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The Resslared Trolls

In a mountain called Räfvakullen, Fox Hill, near the present Church of Resslared, in Vestergötland, Trolls, it is said, have lived since long before the building of the original Troth Hall.

When the Hall was completed and the bell hung in the tower, the Vitki, as was the custom, proceeded to recite charms over it to protect it from the power of the Trolls. But his words lacked the expected efficacy, for he had not yet finished when the Trolls took the bell and sunk it into what is now known as the "Troll Hole" near the present-day building.

A new bell was cast and hung, and this time the Drighten of the Vale, who was more learned in the ways of magick, was selected to consecrate it. The drighten also failed to hit upon the right charms, for at the blot on Sunnadag, when the bell was about to be used for the first time, it flew through the apertures in the tower and was broken into many fine pieces upon the roof of the hall.

Again a bell was cast, and this time, as both the vitki and the drighten seemed to be powerless against the Trolls, the Goðhi of Skara was sent for, well known for his troth with the gods. His charms and offerings were truly effectual, and the bell was not ever disturbed again.

The Trolls thereafter dwelt in harmony with their neighbors, and especially with the samfélag of Resslared. From the latter the Trolls were wont to borrow food and drink upon occassion, which they always returned two-fold at the most opportune times and always full of kind words.

In time the first residents died off, and a new people took their places. The newcomers were well provided with this world's goods by the Trolls, even to being wealthy, but they were uncharitable in return.

One day the "mother" of the Trolls went, as was her custom of old, to a cottage in the district, and asked the wife of the house if she could lend her a measure of meal.

"No, that is out of the question! I have none in the house!" said the woman of the house in such a tone as to insult even the kindest of hearts.

"Very well! It is as you say, of course" replied the Troll mother, "but maybe you can lend me a can or two of ale. My husband is away, and he will be very thirsty when he returns," she then stated.

"No, I can't do that. My ale cans are all empty," answered the housewife most hastily.

"Very good! Maybe you can lend me a little milk for my little child that is sick in the mountain," the mother then asked in the kindest of voices.

"Milk! Where should I get milk? My cows are all farrow," said the wife.

"Very well," resigned the Troll woman, and went on her way.

The housewife then proceeded to laughed in her sleeve, and thought that she had escaped the Trolls cheaply; but when she inspected her larder it was found that she had really told the truth to the Troll woman. The meal boxes were swept clean, the ale barrels were empty, and the new milch cows, to the last one, was farrow. Ever after that, the plenty that had here-to-fore been in the land was wanting, until finally the people were compelled to sell out and move away.

Source: Scandinavian Folk and Fairy Tales: 1936


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