Site Map
Norwegian Folktales
Section › 1   Set    Search  Previous Next

Reservations   Contents    


Once the pig was fed up with how he lived. He got into his head that he would go to court to get a verdict for another way of life.

"What is your complaint?" asked the judge.

"Oh, I'm so tired of my way of living, your honour," said the pig. "The horse gets oats and the cow gets flour drink, and they are dry and well in stall and cowhouse too. I for my part get nothing but swill and swill water. At daytime I wade in mud, and at night I lie rolling in dirt and wet straw. Is that just and fair, your honour?" he asked.

The judge found that the pig conducted his case simply and well. And then he searched his books and decided that the pig was to have a different way of life: "It is unreasonable that you should have these stricter living conditions," he said. "From now on you shall get wheat and peas and sleep in a silk bed."

The pig thanked him and was so happy that he knew neither night nor day. All the way homewards he kept muttering and grunting: "Wheat and peas and lie in a silk bed! Wheat and peas and lie in a silk bed! Wheat and peas and lie in a silk bed!"

The road passed between some forest ridges and in one of the groves the fox lay listening. As soon as he heard what the pig grunted, he wanted to play a dirty trick on him. So he started creaking, clearly and sharply, "Swill and thrash, and lie in rubbish!"

The pig did not care about it, but kept on saying "Wheat and peas, and lie in a silk bed!" But the fox went on saying: "Swill and thrash, and lie in rubbish! Swill and thrash, and lie in rubbish! Swill and thrash, and lie in rubbish!" At last it got to the pig. Before he knew it, he started to listen to it and repeat it.

When he came home, they asked him how things went in court. "Did you get a judgement for a better way?" they asked.

"Yes, yes," said the pig. "Swill and thrash, and lie in rubbish! Swill and thrash, and lie in rubbish!"



The Silver King

A man in western Telemark was so heavily in debt that he was in danger of losing his farm. He was not able to borrow any money in his own parish, so he went to town. But he did not get any money there either, and had to set out for home again. His knapsack was empty and his spirits were low. He walked along, wondering what would become of his wife and children.

He had come as far as Meheia when he sat down on a stump by the side of the road to rest. As he sat there moping, an old man came and sat down beside him. They started talking together, and the old fellow was so pleasant and sympathetic that the farmer grew fond of him and wanted to treat him to something. He took out his snuffbox, took a pinch of snuff himself, and offered the rest to the old fellow. The old man emptied the whole box. They started talking, and the farmer told about his affairs and how badly off he was.

After they had been talking like this for some time, the stranger said, "It's getting late. It's a long way to the parish. You'd better come with me, and then you'll have a place to stay tonight."

The farmer thanked him. He had walked all the way from Drammen that day, so he was quite worn out. They cut across the road and headed into the deep spruce forest. Neither of them said a word. It had grown quite dark, and the farmer noticed that the ground felt strange beneath his feet - as if he were walking over a bridge. When they were well on the other side, they came to a big, magnificent farm. Other farms were lying around it. It was just like a city.

"This is where I live," said the old fellow.

The farmer said with a sigh, "Well, you've really got a fine farm!"

"In this parish I am king!" said the old man, and now the farmer noticed that he was wearing a silver belt around his waist and carrying a silver staff in his hand, and the heelplates on his shoes glittered as if they were of silver too.

When they got inside the house, the old fellow said to his wife, "I brought this man home with me. I got such good snuff from him."

"Well, well," she said, "we'll have to try to give him something in return."

The man from Telemark could hardly keep his eyes open with all the gold and silver that glittered and shone on the walls. He was given good things to eat and drink, and the old fellow showed him around. It was just as magnificent everywhere. But in the middle of the floor stood a terribly big stump. It was so huge that it almost filled the room.

The guest wondered about this, and at last he said, "If I were you, I wouldn't have that ugly old stump here inside the house."

A black cloth was lying over the stump, and the old fellow went over and took it off. The entire stump was of purest silver, and it sparkled and shone a lot.

"This is the trunk!" said the old fellow. "They've got hold of the roots down in Kongsberg!"

When the farmer set out the next morning, the old fellow filled his knapsack with silver and said he was to pay off the debt on his farm with it.

"If you come this way again, look in on me," he said.



Dyre Vaa

Dyre Vaa was a daring youth from high up in Telemark beneath the Rauland mountains, where the deep Totak lake is. By the lake lies the Vaa farm. A neighbour, who knew that Dyre had never shown any signs of fear, asked him if he should be afraid to meet the giant trolls who were believed to be always hostile to men. Dyre answered briskly, "Not a bit, even if it were dark."

Then, on the next Christmas eve, when the feasting and mirth were at their height, a hollering from the hill across the Totak lake reached Dyre. It sounded like a hundred oxen lowing nearby.

"Well, it's right dark now," Dyre said, but straightway he loosened his boat from its moorings, and rowed across the Totak lake to find out what was the matter.

As he drew near to the other strand he heard a frightful yell, "Who are you?" Dyre told his name. And even though it was dark, he understood it was a tall troll he was encountering. The troll desired to be helped on his way home to his maidens in the Glomshill across the deep lake. "Bring the boat alongside so I can enter it," said the troll, but he seemed too big for the boat to carry him. The boat nearly sank.

"You must shrink a bit first. My boat is so small, and you are so tall. And it's dark," said Dyre.

The troll at once shrank so that the boat could float. Dyre's spirits rose, and he began to joke his passenger about his size. "Now tell, me, sir, what giant you are."

The troll growled, "Beware of joking!" Soon he grew more friendly as he was ferried over the lake, however, and said, "In your boat I will leave a token to show the measure of him you've ferried in the dark."

When daylight came on Christmas morning, Dyre could see what it was - a glove finger full of treasured wool. The glove held four large baskets, and was in itself very handy on the farm after it was emptied of the wool; Dyre used it for a meal measure.

Dyre was doubly rewarded beside the substantial return for his service to the troll, for he got a reputation for courage and strength.




Norwegian folktales, fairy tales of Norway, Asbjørnsen and Moe tales, folk tales of the North, To top    Section     Set    Next

Norwegian folktales, fairy tales of Norway, Asbjørnsen and Moe tales, folk tales of the North. User's Guide   ᴥ    Disclaimer 
© 1996–2018, Tormod Kinnes [Email]