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A manual in understanding troll – L is for l’anniversaire #104 #AZchallenge

L’anniversaire because I am having my birthday today, juhuu. Today it is snowing outside, which I remember it also did one day when I was teenager and insisting on going out in miniskirt.
Later this day I am having a performance which I rehearse for now, so not much time to celebrate. And next year I have lived by telling stories for 20 years, it is going to be celebrated with a specific performance called ”I am Mimesis” – a metaperformance, and the project starting today. Each day I will document my life as a storyteller on this blog, mostly written in Norwegian, I will remember stories told and stories experienced.

Anyway, trolls and birthdays. Well, there is actually a phenomenon in the folktales, many children gets the prediction that they should not be out under open sky before they are 16 years old, otherwise they will be taken by the troll, or another variation is that their father, always a king, are not allowed to see his child before on the day they turn either 14 or 16.
I wonder if this element comes from a practical reality, a need to protect the children. My grandfather always said when I was a child, do not go the well, because there noekken lives. Noekken is another creature from the folklore who was known to steal children and drown them. With this image my grandfather gave an image that was easy for us children to handle. We stayed away from the well.

And in the folktales, the children never manage to stay inside, on the day before their birthday, they manage to get out, and then they are gone and the adventure can start.

A manual in understanding troll – K is for Kraake #103 #Azchallenge

In one folktale there is a troll hag called, “Kraake Lange” which translated must mean something like “crow long”. Her name must give indications on how she looks like; at least it does for me. I am translating Norwegian folktales for a book, folktales not translated to English before, and one of the stories is about this character. I will give the beginning of this story here:

This story was written down in 1868.
There was a widower who was far away in the woods to find wood together with his daughter. The daughter brought her only friend, the dog along with her. Beyond this, there was no one else in the family. Just as they worked and worked in the wood, they saw a large anthill. This was not surprising. What was strange was that there was smoke that rose from the anthill. “I want to go over and see what it is,” said the girl. “Do not worry about that,” the man said, “it is probably just some heat after the shepherds.” She was stubborn and disobedient and ran to the hill with the dog. But oh no, do not you think she and the dog fell down and away she was. Her father was angry for a while over this, but he had to go to the place and see what had become of the little girl. Suddenly the earth opened and he too fell down and down he fell.
When they woke up, both father and daughter, they saw a big field. And a huge and soaring house there was and a big sized farm. Here there lived a troll hag named Crow Long. She had a daughter, but no husband. She saw the widower and liked him well. She said: “Now I know no better than that you have to be my husband, and your daughter can do the herding here.” To cut a long story short, there were a couple of these two. After a while, Crow Long got tired of the stepdaughter, began to hate her, and treated the man’s daughter bad. It was both small and dry what she got for eating. Yet there was something that was strange. The less food she got, the better she looked, the man’s daughter. Round she was and red cheeks she had and she went around there and shone like a flower.
“How on earth can it be?” thought the old troll hag. And one day she said to her own daughter: “Tomorrow you sneak up after the man’s daughter when she walks in the woods and look for what she lives by. Here is a few bird eyes. When you put these in the neck you can see what she does and she will not know.”

A manual in understanding Troll – J is for Jotne #102 #Azchallenge

Jotne is a giant from Norse mythology, so good so far. The exciting challenge with Norway is that this is a long country, which has led to places developing their distinctive cultural variations. Meaning of terms such as trolls and «tusser» and «trollpakk» can then vary around in Norway.

As said jotner are giants who live in Utgaard or Jotunheimen told through the myths. This word has led to concepts like ”jutul” and ”jøtul” and in this there is a challenge. Depending on its local affiliation jutul may mean troll or giant. Now, one might believe that it does not matter, but a troll and a giant have different functions in the stories. For example in some legends it is told that humans ”enjoyed” staying near giants, because they made sure to keep the trolls away.

So when one tries to figure about one must keep a sort of steady hand, but I think also that it is important to retain the linguistic exuberance.