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Mountainous Norway is a land of cliffs and valleys, mossy mountain sides and lush grass, clear air and sparkling waterfalls. It is also the land of trolls.

Once upon a time, trolls lived here, under bridges and behind rocks, by roadsides and in caves below the frowning mountain brows. Trolls were kings then. They filled their hoards with shiny coins provided by puny humans, paid for safety, for crossing the land, as agistment, or for simple goodwill.

Humans feared trolls then, as well they should, and their fear, and their respect, their very awareness gave trolls power. Power to grow tall, to speak like thunder, to move mountains and roll boulders down their faces. Power to help, if good humour took them, power to hinder if humans grew bold, power to punish if they became disrespectful.

In the silver days of trolls, legend has it, there lived in Norway a playwright who, together with his friend–composer mocked trolls in a play. And the trolls did not like it, and they laid a curse on him to look troll-like in face, but not in power. And as the years turned, so he did, and became to his fellow men what he had always been to trolls: a laughing stock.

But times changed. Humans created new gods for themselves, sprung dei ex machina like jacks from boxes, and trolls grew forgotten. Trolls were not looked up to anymore, but explained away as parts of nature they had sprung from. As rocks, and winds, and slides, and changes of weather.

Trolls weakened then. And they moved less, and grew mossy and stony and stiff, and hid in plain sight amongst rocks, and on mountain sides, and waited for the wheel of time to turn human awareness toward them again.

And yet not all of them did. Younger, and nimbler trolls descended from their mountains, and in doing so, left part of their force in their native soil, and shrank, and diminished, and grew less powerful and more devious, and learned to wander unseen by the inattentive human eye, and to look for cracks in their new beliefs to slip into.

And the nye trollene, "modern trolls", discovered that tales were still told about them, and legends were kept alive before the skeptical eyes of visitors, guests of their fair Norway, come from foreign lands of raising and setting sun, of crescent and unsetting moon, and of inverted seasons.

And the new trolls beheld the chance they were offered and grabbed it, and altered their new reality to their needs as trolls are want to. Into the crude images of themselves they crawled, into the statuettes made of clay and cast in iron and hewn from stone, and stood on the shelves of merchants who, for the love of money, wove new troll tales and used them to enchant visitors, and so gave the hidden trolls power.

Have you heard? If you come to Norway, and see a mountain troll and name it, you have to bring it home with you, no matter how ugly or unexpected its appearance, not matter the price. What you would not have heard, is the new troll inside calling out to those who want to believe in it (you!) What you would not have noticed until too late, is it following you home, guided by its Name, and causing its unique brand of mayhem, and may be, if you are one of the lucky few, sometimes helping you.


[Notes]
1. Gratitude given where gratitude is due.
- Most of this is taken form what our tour guide told us on our trip to Norway several years ago.
- The playwright is Henrik Ibsen, of whom it was jokingly said that his appearance late in life was a troll curse laid on him over Peer Gynt.
- I imagined all of this spoken in the tones Galadriel uses in her monologue before the Lord of the Rings movie begins.

2. This was intended as a second installment in my Household Spirits and Imps universe, but Norwegian trolls wanted a presentation of their own. It still (sort of) belongs to that universe, because one of the trolls, Serge, came back home with us from the trip, but that is a story for another day.


3. I don't speak Norwegian, and hope that my vocabulary and grammar searches allowed me to write the single Norwegian expression in the story more or less correctly.


Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
kehlen_crow
Dec. 14th, 2015 03:45 pm (UTC)
ConCrit is welcome.

We are Team Norbert, and my teammates entries this week are: cheapxdate's, dmousey's intersection with majesticarky and ellakite's.
majesticarky
Dec. 14th, 2015 09:39 pm (UTC)
Oh interesting, I don't know much about Scandinavian folk lore. My mom really enjoyed Norway. I wanna go some day! I'll make sure to avoid naming trolls... don't want them in my house, they seem rather clumsy to me!

You have a bit of a typo, it's spelled "deus ex machina".
kehlen_crow
Dec. 14th, 2015 09:50 pm (UTC)
Yes, we enjoyed Norway a lot as well, and I would like to visit again some time.

