Tales Of The Trolls

: The Swedish Fairy Book


A peasant from Jursagard in the parish of Hanger had gone to the

forest the day before Christmas, and started out for home late in the

evening. He had just about reached the Klintaberg when he heard some

one call out: "Tell the malt-swine to come home, for her child has

fallen into the fire!" When the peasant reached home, there stood his

wife, who had been brewing the Yuletide ale, and she was complain

that though she brewed and brewed, it did not have the right flavor.

Then he told her what had been shouted at him from the hill, and that

very moment a troll-witch, whom they had not noticed before, darted

down from the stove and made off in a great hurry. And when they

looked closer, they found that she had left behind a great kettle full

of the best malt, which she had gathered during the brewing. And that

was the reason the poor woman had not been able to give her brew the

right flavor. The kettle was large, made of ornamented metal, and was

long preserved in Hanger. It was at length sold at auction in 1838,

and melted down.


In former days, when a child came into the world, his mother was known

as a "heathen," until she could take him to church to be christened.

And it was not safe for her to leave the house unless she carried

steel about her in some shape or form. Now once there was one of these

"heathen" women in Norra Ryd, in the parish of Hanger, who prepared

lunch for the mowers, and went out and called them in to eat. Then one

of the mowers said to her: "I cannot come, for my sheaf is not yet

bound." "I will bind it for you," said the woman. The mowers went in

and ate, but saw no more of her. They went back into the field, and

were about to take up their work again, but still neither saw nor

heard her. They began to search, and hunted for a number of days; but

all in vain. Time passed, till it was late in the fall. One day the

weather was clear and sunny. To this very day there is a cotter's hut,

called Kusabo, that stands on a hill named Kusas, and the cotter who

lived there went to look for a horse. And there on the hillside he saw

the woman sitting who had disappeared, and she was sewing. It was not

far from Kusabo to Norra Ryd, so he recognized her at once. He said

"O, you poor thing, and here you sit!" "Yes," said she, "but you must

never mention it to Lars"--that was her husband--"for I shall never

return from this place. Even now I am only allowed to sit outside for

a little while."


Once upon a time a girl was hunting for berries on Kusabo mountain,

and was taken into the hill. But she wept, night and day, which

disgruntled the trolls, and they let her out again. But just as they

were letting her out, one of the trolls hit her such a blow on the

back that she was hump-backed for the rest of her life. She herself

used to tell how she had been kept in the hill.


Primitive faith and superstition are reflected in these three

"Tales of the Trolls" (communicated from mss. belonging to Dr.

v. Sydow-Lund). The first is also current in Norway; the others

tell of women who have been bergtagen, "taken into the

mountain." It is not so long since that every humped back,

every weak mind, in short, every ill that had no visible

explanation, was ascribed to the troll folk.