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2011

Troll Flora

Many plants and natural phenomena have since prehistoric times been associated with the supernatural world, some because of their danger, others because of their aesthetic or unaesthetic appearance, some connected to myths/folklore. Here are a few such plants either related to trolls or containing the word "troll" in its wider sense in their names:

Troll Berry, at least in Swedish known as Trollbär (Lat. Solanum Dulcamara).
It is not to be eaten.


(from Kotimaan Luonto Opas)

And here a mushroom (Fuligo septica) known as "Troll Butter"

troll_butter
(picture copyright www.ne.se)

As mentioned by Ebbe Schön in Svensk Folktro A-Ö this mushroom was once believed to be butter spillt during evil witches' "magical milking" intended to drain the farmers' milk cows of their milk. The "troll" element in this name thus refers to magic rather than to the troll creature.

Trolls and Christmas

Christmas (or Yule) in old Scandinavia was a magical night, a night when late ancestors and the supernaturals were particularly active, you could hear them move around in the dark around the house, sometimes even sneaking in to steal the bountiful supplies of Christmas food. It was even common for trolls to come and offer some powerful troll tools for a barrel of Christmas mead.
But everything was magical during Christmas. Traditions stretching back to Viking times persisted, including the ancient sacrifice of a horse to the gods that with time had changed to the sacrificial consumption of porc - and today turkey. And sharing the Christmas bread, made from different grains from last year, was one of the main events during the Christmas meal. A small slice of the bread was kept till next spring where it was spread over the fields, so the magic of 'Christmas could ensure a good crop. Likewish, some of the water used for cleaning the floors before covering them with hay was kept for next Spring because of its magical powers.
No wonder the Church disapproved of these practises. Even today, there are priests who oppose the presence of pixies, but it is a losing battle. Christmas still belongs to the magical world.


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