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TEIKNING

Once on a time there was a poor man who had three sons. When he died, the two eldest were to go out into the world to try their luck; but as for the youngest, they would not have him at any price.

"As for you," they said, "you are fit for nothing but to sit and hold fir tapers and grub in the ashes and blow up the embers; that's what you are fit for."

"Well, well," said the Ashlad, "then I must go alone by myself. At any rate, I shan't fall out with my company."

So the two went their way; and when they had travelled some days, they came to a great wood. There they sat down to rest and were just going to take out a meal from their knapsack, for they were both tired and hungry. As they sat there, up came an old hag out of a hillock and begged for a morsel of meat. She was so old and feeble that her nose and mouth met, and she nodded with her head and could only walk with a stick. As for meat, she had not had, she said, a morsel in her mouth these hundred years.

But the lads only laughed at her and ate on, and told her as she had lived so long on nothing, she might very well hold out the rest of her life even though she did not eat up their scanty fare, for they had little to eat and nothing to spare.

So when they had eaten their fill and could eat no more and were quite rested, they went on their way again and sooner or later came to the king's grange, and there each of them got a place.

A while after they had started from home, the Ashlad gathered together the crumbs which his brothers had thrown aside, and put them into his little script, and he took with him the old gun which had no lock, for he thought it might be some good on the way. And so he set off. When he had wandered some days, he too came into the big wood that his brothers had passed through, and as he got tired and hungry, he sat down under a tree that he might rest and eat. But he had his eyes about him for all that, and as he opened his script, he saw a picture hanging on a tree, and on it was painted the likeness of a young girl or princess. He thought she was so lovely that he could not keep his eyes off her. So he forgot both food and script, and took down the painting and lay and stared at it. Just then came up the old hag out of the hillock. She hobbled along with her stick, her nose and mouth met, and her head nodded. She begged for a little food, for she had not had a morsel of bread in her mouth for a hundred years. That was what she said.

"Then it's high time you had a little to live on, granny," said the lad; and with that he gave her some of the crumbs he had. The old hag said no one had ever called her granny these hundred years, and she would be as a mother to him in her turn. Then she gave him a grey ball of wool. He only had to roll it before him and he would come to whatever place he wished. But as for the painting, she said he mustn't bother himself about that, he would only fall into ill luck if he did.

The Ashlad thought it was very kind of her to say that, but he could not bear to be without the painting. So he took it under his arm and rolled the ball of wool before him, and it was not long before he came to the king's grange where his brothers served. There he, too, begged for a place, but all the answer he got, was that they had nothing to put him to, for they had just got two new serving-men. But he begged on so prettily that at last he got leave to be with the coachman and learn how to groom and handle horses. That he was right glad to do, for he was fond of horses. He was both quick and ready, so he soon learnt how to bed and rub them down, and it was not long before everyone in the king's grange was fond of him. But every hour he had to himself he was up in the loft looking at the picture, for he had hung it up in a corner of the hayloft.

As for his brothers, they were dull and lazy, and so they often got scolding and stripes; and when they saw that the Ashlad fared better than they, they got jealous of him and told the coachman he was a worshipper of false gods, for he prayed to a picture and not to our Lord.

Now, even though the coachman thought well of the lad, still he wasn't long before he told the king what he had heard. But the king only swore and snapped at him, for he had grown very, very sad and sorrowful since his daughters had been carried off by trolls. But they so dinned it into the king's ears, that at last he must and would know what it was that the lad did. But when he went up into the hayloft and set his eyes on the picture, he saw that it was his youngest daughter who was painted on it. But when the brothers of the Ashlad heard that, they were ready with an answer, and said to the coachman

"If our brother only would, he has said he was good to get the king's daughter back."

You may fancy it was not long before the coachman went to the king with this story; and when the king heard it he called for the Ashlad, and said,

"Your brothers say you can bring back my daughter again, and now you must do it."

The Ashlad answered that he had never known it was the king's daughter till the king said so himself, and if he could free her and fetch her, he would be sure to do his best; but two days he must have to think over it and fit himself out. Yes, he might have two days.

So the Ashlad took the grey ball of wool and threw it down on the road, and it rolled and rolled before him, and he followed it till he came to the old hag from whom he had got it. Her he asked what he must do; and she said he must take with him that old gun of his, and three hundred chests of nails and horseshoe brads, and three hundred barrels of barley, and three hundred barrels of grits, and three hundred carcasses of pigs, and three hundred beeves, and then he was to roll the ball of wool before him till he met a raven and a baby troll, and then he would be all right, for they were both of her stock.

