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The Secret Life of Trolls

I've been passionate about world mythology since my Great Aunt Nell gave me 'The Age of Fable' by Bullfinch for my 9th birthday.

Typical Ugly Trolls

Typical Ugly 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!

Run! Run now!

Run! Run now!

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.

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

A Troll turned to Stone by a Sun Lamp

A Troll turned to Stone by a Sun Lamp

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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?

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.