Skalle - a troll story

Here follows a summary of a troll story from Axel Olrik's Danish collection of traditional fairytales, Danske Sagn og Æventyr fra Folkemunde (1913), illustrated by Niels Skovgaard (1922):


There was a farm in Eskildstrup, Denmark, which for a few years had had many owners. Either they died shortly after moving there or they became indebted and were thrown out by the local squire. Then came a new man. That evening when he entered the gates of the farm, he said "Good evening, Skalle" ("Flakey"), because the farm looked very bare. "Evening," a voice said from above the gateway. The unmarried farmer replied: "If there is someone here whom I cannot see, then I invite that person to be my guest on the night before Christmas Eve.

On the night before Christmas Eve the troll came just as the farmer had finished tending to his animals in the stable, but still had not lit the candles in the house. "Evening and a merry feast," said the troll. "Who are you," asked the farmer? "I am the one you invited to be your guest tonight." "Then please sit down and have some food." The troll sat down and started eating. "Now I will ask you to be my guest on the night before New Year's Eve," said the troll. "That is fine, but where do you live?" "Just go outside your stable door and you will find me."

On the night before New Year's Eve the man went outside the stable door and followed the troll down to his home. It looked nice and pretty, he thought. Now the troll begged him to eat. He sat down and they started eating their rice pudding. But just as they were eating, the troll snatched the plate off the table. The farmer was a little surprised and asked: "Why did you do that?" "Don't you see that something is dripping down on the table, it comes from your stable. That is the reason why no-one can stay for long on this farm. But if you move the stable to another farm wing, then you will prosper here." The farmer followed the troll's advice and since then everything went well for him.

(Translation @Trollmoon)

Note: Similar stories are told about the Nisse/Tomte/Vætte. Trolls are not commonly associated with farms, but in real folklore these creatures are quite interchangable, especially in Southern Scandinavia.

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