Yes, the lad did as she bade him; he went right on to the king's grange and took his old gun with him, and he asked the king for the nails and the brads, and meat and flesh, and grain, and for horses and men, and carts to carry them in. The king thought it was a good deal to ask, but if he could only get his daughter back, he might have whatever he chose, even to the half of his kingdom.

When the lad had fitted himself out, he rolled the ball of wool before him again, and he hadn't gone many days before he came to a high hill, and there sat a raven up in a fir-tree. So the Ashlad went on till he came close under the tree, and then he began to aim and point at the raven with his gun.

"No, no," cried the raven; "don't shoot me, don't shoot me, and I'll help you."

"Well," said the Ashlad, "I never heard of anyone who boasted he had eaten roast raven, and since you are so eager to save your life, I may just as well spare it."

He threw down his gun, and the raven came flying down to him and said,

"Here, up on this mountain there is a baby troll walking up and down, for he has lost his way, and cannot get down again. I will help you up, and then you can lead him home and ask a boon which will stand you in good stead. When you get to the troll's house, he will offer you all the grandest things he has, but you should not heed them a pin. Mind you take nothing else but the little grey donkey which stands behind the stable door."

Then the raven took the Ashlad on his back and flew up on the hill with him, and put him off there.

When he had gone about on it a bit, he heard the baby troll howling and whining, because it couldn't get down again. The lad talked kindly to it, and they got the best friends in the world, and he said he would help it down and guide it to the old troll's house, that it mightn't lose itself on the way back. Then they went to the raven, and he took them both on his back, and carried them off to the house of the hill troll.

And when the old troll saw his baby, he was so glad that he was beside himself, and told the Ashlad he might come indoors and take whatever he chose because he had freed his child. Then they offered him both gold and silver and all that was rare and costly; but the lad said he would rather have a horse than anything else. Yes, he should have a horse, the troll said, and off they went to the stable. It was full of the grandest horses. Their coats shone like the sun and moon, but the Ashlad thought they were all too big for him. So he peeped behind the stable door, and when he set eyes on the little grey donkey that stood there, he said,

"I'll take this one. It will suit me to a T, and if I fall off, I shall be no farther from the ground than that high."

The old troll did not at all like to part with his donkey, but as he had given his word, he had to stand by it. So the Ashlad got the donkey, and saddle, and bridle, and all that belonged to it, and then he set off. They travelled through wood and field, and over mountains and wide wastes. So when they had gone farther than far, the donkey asked the Ashlad if he saw anything.

"No, I see nothing else than a hill, which looks blue in the distance," said the Ashlad.

"Oh," said the donkey, "that hill we have to pass through."

"All very fine, I dare say," said the Ashlad, for he didn't believe a word of it.

When they got close to the hill a unicorn came tearing along at them, just as if he were going to eat them up all alive.

"I almost think I'm afraid now," said the Ashlad.

"Oh," said the donkey, "don't say so; just throw it a score or so of beeves, and ask it to bore a hole and break a way for us through the hill."

The Ashlad did as he was told, and when the unicorn had eaten his fill, they said they would give him a score or two of pigs' carcasses if he would go before them and bore a hole in the hill, so that they might get through it. When the unicorn heard that, he set to work and bored the hole, and broke a way so fast that they had hard work to keep up with him, and when he had done his work they threw him two score of pigs.

When they had got well out of that, they travelled far away till they passed again through woods and fields, and across mountains and wide wastes.

"Do you see anything now?" asked the donkey.

"Now I see nothing but the bare sky and wild mountains," said the Ashlad.

So they travelled on far and farther than far, and the higher up they came, the mountain got smoother and flatter, so that they could see farther about them.

"Do you see anything now?" said the donkey.

"Yes, I see something far, far away," said the Ashlad, "and it gleams and twinkles like a little star."

"It's not so very little, for all that," said the donkey.

So when they had gone on farther and farther than far again, the donkey asked again,

"Do you see anything now?"

"Yes," said the Ashlad, "I see something a long way off that shines like a moon."

"It is no moon," said the donkey, "but the silver castle we are bound for. Now, when we get there you will see three dragons lying on the watch before the gate. They have not been awakened for hundreds of years, and so the moss has grown over their eyes."

