Chapter 1- Troll Sighted
As Aldar walked into the town square on his way to play some darts at the pub he saw, Dafri, the newsboy waving a copy of the “ Elvesvik Weekly News” and loudly exclaiming, “Extra,Extra, read all about it: Troll Sighted in Norway.” It was so infrequent that trolls were ever seen, that many of the elves no longer believed they existed. A troll sighting in Norway, even though it was across the sea from Iceland where Aldar lived, was big news.
“When did that happened?”asked Aldar
“You will have to buy a copy to find out. I am after all SELLING newspapers and not giving the news out for free.”
Aldar shrugged his shoulders and gave Dafri the 40 Icelandic Kona for a copy of the newspaper.
Two elves who live near Oslo claim to have seen a troll running through the forest. It was described as much larger than most humans, with a heavy muscular build. It’s color was a brownish earth tone, and it was carrying a large club. “Definitely not a being you would want to invite to join you for a beer at the pub,” the elves were quoted as saying. The two elves, who refused to give their names, swore they had not had anything to drink of an alcoholic nature nor had they eaten any funny mushrooms prior to the sighting. The newspaper went on to say:
Our town of Elvesvik can consider itself fortunate that the famous elf Prof. Margit Moe, of the Olso Institute for Study of Legendary People, is scheduled to speak at the library lecture hall this coming Tuesday at 7:00 P.M. She will be presenting her talk in English, which if you had not been sleeping in class, you should have all learned at school. Because of the interest generated by the recent troll sighting, you are advised to come early if you want a good seat.
Aldar arrived early and got a front row seat. Soon the room was filled with elves of all ages. When Elevsvik’s well loved Mayor Herta came to the podium, everyone applauded.
“Ladies and gentle elves, tonight I have the honor of presenting Professor Margit Moe, author The Evolution of Elves, which I am sure you learned about in school. She will speak tonight about the two months she spent living among trolls in one of their villages in a remote part of Norway. During her stay at the village she was able to learn all about their behavior and social structures. So with no further ado, let me introduce, direct from Norway, the renowned Professor Margit Moe!”
People clapped as thin Professor Moe made her way up to the podium with the aid of a heavy cane made of twisted wood. Her long grey hair was too thin to conceal her pointed elf ears which appeared unusually large. Herskin was very wrinkled which was an indication that during her long lifetime, she had spent a lot of time outdoors.
“Hello fellow elves. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to speak to you tonight. I especially want to thank Elvesvik’s Mayor Herta and her husband Donal for their kind hospitality in hosting my stay here in your lovely Iceland town of Elvesvik.
“I am sure that you all are eager to hear what I have to say about the recent troll sighing in Norway. I don’t know of any trolls having come to Iceland, so you really don’t have to worry. As for that matter, neither do the elves of Norway. Unless provoked, mainly by humans, trolls are quite harmless. I believe the troll that was spotted had awakened early from its winter hibernation. It was probably a young male who wanted have a chance to explore on his own before his family had woken up. I am sure he meant no harm. I did caution the Norwegian elves not to let the sighting be known to humans. Humans, you see, are sure to go hunting for it. If they did find it, they would either shoot it or capture it for study, and it would end up living the rest of its life displayed in a zoo.
Last year I was fortunate enough to have spent two months living in a troll village, where I learned much about their society.
“How ever did she manage that?” Aldar whispered to Mayor Herta who was sitting next to him.
Prof. Moe’s sharp ears heard the question. “You might wonder how I was able to do this,” she said glancing down at Aldar. “Before my stay in their village, little was known of trolls. Oh yes, there were plenty of stories all right, but these were just things that people had mostly made up. It was hard to tell what was true and what was just a product of some author’s imagination. In my search for the truth about trolls, I had spent several weeks looking for them in the far off places of Norway. As I was searching berry bushes to look for traces of picking by trolls, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I can’t tell you how terrified I was! I turned around to see a woman troll looking at me with a big smile on her face. I wasn’t sure if this was a good sign or a bad one. She picked me up by the collar, and carried me to her village. The male trolls were all off somewhere, but the females were sitting around enjoying tea and eating cake. She plopped me down with them. The trolls seemed to have learned a little bit of highly accented Norwegian. What they all seemed to be saying was ,”søt liten alv dame” which in Norwegian means ‘Cute little elf lady.’ I soon learned that I did not have to worry about being put into a cooking pot. Trolls would never think of eating any of the creatures that you and I would not eat. So I became the ‘cute little elf lady.’ They never did ask my real name for the whole two months I was with them. Unlike we elves, they are not very talkative creatures.
“So here are the main things I learned about them. They live mostly as hunters and gatherers in small settlements. Each settlement is made up of one big extended family. This family can extend through many generations with great, great, great, great grandparents all still living. As long as trolls spend enough time in winter hibernation, they can live over 1,000 years.
“The male trolls grow to around 8 feet tall and the females about 7 feet. I found them to be gentle giants who are kind to one another. Once and awhile, one of the younger ones, probably like the one sighted a couple of days ago, goes off on its own for a while. This is frowned upon by the older trolls, because they realize it can cause trouble. What kind of trouble you might ask?
