which is where you say they live

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

I must say I usually think of the "under the bridge" variety from Three Billy Goats Gruff when I hear about trolls. Although we sometimes referred to the doll you have pictured as troll dolls, we normally called them "dammit dolls" when I was growing up. (funny I was allowed to use that expression!) Actually, I still have a couple of them, my favorite being one with pink hair that is dressed in a lamb costume!

The Golden Eagle said...

That's how I usually think of trolls, too.

Interesting post!

Suko said...

Thank you for this education! Trolls are pretty cute, to me. We called those dolls Wishniks when I was a child. I can't believe there's a site called Monstropedia!

Jenners said...

I love this series!! But I must admit I'm not a big fan of trolls … even the "cute" ones with the fuzzy hair.

naida said...

fun post, I used to collect those little ones with the hair :P

Kalyan said...

Nice reading this...am a big fan of the norse mythic and viking stories.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

nice post!

i'm a big fan of trolls, i used to collect those funny little guys...ages ago!

hope your weekend is going well.