Work in progress | SMÅLAND | Trollen | The Trolls

Mother, on paper 2000, in my mind early childhood


The evening draws on apace now, The night will be dark and drear;
I ought to go up to my place now, But ’tis pleasanter far down here.

’Mid the peaks where the snow-storm is yelling, ’Tis lonely and empty and cold;
But ’tis merry where people are dwelling, In the beautiful dale’s green fold.

And I think that when I was last here, A princess wondrously fair,
With gold on her head went past here; She’d be food for a month, I swear!

The rest fled, for none dared linger, But they turned when far off to cry,
While each of them pointed a finger: “What a great, nasty troll! oh, fie!”

But the princess, friendly and mild-eyed, Gazed up at me, object of fright,
Though I must have looked evil and wild-eyed, And her friends had all taken to flight.

Next time I will kiss her and hold her, Though ugly of mouth am I,
And cradle and lull on my shoulder, Saying: ”Bye, little sweet-snout, bye!

And into a sack I’ll get her, And take her home with me straight,
And then at Yule I will eat her, Served up on a fine gold plate.

But hum, a-hum, but come, come, come! Who’d look at me then so kindly?
I’m a dullard surely - a-hum, a-hum! -, To think the thing out so blindly.

These Christian children are tender, As lambs; we’re but trolls, are we,
And for eating, when luck seemed to send her, ’Twould be hard to let her be.

And yet things easily move us, Though we’re lonely and wicked and dull,
Some teaching would surely improve us, And get through even my old skull.

Gustaf Fröding, 1896 (translation: C.W. Stork, 1916)