Troll's Tale

One morning Ottilia went out exploring before sunrise, and wouldn't you know it she ran straight into a troll. Ragnarr was its name, and he didn't like Ottilia or her family; in fact, he didn't care for anyone. Seeing the young girl coming up the path, Ragnarr started yelling about grinding her bones and causing it to rain fire from heaven and other usual troll stuff. 

Ottilia placed her hands on her hips, cocked her head to the right, and in a loud thundering voice, said: "Ah, get over it, Ragnarr, go home before I call the giants on you." Ragnarr lowered his head then shuffled off to his cave, mumbling about children not respecting the old ways, and maybe he should move to icy Sveldar to catch gulp fish with his uncle. Ottilia shook her head and felt a little sorry for the troll, but she thought it best to let things be.

The next day Ottilia pack herself a snack of bread and goat cheese to enjoy on the mountain while she gathered wildflowers. To reach the trail leading to the peaks, one must cross two wooden bridges. The first spanned a small brook and was surrounded by lovely Ivy. Going to the bridge's middle, Ottilia climbed on the railing to gazed at the sparkling water below. The morning turned to noon, so the girl hurried on up the path to the next bridge.

Approaching carefully, the child tiptoed across the wooden planks. Unlike the first bridge, the second was not a pleasant sight to see for under its great span lived a foul troll. His bad temper and cruelty were well known throughout the village, especially his heat for noisy travelers. 

If one was careful and cross the bridge quietly, the troll left you be on your way. However, if you stumble saying or worse whistled, the creature would Billow so loud the bridge would shake. Once a goat herd tried to lead his animals across, after only the second animal's tap-tap on the wooden planks, the monster snatched it up and swallowed it whole. 

Ottilia made her way carefully over the decaying planks until she was in the middle. Curious, she chanced a peek over the edge in hopes of spying the troll. Gunnar the Foul as the troll was locally known set picking fleas from his feet and wondering why his life was so bad. He never chose this spot with its pesky insects and howling wind, it belonged to his father. After some evil goats viciously attacked, causing him to fall into the river below, Gunnar was required by tradition to serve in his father's stead.

The child is long, and hard I could not see the foul beast in the shadows below. Satisfied with her attempt Ottilia set away from the edge and right onto a rotting timber. As the wood shattered under her weight, it produced a resounding crack that echoed through the cold mountain air. Almost immediately, there was a howling of anger. Before the child could take two steps toward the safety of the bridge's edge, she was face-to-face with Gunnar.

"How dare you come to destroy my bridge, who do you think you are?" Billowed the troll. "No one important kind, sir," spoke the child. It was the words kind sir that caught the troll's attention, he was called many things but never kind. "I should pull off an arm or maybe a leg then toss you over the edge to the river below," continued the beast. 

Ottilia stood frozen with fear at her impending doom; her mind, however, did not freeze. Instead, she began to come up with a plan. Then in a firm and loud voice, the child declared, "I am the rock crusher, and squeezer and pain bringer, that's who if you must know."

"Crusher of rocks, you, or you could barely lift a pebble, let alone crush a rock," laughed the troll. The great beast laughed heartily, then his eyes narrowed on to the child, "Why do you think I would believe such a foolish story is that, do you take me for a fool?" Ottilia reached into her basket and pulled out the goat cheese. "Do you see this white rock? I will squeeze water from it, and then I shall do the same to your skull." Ottilia how old out the cheese before the creature and slowly squeezed it, at first a few drops felt then a gust of liquid spraying from the rock. The troll's eyes grew large as saucers then his mouth fell open, "You can't stop now I see I was mistaken not believing in your strength," stammered the troll. 

Now it was Ottilia who narrowed her eyes "What makes you think that I will stop, I'm just getting started and once I'm finished with this rock it's your turn," she said with a sly smile. Well, Gunnar was the one shaking in his shoes now." Please, Miss, I was only playing a joke," bro meekly. "You big ugly off. I don't like jokes now crawled back down where you came from, and if I see you when I return this afternoon, I might tear off a leg for good measure." The troll bowed low. "Forgive me, you just go about your business in old Gunnar here will go back to his home and not bother you anymore." Ottilia stamped her foot, which caused the troll to scurry over the edge and out of sight.

Soon she reached the sun-washed mountain tops, placed her basket down, removed the bread and cheese, and relaxed enjoying the day's pleasant breeze. "I should think that troll has learned his lesson well," Ottilia said to herself. She ate her fill, then napped until the sun slowly turn from yellow to red. 

On the way back home, she made sure to call out the troll's name and remind him of what lay in store if she should lay eyes on him again, but she never did no matter how many times she crossed the bridge or how loud. © Christopher Johnson 2021