Last year Hubby and I – before he was my Hubby – went on a cruise to Norway, going up and down the fjords. It was something that I had always wanted to do, and I mean always, probably from the day I was born if I could remember that far back.
We sailed in and out of fjords, went up into the Artic Circle – were I managed to get sun burn!!! Kept on travelling up to the North Cape and saw the midnight sun. Saw row upon row of dried cod, and many a dried cod heads on the Lofoten Islands which for centuries have lived off the cod in the rich Artic waters. Houses with grass roofs, stunning scenery, snow over 10 foot deep, sandy beaches, reindeer, spectacular waterfalls, seals, but no whales I could bore you for weeks about it all, but the reason for this post is about none of that.
Norway is the home of the troll; there are many tales about them. The trolls would come out of their hiding places only after sunset, and they would disappear before the morning sun rose in the East. Direct exposure to the sun turns them into stone. On occasion the trolls would evidently forget to hide from the sun, and rock formations can today be found in various places with troll-like features. Their ability to transform themselves counts as one of the trolls many supernatural skills. However, they could not get rid of their tails. Hunters and farmers sons, who were lured to the mountains by these pretty maidens, would usually check for tails on their new-found beauties.
One of my favourite tales about Trolls is linked to the Trolls Path at the end of the Isterdal Valley. At the end of the Valley is the Trollstigheim – Trolls Mountain, to get to it you have to travel up the Trollstigen – Trolls Path. It mile of scary road, there are 11 very tight hairpin bends that work you up the 3,000ft; that is a 1:12 incline! The picture doesn’t really do it justice, it is something that needs to be experienced, but if I was to tell you that the photo was taken from inside the bus we were on, you can get an impression of how precarious the road is. The white blob in the lower left of the picture is a camper van which is a few bends further down the same road!
Anyway back to the story –
It is said that Raum the Old a very early king of Norway was not the most attractive of people. Everyone was scared of him, and try as he might he could not find himself a bride until one night while hunting up in the mountain he saw a beautiful young maiden.
Raum fell madly in love with her and soon there was a magnificent wedding ceremony, with other kings and princes and nobility invited. On their wedding night she became pregnant, but in the morning when Raum awoke and was horrified to discover that his beautiful new wife had a tail, she was a Hulder – a troll in human form. He didn’t know what to do, after all how could he, the king, admit to marrying a troll! So he decided that he would install the King’s privilege and sleep in his own rooms until he could work out a way of getting rid of her. Soon it became obvious she was pregnant and in time she gave birth to a daughter Bryngard. Who ended up marrying King Alf the Old, she was not a beauty and was renowned for being somewhat large and brutish. After she gave birth the Hulder returned back to her own people but Raum could never quite get over her and it is said that he built the first Trolls Path so he could go and visit her on occasions!
Whether or not he did it didn’t stop him also having three illegitimate sons by Bergdís the sister of a giant and then another four legitimate sons to Hild – a human – whom he married.