Look at them, troll mother said. Look at my so...
Look at them, troll mother said. Look at my sons! You won’t find more beautiful trolls on this side of the moon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Grandfather…”

“Oh, yes.  A story.  Did I tell you the one about…”

“Twelve.”

“Can we just agree you say ‘Twleve’ to yourself at the start of each story?  I’ll pretend I’ve heard it.”

“Do you promise to behave as if you’ve heard it?”

“If you promise to say it to yourself each time, yes.”

“Very well.  Let us begin again.  Grandfather…”

“Oh, yes. A story. Did I tell you the one about the time I was forced to act as a waiter to a tribe of trolls?”

“That sounds disgusting.”

“It was.  They ate horsemeat mostly, and I had to drag it into the faerie mound. Their threat was that if they ever reached for food and it was not close to hand, they’d eat me.  They’d pop off my head and eat it like crunching a nut.”

“Disgusting.  So, how did you escape?”

“Oh, it was very difficult.  As I took away their knives each night, I ran them along the stone floors, so that they were blunted.  Over time, the ogres became so mad that they cursed and threw their knives. As they looked around, they spied me peeling an apple with my knife.”

“Your steel knife?”

“Yes.  They demanded to know what animal this odd bone came from, and I told them it was the bone of a god, but there were many gods, and the humans had many such bones.  It was important not to cut yourself eating though, because iron is poison to faeries…”

“It’s poison to faeries?”

“Oh, yes.”

“So, what’s their armour made from?”

“Glamour.  Magic.  Faerie Iron is just faerie stuff that looks like iron.  Real iron harms and binds faeries.”

“Really?”

“Yes, you just hold it and say “Faerie, by this iron I’m holding, I demand you do as I say!””

“Really?”

“Yes, indeed.  You know this already.”

“I find it implausible.  Why couldn’t you just hold a piece and force the faeries to let you go.”

“No, it really works, but you need to own the iron.   Try it sometime. Try to command a faere and then you’ll be sure it works.”

“A good idea.  Anyway, the ogres?”

“Oh, yes, one died when he cut his lip on an iron bearded shovel, but the rest quickly reground tools to make themselves blades. So, one night, when the ogres had begun a feast, I made sure their wine was not watered properly, and in time they fell to fighting, and then to sleep.”

“And then you made your escape?”

“Yes. I stole their new knives, and used them to bar the door of the faerie barrow., and fled into the night, with their treasure.”

“Wait. Why couldn’t they just knock the new blades aside with…a broom or something?”

“All of the things in a faerie barrow are part of the faerie that owns the barrow.”

“Then why didn’t barring the door kill the faerie which owned the door?”

“Really child, this is not how these stories should be listened to.”

“There’s a hole in the plot, though.  Why didn’t the faeries just remove the bar?”

“Faeries are more limited than people. They are stuck in their own little stories and roles, most of the time.  The trolls didn’t have a way of breaking out of their own story.”

“That’s horrible.”

“Yes, child.  And now, a moral…”

“Does it have something to do with being careful who is giving you wine?”

“Um…No?”

“You promised!”

“Not all morals are for immediate use! Some are life lessons to look back upon when you are older!”

“Oh, you are so frustrating at times!  Time for your nap!”

* * *

“Grandmother?  The troll story?”

“Oh, child, eat first.”

“No, I want to know.”

“Very well. Most faeries can’t break out of their stories, as you have been told.”

“Yes.”

“So, if the trolls were in a story where every morning they went to the mountains, to seek gemstones…”

“They’d just get stuck inside, not doing anything, forever.  Do they even think when they are like that?”

“Oh, child, think of your grandfather’s barricade less as a door and more as, well, swords…”

“Swords across a doorway!  Sharp edge out?”

“Yes.”

“And they just can’t help trying to march through the door?”

“Such is their nature.”

“You’re right: I don’t feel hungry anymore.”

“Now, child, you must try to eat your supper. For me.”

“Yes, Grandmother.

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2 replies on “The Story In Which A Tribe of Trolls Is Trapped Briefly

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