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Thread: The Child of the All-Mother - A Norse Fairy Tale

  1. #11
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    The Troll and Farmer Brown


    Farmer Brown was working in his field one day. He worked all day until the evening began to draw on.

    'Time to head home,' he told himself, and stepped out for his stead.

    On his way home, he saw a heap of burning coals in the middle of one of his fields. Surprised, he went over to investigate further.

    As he arrived up at the heap of coals, he discovered a figure sitting on it. The figure was all in black, a lean character, his hair glimmering red in the last light of the setting sun.

    The farmer sensed something uncanny about him. He suspected this chap might be a troll – and he knew there was no love lost between trolls and men.

    He glanced about, looking for other trolls in mischief, but there was nobody else.

    Clearing his throat, Farmer Brown said, 'Are you comfortable there?'

    'To tell you the truth, I am,' replied the troll, smoothly, examining his nails.

    'But how can you be sitting there in comfort? Those coals look red hot to me!'

    'These aren't red-hot coals,' replied the troll. 'Look again.'

    Farmer Brown blinked and rubbed his eyes. Sure, enough, they weren't red-hot coals, but instead the troll sat on a shining spider's web, glistening with drops of dew, glimmering like a net of stars in the gloaming.

    'That's very curious,' said Farmer Brown. 'What's it all mean?'

    'It means that I am sitting on a treasure,' replied the troll, smiling and showing his square, misshapen teeth.

    'You are sitting on a treasure?' repeated Farmer Brown.

    'Yes, sir, you better believe it,' replied the troll. 'Here lies the ancient treasure of Loki. Just like him it's of a shape-shifty character. This is the treasure which Loki conned from the Nibelungs, and it contains more gold and silver than you have ever seen in your life.'

    'The treasure lies in my field,' said Farmer Brown, 'and by the laws of treasure trove, that means it belongs to me.'

    'It can be yours,' answered the troll, 'if you can find it.'

    Farmer Brown blinked again and there was nothing there, except a great big hole in the ground. When he peered down into it he could hear serpents hissing at the bottom.

    'It changes shape when it feels like it,' explained the troll. 'Naturally, it's only worth anything when it's gold and silver. I, however, know the secret of keeping it gold and gemstones. Which I might be prepared to tell you.'

    'For a consideration, no doubt,' said Farmer Brown, frowning darkly, edging back from the snake pit.

    The troll smiled and tried to look business-like and reasonable. 'All you have to do, Farmer Brown, is – for the next two years, you have to give me one half of everything your field produces. I am quite well fixed as far as money goes. I have always had a hankering to be a farmer, a tiller of the soil, but being a troll, I can't show myself in daylight.'

    Farmer Brown stroked his beard. 'One half of everything this field produces, you say?'

    The troll nodded and glanced at the snake pit – it was no longer a hole in the ground filled with venomous reptiles. It was now a mound of precious stones and gold coins, twinkling like a veritable mountain of heaped up stars.

    Farmer Brown gulped on a dry throat. 'It's a deal.'

    They shook hands solemnly on their business venture.

    Then Farmer Brown added: 'I hope we don't fall out over this. I think we should split the produce in this manner: everything that is above ground will go to you, and everything under the earth goes to me.'

    The troll scratched his head. 'Well, I'm new to this farming lark, and I'm prepared to accept advice. If you were me would you take this deal?'

    'There's no way you can lose,' said Farmer Brown, smiling amiably.

    The troll nodded. 'All right. When do we divide the harvest?'

    'Come back in six months' time,' replied Farmer Brown, 'and you can have all the turnips you can eat.'

    'Oh, turnips,' cooed the troll. 'I like the sound of this already.'

    With that, the troll walked off into the darkness and the treasure of Loki turned into a big rock of granite. Farmer Brown touched it – it was quite as hard and gritty as he expected it to be. He patted it fondly and said, 'Don't go away now, y'hear?'

    When planting time came, Farmer Brown sowed the field with turnips as he had promised.

    Harvest time came, the troll appeared and wanted to take away his crop.

    'What's all this!' he cried, full of dismay.

    He discovered that his bargain meant that all he was going to get were the yellow withered leaves – the only part of a turnip that shows above the ground!

    Farmer Brown chuckled in delight, for he was digging up his lovely plump, round turnips.

    The troll narrowed his eyes in suspicion. 'You have had the best of it for once, but the next time that won't do. What grows above ground shall be yours, and what is under it, mine.'

    'That suits me,' replied Farmer Brown with a merry twinkle.

    When the time came to sow, Farmer Brown did not sow turnips. This time he put in wheat. The grain ripened, and Farmer Brown went out and cut the golden stalks down to the ground.

    When the troll came, he found nothing but the stubble, and went away in a fury down into a cleft in the rocks.

    'That is the way to cheat a troll!' exclaimed Farmer Brown. He glanced over at the granite boulder and it had changed into a mass of gold and jewels.

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

  2. #12
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    The Fox and the Horse


    A farmer had a faithful horse that had grown old and could do no more work. He said to the horse:

    “I can certainly make no more use of you, but still I mean well by you. If you prove yourself still strong enough to bring me a wolf here, I will maintain you, but now take yourself away out of my stable.”

    With that he chased his horse into the open country. The horse was sad, and went to the forest to seek a little protection there from the weather.

    There a fox met him and said:

    “Why the long face? Why do you hang your head so, and go about so alone?

    “Alas,” replied the horse, “avarice and fidelity do not dwell together in one house. My master has forgotten what services I have performed for him for so many years, and because I can no longer plough well, he will give me no more food, and has driven me out.”

    “Without giving you a chance?” asked the fox.

    “The chance was a bad one. He said, if I was still strong enough to bring him a wolf, he would keep me, but he knows I can’t do that.”

    The fox said, “I will help you, just lay yourself down, stretch yourself out as if you were dead, and do not stir.”

    The horse did as the fox desired, and the fox went to the wolf, who had his den not far off, and said:

    “A dead horse is lying nearby, just come with me, you can have a rich meal.”

    The wolf went with him, and when they were both standing by the horse, the fox said:

    “Y’know, it’s just occurred to me this not very convenient for you here.” He scratched his head. “I tell you what - I will fasten the horse to you by the tail, and then you can drag it into your cave, and devour it in peace.”

    “That’s a very good idea,” said the wolf. “I have often had to eat my dinner in uncomfortable places. This could be a change to the whole way I dine.”

    The wolf lay down, and in order that the fox might tie the horse fast to him, he kept quite quiet. But the fox tied the wolf's legs together with the horse's tail, and twisted and fastened all so well and so strongly that no strength could break it. When the fox had finished his work, he tapped the horse on the shoulder and said:

    “Pull, white horse, pull!”

    Then up sprang the horse at once, and drew the wolf away with him. The wolf began to howl so that all the birds in the forest flew out in terror, but the horse let him howl, and drew him and dragged him over the country to his master's door.

    When the master saw the wolf, he was of a better mind, and said to the horse:

    “You shall stay with me and fare well,” and he gave him plenty to eat until he died.

    Based on The Fox and the Horse

    Source
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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