“In addition to the problem or being shot or captured there is another danger. Let me explain this further. Trolls are rather naive creatures and have a tendency to believe just about anything they hear. If they are commanded to do something, particularly by a human, they will perform the task and continue to do so no matter what the outcome might be. You might compare this with a robot who gets out of control.”
Aldar thought about the time that he mother purchased an automatic floor sweeper. It worked very well until it attempted to scoop up the cat’s tail. It got a good grip on the poor creature’s tail and would not let go. Aldar pushed the OFF button, but the machine still kept pulling on the screaming cat’s tail. Finally his mother had to grab the terrified cat and hold it upside down so that Aldar could turn over the machine and pull out the battery. Needless to say,as soon as the cat got its tail free, it ran off and wasn’t seen again for three months.
Professor Moe continued, “While I was in the settlement the trolls told me about Yavo, a troll who disappeared from their village over 400 years ago. His family misses him very much and still hopes that someday he will return.
“Now ladies and gentle elves, when I learned about this as well as the idea of a robot out of control, I came up with a possible explanation for the Golem of Prague.
The elves in the audience all had questioning looks on their faces.
“You probably are not familiar with the story. The story takes place around 400 years ago in the City of Prague, which is now part of the country called the Czech Republic. It is about a creature called a golem. The story says that the golem had been made out of clay by a famous Prague Rabbi. For those of you who may not know, a rabbi is for Jewish people sort of like a minister or a priest is for Christian People. The description of this golem sounds very much like it could be our lost troll. At first it performed his human assigned job perfectly and stopped some bad people from doing evil things, but then it wouldn’t stop and started to try to harm everyone else whether they were bad or good. When the golem got out of control, the Rabbi shut it down and stored it in the attic of their synagogue. A synagogue, if you do not know, is a place where Jewish people meet and pray— like a church is for Christian people. I believe I can make a good case that the clay colored creature of the story was really our lost troll. Trolls will usually only wake up when they hear the birds singing in spring, so if he could not hear the birds when he was put into the attic, or if the Rabbi had plugged up his ears, the troll could be in hibernation to this very day.
“After living with the trolls for so long, I can appreciate how much they love their family members. It is heartening that even after over 400 years the troll family has not given up hope on the troll returning. I only wish I had a way of finding it so I could restore it to his home before something bad happens to it, but alas, I am now too old to attempt such a venture.” she said with a sniffle.
Prof. Moe’s talk was well received by the audience. Afterwards several elves went up to her for autographs.
After most of the elves had left, Aldar approached,“Prof. Moe, it seems like you really would like to find the troll.”
“Yes,very much so. But you see I can no longer disguise myself as a human. I am too old, and there is too much of danger that I might be exposed as an elf. If the troll were hidden somewhere here in Iceland, it would be no problem. So many humans here believe in elves, that I am sure I would be protected, but Prague or just about anywhere outside of Scandinavia is another matter. “
“I went to America a couple of years ago and no one except a boy who I was helping overcome bullying at school, ever learned that I was an elf. At four feet tall, the humans all thought I was a ten year old boy.” said Aldar.
“You had no trouble then?”
“ Only that the girls all seemed to think I was the cutest thing on earth. I’m not sure if that is trouble or not, but it did make me feel uncomfortable.”
Most courageous of elves, what is your name?”
“ My name is Aldar Sigurdsson and I’m 18 years old. I would be very pleased if I could lend my services to help find the lost troll.”
“Oh, you must be the Aldar that Mayor Herta and Donal told me about at dinner earlier tonight. They told me how you stood by the leprechaun family when they moved here from Ireland, even though just about everyone else in town believed the bad rumors they had heard about the leprechaun elves.”
Aldar blushed a little, “Yah, I guess that was me.”
“Well, Aldar, I can’t think of a more qualified elf who I could ask to do this task. But I caution you, it won’t be easy, and there will be many dangers for you. It is entirely possible that you may never find the troll at all.
After Aldar assured her that he still wanted to make the trip and that he was sure that it would be OK with his family, she agreed to pay all of Aldar’s travel expenses.
She gave some instructions in case he did find the hibernating troll. ” As I mentioned, trolls naturally wake up when they hear the spring birds singing. You might be able to wake him up if you say ‘Yavo ,Dine mødre har gjort noen cookies,’ which translates from Norwegian as ‘Yavo, your mother has made some cookies.’ ” However after many years of hibernation, the spring birds will probably be the only way to awake the sleeping fellow.
Prof.Moe had some business cards made for him which said:
Personal Representative of
Professor Marget Moe
Oslo Institute for the Study of Legendary Peoples
Thanks to the “Friends of the Elves,” a group of humans dedicated to helping the Iceland elves, Aldar had no trouble getting a passport.
Aldar’s mother wiped away tears, as his family all wished him good luck and safe travel. With one last wave to everyone, Aldar wearing a hat the covered his pointed ears, was off to the airport with tickets to the distant city of Prague in his pocket.