the generations since my Great great great great great Grandfather Bernt,
there have been three other Master Trollologist including myself, four when
you count my grandson. Each one of these contributed observations and notes that
have been passed down to me and since then to my grandson who is following in
my footsteps. The other day we
were talking over at the Trollshop and our good friend Anders asked if anyone
had ever written a simple guide to how trolls grow up and mature.
My grandson looked at me and I shook my head and that was the start of
with Grandfather Bernt’s oral histories we moved down through the
generations searching the oral and written records until we had a good idea of
the various steps young trolls pass through on the road to adulthood.
Finally we took this information to our good friend Maas, our family
house troll, who helped clarify
some of the finer details. We
have complied this data in the following general guide as to how young trolls
are raised and trained to take their place in the wonderful and mysterious
world of trolls. Please
bear in mind that there are likely exceptions to all these guidelines due to
tribal and other customs but as a rule most trolls follow this pattern in the
care and training of their children.
are usually viewed as solitary beings who avoid civilization and humans as a
matter of nature. For the most
part this is true and this is why so little is known about troll families and
troll children. It is generally
known that troll families have a father and a mother and these produce
children. One thing that is not
generally known is that there are rarely more than two children at any given
time and to date no one has been able to find out why.
Speculation is that troll children often require one on one training
and so the number of children is kept deliberately low.
Trolls are, for the most part, monogamous and once paired they will
produce several ‘sets’ of children during their lifetimes. If a spouse
does die or is killed or turns to stone the survivor will usually take another
mate. Troll parents raise their
children to an average age of twenty-three (20 to 25 years old depending on
the child and their choices) following a distinct pattern of 10 phases or
steps which are based on mental, physical
and emotional development. During
this time Trolls do take time alone and after the ‘youngest’ child moves
into adulthood around 25 years old, the
parents will often take time alone, sometimes for years, until they join again
to start a ‘new family’. There
is no information about how these periods of separation are determined but our
guess is that it is simply up to the couple.
When the couple does join again the couple will stay together until the
last child is reared. If no
children are forthcoming after a year or two than they may or may not go
wondering again. Conception seals
the couple as virtually inseparable for the duration (inseparable being
defined as rarely more that 200 km away.)
gestation or pregnancy period for a troll is between eleven and eleven and a
half months depending on the type of troll, traditional, longtail or other.
The average birth weight ranges between 8 and 11 kilograms and range in
length from a quarter and a half meter.
They are almost always born with lots of hair and their tails are
usually short and tuffed with a bit of hair which Maas suggested tickled the
mother’s fancy. (Okay, he did not say that but he grinned when my grandson
mentioned the possibility.)
children follow a fairly standard series of stages which last until they are
between 20 to 25 years old when they generally enter the ‘adult’ world.
We have never been able to determine an average life span for a troll
so we cannot guess how long ‘adulthood’ is but we know of many who have
lived over 200 years and a few that have reached 400 years old.
One of my ancestors named Peter said he met a troll who claimed to be
over 800 years old, some legends gathered by Norse historians make it sound
like they can even live longer than that so at this point it is anyone’s
guess as to how long a troll can live if left unmolested.
childhood phases of most Trolls breakdown, generally, as the following:
Birth to 100 days, 101 days to 6 months, 6 months to a year, 1 to 2
years, 2 to 4 years, 4 to 8 years, 9 to 12 years, 13 to15 years, 16 to 18
years and 19 to 25 years. Through
these phases troll children learn survival and other skills (including a bit
of ‘troll magic’) that will help them become a successful part of one of
the most mysterious and hidden societies on the planet Earth.
Birth to 100 days. If troll
mother’s nurse it has never been witnessed or documented and not one troll
we asked would address the question.
Troll infants are fed pulped plants and grasses mixed in water.
The food is delivered by a cup or bowl which the mother pours it
carefully into her child’s mouth. Over
the next few weeks the mixture is thickened and by 80 days they are beginning
to add tubers, roots and nuts all pulped or powered and mixed in water.
Infants are carried in a sling sack over the parents shoulder or simply
in one of the large hands some trolls have.
Troll infants do not cry but whine and scream to make their wants
PHASE 2: 101
days to 6 months. The food gets
coarser and dryer but remains pulpy in nature.
Teething starts and parents start giving their children soft bugs or
larva and the occasional over- ripe berry.
Cooked, fresh meat is
introduced to the diet and is pre-chewed by one of the parents. Children are
able to cling to parents hair and clothes and the ‘sack’ is discarded.
Crying and whining start to be replaced by grunts and other vocal noises.
Food is in a bowl and some children start to feed themselves.
PHASE 3: 6
months to 1 year: Food for
the infant is gummed and chewed by the child and they are often given barkless
sticks to chewed. This helps to
strengthen their jaws and toughen the inside of their mouths.
Meat becomes part of most meals and is still pre-chewed occasionally
some raw fresh meat is added in and some braver parents will even start to
slip in carrion and spoiled (by human standards) meats. Some crunch is added in the form of insects like beetles and
grasshoppers. Children start to
walk and to climb up slightly slanted surfaces.
They start to learn to follow their parents by holding onto the tail.