It's not a typo though, it's the plural form of that expression (at least, according to the Internetz).
majesticarky
Dec. 14th, 2015 09:52 pm (UTC)
Oh I always thought the plural was "deus ex machina" too. Guess I'm wrong.
kehlen_crow
Dec. 14th, 2015 09:57 pm (UTC)
I checked and plural for "deus" in definitely "dei".
sinnamongirl
Dec. 15th, 2015 12:24 am (UTC)
I love it! I've got a fascination with Norway and with trolls, this was a really great story to read.
kehlen_crow
Dec. 15th, 2015 01:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. L liked the lore very much, but I don't know how much of it was invented on the spot for us :)
watching_ships
Dec. 15th, 2015 04:51 am (UTC)
Fascinating! This isn't something I know much about, but I do enjoy reading about folklore from around the world.
kehlen_crow
Dec. 15th, 2015 02:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you :). I am glad it was interesting.
millysdaughter
Dec. 15th, 2015 07:21 pm (UTC)
LOL - surrounded as I am here by all things Norsk, it made me giggle...
kehlen_crow
Dec. 16th, 2015 03:23 pm (UTC)
I am glad it did :)
muchtooarrogant
Dec. 16th, 2015 03:44 am (UTC)
Yay trolls! :) This was a fun tale.

Dan
kehlen_crow
Dec. 16th, 2015 03:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I wanted it to be this way :)
eternal_ot
Dec. 16th, 2015 01:04 pm (UTC)
Interesting titbit..I enjoyed reading this and thanks for sharing it ..:)
kehlen_crow
Dec. 16th, 2015 08:03 pm (UTC)
You're welcome :)
rayaso
Dec. 16th, 2015 04:01 pm (UTC)
Very interesting. I liked the idea of new trolls versus old ones, and the idea of the new trolls inhabiting the crude statues of themselves. Very good!
kehlen_crow
Dec. 16th, 2015 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
bleodswean
Dec. 16th, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, WOW!!! I love this! Absolutely love it. Thank you SO MUCH for this entry. I've learned things and I am definitely being sparked by your turn of phrase and imaginative storytelling. This line is just wonderfully done - caves below the frowning mountain brows.

I never heard that about naming a mountain troll. FANTASTIC!
mamas_minion
Dec. 17th, 2015 12:22 am (UTC)
I enjoy learning about folktales and mythology from around the world. Sounds like the trolls have learned to adapt well to our ever changing world.
kehlen_crow
Dec. 17th, 2015 04:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, they did. One of them has been creating mayhem ever since mother brought him back from Norway and then failed to care for him properly :)
misfitmanor
Dec. 17th, 2015 01:13 am (UTC)
It would seem some trolls are more clever than we'd given them credit for.
kehlen_crow
Dec. 17th, 2015 03:51 pm (UTC)
They may be :-)
halfshellvenus
Dec. 17th, 2015 04:34 am (UTC)
I liked the idea of younger, newer trolls not staying resigned to their elders' fates, but instead sneaking into their own new possibilities and regaining some form of power through their new owners' unwitting aide.
aresrising05
Dec. 17th, 2015 01:22 pm (UTC)
Reminded me of this for some reason;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGfePqVJE-U
cheapxdate
Dec. 17th, 2015 09:31 pm (UTC)
As a huge fan of folklore and mythology (and also all things fantasy) I really enjoyed this. I could definitely see this fitting into the LoTR universe. My grandmother's parents were born and raised in Norway and she visits there every few years with her sister - I'm going to ask them about the troll folklore!

#TeamNorbert<3
alycewilson
Dec. 17th, 2015 10:04 pm (UTC)
This was a lot of fun!
favoritebean
Dec. 19th, 2015 12:06 am (UTC)
I like this, and reminds me that I really need to travel more often. If I ever get to Norway, I will absolutely watch for the trolls. ^_^
murielle
Dec. 19th, 2015 12:51 am (UTC)
Delightful! Enchanting!

A modern take on an old legend.

I love the telling of this tale, the style is perfect.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )

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