"I almost think I shall be afraid of them," said the Ashlad.

"Oh, don't say that," said the donkey; "you've only got to wake up the youngest, and throw it a score or so of beeves and swine, and then it will talk to the others, and so you'll come into the castle."

On they travelled, far and farther than far again, before they came up to the castle. When they reached it, it was both grand and great, and everything they saw was cast in silver, and outside the gate lay the dragons and blocked up the way so that no one could get in. But they had a nice easy time of it and had not been much troubled in their watch, for they were so overgrown with moss that no one could tell what they were made of, and at their sides underwood was springing up between the tufts of moss.

The Ashlad woke up the youngest of them, and it began to rub its eyes and clear the moss out of them. But when the dragon saw there were folks there, he came at them with his maw wide agape. Then the lad stood ready and tossed into it the carcasses of beeves and swung after them salted swine, till the dragon had got his fill and grew a little more sensible to talk to. Then the lad asked him if he would wake up his fellows and ask them to be so good as to get out of the way so that he might get into the castle, but the dragon neither would nor dared to do that at first, for he said they had not been awake or tasted anything for hundreds of years, and he was afraid they should get raving mad and swallow up everything, alive or dead.

But the Ashlad thought there was no need to fear that, for they could leave behind them a hundred carcasses of beeves and a hundred salt swine and go a little way off, and then the dragons would have time to eat their fill and to come to themselves before the others came back to the castle.

Yes, the dragon was ready to do that, and so they did it. And before the dragons were well awake and got the moss rubbed off their eyes, they went about roaring and raving, and riving and rending at everything alive or dead, so that the youngest dragon had enough to do to shield himself from them till they had snuffed up the smell of flesh. Then they swallowed down whole oxen and swine, and ate and ate till they were full. And after that they were just as tame and buxom as the youngest, and let the Ashlad pass between them into the castle.

When he got inside, it was all so grand, he never could have thought anything could be so good anywhere. But there was not a soul in it, for he went from room to room and opened all the doors, but he could see no one. Well, at last he peeped through a door that led to a bedroom that he had not noticed before, and in there sat a princess spinning, and she was so glad and happy when she saw him.

"No, no," she cried; "can it be that humans dare to come here? But it will be best for you to be off again, or else the troll might kill you, for you must know a troll with three heads lives here."

But the Ashlad said he would not fly, even if the troll had seven heads. When the princess heard that, she said she wished him to try if he could brandish the great rusty word that hung behind the door. No, he could not brandish it; he could not so much as even lift it.

"Ah!" said the princess, "if you can't do that, you must take a drink of that flask over there, the one that hangs by the side of the sword, for that's what the troll does when he goes out to use it."

So the Ashlad took two or three drinks, and then he could brandish the sword as though it were a rolling-pin.

Just then came the troll, so that the wind sung after him.

"Hu!" he screeched out, "what a smell of human blood there is in here."

"I know there is," said the Ashlad, "but you needn't blow and snort so at it; you shan't suffer long from that smell," and in a trice he cut off all his heads.

The princess was so glad, just as if she had got something so good; but in a little while she got heavy-hearted, for she pined for her sister, who had been stolen by a troll with six heads and lived in a golden castle three hundred miles on this side of the world's end. The Ashlad thought that was not so very bad, for he could go and fetch both the princess and the castle. He took the sword and the flask and got on the donkey, and bade the dragons follow him and carry the meat, and grain and nails which he had.

When they had been a while on the way and had travelled far, far away over land and strand, the donkey said one day,

"Do you see anything?"

"I see nothing," said the Ashlad, "but land and water, and bare sky and high crags."

So they went on far and farther than far, and then the donkey said again,

"Do you see anything now?"

Yes, when he had looked well before him, he saw something a long, long way off. It shone like a little star.

"It will be big enough by-and-by," said the donkey.

When they had gone a good bit still, the donkey asked,

"Do you see anything now?"

"Now I see it shining like a moon," said the lad.

"Ay, ay!" said the donkey, and on they went.

So when they had gone far and farther than far, away over land and strand, and hill and heath, the donkey asked,

"Do you see anything now?"

"Now, methinks," said the Ashlad, "it shines almost like the sun."

"Ay," said the donkey, "that's the golden castle we are bound for; but outside it lives a worm that stops the way and keeps watch and ward."

