Far to the North where the winter storms whip the weather-beaten coasts, you
will find a long and narrow country. Here you see dark forests with moonlit
lakes, deep fjords surrounded by mighty snowcapped mountains, and long
rivers and cold streams cascading down the mountain sides.
Nowadays this country is covered by snow and ice only six months a year. A
long, long time ago, however, there existed a massive glacier that brooded
over the entire country for thousands of years.
As the climate gradually warmed and the glacier slowly retreated to the
North, Man to the South of the glacier followed in its wake. Looking at this
country and finding it to be magnificent, they considered themselves to be
its first inhabitants. People settled there and named it Norway. They were
themselves called 'nordmenn' (Men of the North).
It did not take them long, however, to realize that on this land there were
various other creatures hiding out in the forests and mountain sides. People
did not know what these creatures were, but they were generally believed to
have supernatural powers, and they came to be known as trolls.
The trolls would come out of their hiding-places only after sun-set, and
they would disappear before the morning sun arose in the East. Direct
exposure to the sun could cause them to crack, turn into stone and possibly
burst. On occasion the trolls would evidently forget to hide from the sun,
and rock formations can todaybe found in various places with troll-like features.
The trolls were mostly seen on bright moonlit nights, or during stormy
nightsthat could frighten about anyone who happened to be outdoors at that time.
The trolls had very distinct features. They had long crooked noses, only
fourfingers and toes on each limb, and most of them had long bushy tails.
Some trolls were giants, and others were small. There were stories of two-
headed as well as three-headed trolls, and even a few had only one eye in
themiddle of their wrinkled foreheads. Others had trees and rough moss-like
growth all over their heads and noses.
Although they were shaggy and rough-haired, and most looked frightening,
they were also known to be good-natured and naive. So naive in fact that
evensly peasant boys could, on occasion, easily trick them. Stories about such
encounters are common in the fairy tales.
Most trolls lived to be hundreds of years old. However, because of the
trolls extremely shy nature, their true origin, their lifestyle or what
surprises they might pull has always been a mystery.
The ability to transform themselves counted among the trolls many
supernatural skills. The fairy maidens - called "Hulder" - could transform
into incredibly attractive young ladies. However, they could not get rid of
their tails. Hunters and farmers sons, who were lured to the mountains by
these fairies, would usually check fortails on their new-found beauties.
The wrath of the trolls was boundless. It was therefore considered very
important not to make them your enemy. If a farmer did provoke a troll, his
livestock might be subject to disease or harmful sickness, or worse things
could happen.On the other hand, a good relationship with the trolls could be very
Now, even in modern times it is well advised to keep a good standing with
the trolls, since you never know when you will meet one yourself. The next
time you go to the dark forests and the mighty mountains with their deep
lakes and roaring waterfalls, just remember, they probably mean no harm. But
be aware. In the twilight hours you are no longer alone.
Then it is only you . . . and all the trolls.
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