Thursday, 11 February 2016

The Molly of Dovre

Once upon a time, there was a man up in Finnmark who had caught a large white bear. He would go to the king of Denmark with it. It so happened that he came to the mountains of Dovre one Christmas Eve, and there he went into a cabin where there lived a man called Halvor. Here he asked if he might have houseroom for himself and his white bear.

“Oh God help us!” said the man in the cabin. “We can give no one houseroom now, for every Christmas Eve there come so many trolls in here that we have to move out—we don't have a roof over our heads, ourselves.”

“Oh, you may give me houseroom, anyway,” said the man; “my bear can lie under the stove here, and I suppose I can lie in the alcove.”

Well, as long as he asked, he was allowed; so the people moved out, and then everything was made ready for the trolls, with a table set with sour-cream porridge and lutefisk and sausages, and everything that otherwise was good, just like any other sumptuous feast.

Just like that, the trolls arrived. Some were big, some were small, some had long tails, and some had no tails, and some had long, long noses. And they ate and drank and tasted everything. But then one of the troll younglings saw that the white bear lay under the stove, and he took a piece of sausage, and put it on a fork and grilled it. Then he went over and placed it before the nose of the white bear, so that it burned him.

“Molly, won't you have a sausage?” he shrieked. And the white bear jumped up and growled and chased them out, every one, both large and small.

The year afterwards, Halvor was out in the woods in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, gathering wood for the weekend, for he expected the trolls again.

As he chopped away, he heard a call in the forest: “Halvor! Halvor!”

“Yes,” said Halvor.

“Do you still have that big Molly?”

“Yes, she is at home underneath the stove,” said Halvor, “and now she’s had seven kittens, and they are much larger and angrier than she is.”

“Then we will never come to you again!” shouted the troll away in the forest; and since that time, the trolls have never eaten Christmas porridge at Halvor's in Dovre.

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