"I think I shall be afraid of it," said the Ashlad.

"Oh, don't say so," said the donkey; "we must spread over it heaps of boughs, and lay between them layers of horseshoe brads and nails, and set fire to them all, and so we shall be rid of it."

So after a long, long time they came up to where the castle hung in the air, but the worm lay underneath it and stopped the way. So the lad gave the dragons a good meal of beeves and salted swine that they might help him, and they spread heaps of boughs and wood over the worm, and laid between them layers of nails and brads till they had used up the three hundred chests. When it was all done, they set fire to the pile and burned up the worm alive in a fire at white heat.

When they had done with him, one dragon flew under the castle and lifted it up, and the two others went up high, high into the air and unloosed the links and hooks that it hung by, and so they lowered it down and set it on the ground. When that was done the Ashlad went inside, and there it was grander far than in the silver castle, but he could see no folks till he came to the innermost room, and there lay a princess on a bed of gold. She slept so soundly as though she were dead. But she was not, even though he was not able to wake her up. Her face was as red and white as milk and blood. And just as the Ashlad stood there gazing at her, back came the troll tearing along. As soon as he put his first head through the door he screamed out

"Hu! What a smell of human blood there is in here."

"Maybe," said the Ashlad, "but you've no need to smell and snort about that; you shan't suffer long from it."

And with that he cut off all his heads, as though they stood on a kale-stalk.

So the dragons took the golden castle on their backs and went home with it. They were not long on the way, and soon they set it down side by side with the silver castle, so that it shone both far and wide.

Now, when the princess of the silver castle came to her window in the morning and caught sight of the other castle, she was so glad that she sprang over to the golden castle at once; but when she saw her sister lying there and sleeping as though she were dead, she said to the Ashlad that they would never get life into her before they found the water of life and death. That water was in two wells on either side of a golden castle that hung in the air too, nine hundred miles beyond the world's end, where the third sister dwelt.

Well, the Ashlad thought there was no help for it; he must go and fetch it, and it was not long before he was on his way. So he travelled far and farther than far through many realms, across wood and field, over mountain and firth, along hill and heath, and at last he got to the world's end. And after that he travelled far, far over crags and wastes and high rocks.

"Do you see anything?" asked the donkey one day.

"I see nothing but heaven and earth," said the lad.

"Do you see anything now?" asked the donkey again, when some days were past.

"Yes," said the Ashlad; "now I see something that glimmers very high up, far, far away like a little star."

"It's not so little, for all that," said the donkey.

So when they had travelled on a while, the donkey asked,

"Do you see anything now?"

"Yes," said the Ashlad; "now it shines like the sun."

"That's where we are bound," said the donkey; "it's the golden castle that hangs in the air, and there lives a princess who has been stolen by a troll with nine heads. But all the wild beasts there are in the world lie on watch and stop the way there."

"Uf!" said the Ashlad; "I almost think I'm afraid of them."

"Don't say so," said the donkey; and then he told him there was no danger if he would only make up his mind not to linger there, but to set off on his way back as soon as ever he had filled his flasks with the water, for there was no going there but during one hour in the day, and that began at high noon; but if he were not man enough to be ready in time and to get away, the beasts would tear him into a thousand pieces.

Well, the Ashlad said he would be sure to be fast; he would not think of staying too long.

At the stroke of twelve they reached the castle, and there lay all the wild and savage beasts that ever were, as it were a fence before the gate and on either side of the way. But they all slumbered like stocks and stones, and there wasn't one of them that so much as lifted a paw. So the Ashlad passed between them and took good heed not to tread on their toes or the tips of their tails, and he filled his flasks with the waters of life and death. While he did that, he looked up at the castle, which was as though it were cast in pure gold. It was the grandest he had ever seen, and he thought it would be grander still inside than out.

"Stuff!" thought the Ashlad; "I have time enough; I can always look about me in half-an-hour," and so he opened the door and went in. Well, inside it was grander than grand itself, and as he went out of one gorgeous room into another, it was as if it was all made of gold and pearls, and everything that was costliest in the world. Folk there were none; but at last he came into a bedroom where there lay another princess on a bed of gold, just as though she were dead too, but she was as grand as the grandest queen, and as red and white as blood on snow, and so lovely that he had never seen anything so lovely but her picture; for she it was that was painted on it.

