Thursday, 21 January 2016


This is one of the most charming tales I have come across. Even so, it may be read on two levels, giving two very different impressions. At face value, we read the tale of a love-sick house tutor whose amorous advances are rejected by a young girl who believes that she is no match for him, since one of her ancestors was a hulder, and she thus has "troll blood" in her veins. On the one hand, her "troll blood" gives her "dubious ancestory," whereas on the other hand, she warns that he will not be able to handle her, should he make her angry.

A different reading makes the young girl more cynical. She draws elements from the hike in the frame story--such as the "huge pine tree that stood by the moor"--into her tale of the hulder, and finally exaggerates her identification with her "hulder nature," both with the express purpose of rejecting the tutor's advances.

The fact that the tutor simply gives up his suit, instead of trying to persuade her of her suitability for him, and vice versa, suggests that he understands that she is merely giving excuses.

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