A child’s night or dark vision starts to develop at this stage.
Their bodies can self heal at about three quarters the speed adults do.
PHASE 4: 1 to
2 years old. This is perhaps the
most difficult of ages for small trolls when the are the brattiest.
It is at this stage when tantrums are still thrown and discipline is
the most difficult that some young troll couples (or some much older couples)
wonder why they had children and in their foolishness they have been known to
switch their child for that of a human not realizing just how hard it is to
care for a human child. By now
the child stands between two-thirds and three-quarters of a meter tall and
their noses are much too large for their face.
During this stage the variety of ‘more natural meats’ (raw and
spoiled) are used and the pre chewing is cut back’ with small chunks of
‘natural items’ (vegetable and meat) given for the child to devour. They
are by now feeding themselves. Children
can now walk and follow their parents using the tail and visual means.
They can climb up rough sloped surfaces and may be able to go up a
vertical surface with lots of hand and foot holds.
They start to learn how to blend into their surroundings but holding
still is a big problem.
PHASE 5: 2 to
4 years. A troll child’s food
continues to get rougher and dryer and meatier in a steady fashion.
Food is rarely pre-chewed after age 2.
Children feed themselves completely and may even search out some of
their own food such as larva and insects even though they catch few of those.
Troll children by the end of this phase can walk and climb most
surfaces and some are learning to lope and even to run.
They can now blend into most stone settings and are learning to hide in
the shadows. Parents start to
leave the child on their own for part of the day so they can hunt or gather as
needed. Parents give their
children strict charges as to what to do knowing that most of them will be
ignored and children will learn some valuable lessons the hard way as a
result. (Nobody knows exactly what was meant by this but it was expressed by
one of the trolls Grandpa Bernt met while living on his farm).
Night or dark vision is now fully developed.
PHASE 6: 4 to
8 years. Children at this age
start to learn the basics of gathering, scavenging and hunting.
By the end of this period children are able to provide for themselves
and many have had their first kill of a sick or injured animal larger than a
fox. They are able to tell
edible or salvageable carrion. They are able to do so much on their own and could survive if
need be. Some of the harder
lessons are now learned and young trolls start to be more teachable and
obedient if they survived to this point.
This is the period when young trolls start to learn how to do some
‘troll magic’ such as how to use ‘magic’ to enhance their abilities to
hide and conceal. A particularly
adept child may start to learn how to cure inedible meat in emergencies. They also start to learn to eat raw meat.
They also start to learn conservation techniques and how to use all of
PHASE 7: 8 to
12 years. This is a very intense
time of training for young trolls. During
this time they become accomplished hunters and gatherers. They learn to communicate with nature and with animals and
they start to learn the rudiments of several animal languages.
They have lessons in herbology and forestry.
They learn that it is better to preserve when they can.
Magic lessons favor animal communication and silent movement along with
continued more advanced lessons in previously learned/taught
PHASE 8: 12
to 15 years. This age serves as a
kind of apprenticeship for young trolls during which they put into practice
most of what they have learned in order to refine and enhance their skills.
Under the direction of a select group of trolls the youth finally start
to understand a trolls role in nature. To
the young trolls ‘Magic’ becomes a tool and a way of life that surrounds
and enhances all existence. At
the end of this period they are given their first test.
There is no record as to what this test entails but those who pass move
on while the few who do not pass have another year to five years of training.
PHASE 9: 15 to
18 years. Trade training and
apprenticeships occur. A young
troll, male or female, choose from a wide range of life’s pursuits ranging
from farmer to stone polisher to minor to weather prediction and more.
Magic training reaches its peek not only for survival but as it applies
to the trade they have chosen. Trolls
will work in their field for the next hundred or so years after which they
either train others or go afield spreading out over the land to do what they can
for nature. Some become watchers of the humans while others help the
various animal species to survive. A
few start to learn the healing arts but it is rare to start this young but it
does occur. The final ‘test of
life’ is given at the end of this period and if a young troll does not pass it
is unknown what happens.
PHASE 10: 19 to
25 years. Journeyman level training
occurs. Courting starts for many
and about a third are ‘united/married’ by the end of this phase.
The children move out on their own and the parents consider their duty
done. Family relations beyond this
point are more as equals than as parent and child.
Equal care is given by ‘each to each’ as circumstances dictate.
There is only one ‘surprise’ left in this period and that is who the
healers will choose to join their ranks. There
are no limitations as to who can be chosen as a ‘healer’ regardless of what
has gone before. If one is chosen
as a healer, by tradition, one does not refuse.
Healers go off and start a training program that can last 20 to 50 years.
the years that troll and human kind have interacted very little has changed in
the world of trolls except that as the humans have modernized, trolls have
retreated into nature and thus into myth. Trolls
would have it no other way and if there have been changes in these ‘phases’
humans will probably be the last to know. Even
those humans who have regular contact with a house or other kind of troll, know
better than to pry because, for the most part, trolls will not talk (anymore)
about things that might lead humans to find them.
It is nice to know, however, that there are trolls out there doing what
they do best, growing up, learning about nature and doing their best to keep it
safe and secure for generations yet to come.