Then the Ashlad forgot both the water he was to fetch, and the wild beasts, and the castle, and everything, and could only gaze at the princess. He thought he could never have his fill of looking at her; but all the while she slept as though she were dead, and he was not able to wake her up.

So when it drew towards evening, the troll came tearing along so that the wind sung after him, and he rattled and slammed the gates and doors till the whole castle rang again.

"Huf!" he cried, "what a strong smell of human blood there is in here;"and then he stuck his first head inside the door and snuffed up the air.

"I dare say there is," said the Ashlad, "but you have no need to puff and blow as though you were about to burst, for it shan't vex you long;" and as he said that, he cut off all his nine heads But when he had done that, he got so weary he couldn't keep his eyes open. So he laid him down on the bed by the side of the princess, and all the while she slept both night and day, as though she would never wake again; only at midnight she just woke up for the twinkling of an eye, and then she told him that he had set her free, but she must bide there three years still, and if she didn't come home to him, then he must just come and fetch her.

When the clock began to go towards one next day, the Ashlad woke for the first time, and the first thing he heard was the donkey braying and screaming and making a stir, and so he thought he would get up and set off home. But before he went he cut a breadth out of the princess's skirt, and took it away with him. And however it was, he had loitered so long there that the beasts began to wake and stir, and by the time he had mounted his donkey they stood in a ring round him, so that he thought it had rather a ghastly look. But the donkey said he must sprinkle on them a few drops of the water of death; and he did so, and in a trice they all fell headlong on the spot, and never stirred a limb any more.

As they were on their way home, the donkey said to the Ashlad,

"Now, when you come to honour and glory, see if you don't forget me and all I have done for you, so that I shall be broken-kneed for hunger."

"No, no, that should never be," said the lad.

So when he got home to the princess with the water of life, she sprinkled a few drops over her sister and woke her up, and then there was such great joy, and they were so happy.

Then they travelled home to the king, and he too was glad and joyful because he had got those two back; but still he went about longing and longing that the three years might pass away and his youngest daughter come home.

As for the Ashlad, who had brought them back, the king made him a mighty man, so that he was the first in the land after the king himself. But there were many who were jealous that he should have grown to be such a man of mark, and one of them was Ritter Red, who they said wished to have the eldest princess. He got her to sprinkle over the Ashlad a little of the water of death so that he swooned off and lay as dead.

When the three years were over, and a bit of the fourth was gone, there came sailing up a strange ship of war, and on board was the third sister, and with her she had a boy three years old. She sent word up to the king's grange and said she would not set her foot on land till they had sent him who had been in the golden castle and set her free. So they sent down to her one of the highest men about court, the master of the ceremonies himself; and when he came on board the princess's ship, he took off his hat and bowed and scraped, and bent himself before her.

"Can that be your father, my son?" said the princess to her boy, who was playing with a golden apple.

"No," said the child, "my father doesn't crawl about like a cheese-mite."

So they sent another of the same stamp, and this time it was Ritter Red. But it fared no better with him than with the first one, and the princess sent word by him that if they didn't make haste and send the right one, it should go ill with them. When they heard that, they were forced to wake up the Ashlad with the water of life; and so he went down to the ship to the princess, but he didn't make too low a bow, I should think; he only nodded his head, and brought out the breadth he had cut out of the skirt of the princess in the golden castle.

"That's my father! That's my father!" bawled out the boy, and gave him the golden apple he was playing with.

Then there was great joy and mirth all over the realm, and the old king was the gladdest of all of them, because he had got his darling back again. But when what Ritter Red and the eldest princess had done to the Ashlad came out, the king asked to have them both rolled down a hill, each in a cask full of spikes and nails; but the Ashlad and the youngest princess begged hard for them, and so they got off with life.

Now it happened one day, as they were about to begin the bridal feast, that they stood looking out of the window; it was towards spring, just when they were turning out the horses and cows after the winter, and the last that came out of the stable was the donkey; but it was so starved, that it came out of the stable door on its knees.

Then the Ashlad was cut to the heart because he had forgotten it, and he went down and did not know how to make it up to the poor beast. But the donkey said the best thing he could do was to cut his head off. That he was very loath to do, but the donkey begged so prettily that he had to yield, and did it at last. As soon as ever his head fell in the yard, it was all over with the shape which had been thrown over him by witchcraft, and there stood the handsomest prince anyone cared to see. He got the second princess to wife, and they fell to keeping the bridal feast, so that it was heard and talked of over seven kingdoms.

Then they built themselves houses,

And stitched themselves shoon,

And had so many bairns

They reached up to the moon.

TO TOP NOTES  

The Lads Who Met the Trolls in the Hedale Woods

Once on a time in the days of old there lived a poor old couple, tenants of a small farm up in Vaage in the Gudbrandsdale. They had many children, and two of the sons who were about half grown up had to be always roaming about the country begging. They were well acquainted with all the highways and byways, and they also knew the short cut to Hedale.

It happened once that they wanted to go there, but at the same time they heard that some falconers had built themselves a hut at Maela, and so they wished to see the birds and how they are caught, and so they took the cut across Longmoors. But you must know it was far on towards autumn, and so the dairy-maids had all gone home from the dairies in the mountains, and they could find neither shelter nor food anywhere. Then they had to press on to Hedale, but the path was a mere track, and when night fell they lost it. And, worse still, they could not find the falconers' hut either, and before they knew where they were, they found themselves in the very depths of the forest. As soon as they saw they could not get on, they began to break boughs, lit a fire, and built themselves a bower of branches, for they had a hand-axe with them; and, after that, they plucked heather and moss and made themselves a bed. So a little while after they had lain down, they heard something which sniffed and snuffed very loudly through its nose. Then the boys pricked up their ears and listened sharp to hear whether it were wild beasts or wood trolls, and just then something snuffed up the air louder than ever, and said,

"I smell human blood about here!"

Drawing by Erik Werenskiold. Section

At the same time they heard such a heavy footfall that the earth shook under it, and then they knew well enough the trolls must be about.

"Heaven help us! What shall we do?" said the younger boy to his brother.

"Oh! You must stand as you are under the fir, and be ready to take our bags and run away when you see them coming. As for me, I will take the hand-axe," said the other.

All at once they saw the trolls coming at them like mad, and they were so tall and stout, their heads were just as high as the fir-tops; but it was a good thing they had only one eye between them all three, and that they used turn and turn about. They had a hole in their foreheads into which they put it, and turned and twisted it with their hands. The one that went first must have it to see his way, and the others went behind and took hold of the first.

"Take up the traps," said the elder of the boys, "but don't run away too far, but see how things go: As they carry their eye so high aloft they'll find it hard to see me when I get behind them."

Well, the brother ran before and the trolls after him, meanwhile the elder got behind them and chopped the hindmost troll with his axe on the ankle, so that the troll gave an awful shriek, and the foremost troll got so afraid he was all of a shake and dropped the eye. The boy was not slow to snap it up. It was bigger than two quart pots put together, and so clear and bright, that though it was pitch dark, everything was as clear as day as soon as he looked through it.

When the trolls realised that he had taken their eye and done one of them harm, they began to threaten him with all the evil in the world if he didn't give back the eye at once.

"I don't care a farthing for trolls and threats," said the boy, "now I've got three eyes to myself and you three have got none, and besides two of you have to carry the third."

"If we don't get our eye back this minute, you shall be both turned to stocks and stones," screeched the trolls.

But the boy thought things needn't go so fast; he was not afraid for witchcraft or hard words. If they didn't leave him alone he'd chop them all three, so that they would have to creep and crawl along the earth like cripples and crabs.

When the trolls heard that, they got still more afraid, and began to use soft words. They begged him very prettily to give them their eye back again, and in return he should have both gold and silver and everything he wished to ask. Well, that seemed all very fine to the lad, but he must have the gold and silver first, and so he said if one of them would go home and fetch as much gold and silver as would fill his and his brother's bags, and give them two good cross-bows beside, they might have their eye, but he should keep it till they did what he said.

The trolls were very put out, and said none of them could go when he hadn't his eye to see with; but all at once one of them began to bawl for their old woman; for you must know they had a goody between them all three as well as an eye. After a while an answer came from a knoll a long way off to the north. So the trolls said she must come with two steel cross-bows and two buckets full of gold and silver; and then it was not Iong, you may fancy, before she was there. And when she heard what had happened, she too began to threaten them with witchcraft. But the trolls got so afraid, and urged her beware of the little wasp, for they couldn't be sure he would not take away her eye too. So she threw down the cross-bows and the buckets and the gold and the silver and strode off to the knoll with the trolls; and since that time no one has ever heard that the trolls have walked in Hedale Wood sniffing for human blood.

Notes

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