Norwegian Troll

Unlike many of the other items in the Artifacts category, this one is by no means an antique. But it does hold a special place in the author's memory, and was a special memento of my Grandmother and Grandfather Fristad.

In 1978 and again in 1984, my paternal grandparents Alf and Mary Ethel Fristad traveled to Norway. The trip was part vacation (an organized tour/cruise of Northern Europe) and part research, connecting with newly discovered extended family still living in Bergen. In pursuit of a first-hand encounter with his Norwegian heritage, Alf had learned Norwegian through University of California extension classes and focused his studies on the culture of the Scandinavian peoples. One aspect of this research was trolls.

While in Norway, Alf and Mary purchased quite a bit of folklore/troll related ephemera. The most interesting item they brought back (at least to their 9 year old grandson) was a 10 inch tall carving of an elderly troll. Every visit to Grandfather's house included a look in at the troll, beak-nosed with beady eyes and walking stick, peering out of a glass-covered bookshelf.. Grandmother furnished books to read about troll adventures, and I had visions in my head of this mischievous character coming to life at night, wreaking havoc in the house. Of course this never happened - but the images were strong enough that The Troll kept a special place in my imagination.

My Grandfather had always intended to return to Norway again and track down a two, or even three, headed troll, but he passed away before that adventure could happen. When my Grandmother moved to Northern California to be closer to her son, this troll and his glass-bookcase habitat came with her. Then a few years before she passed away, she entrusted me with Grandfather's troll. He now sits on one of my bookshelves in the living room, peering down at us as we go about our mundane lives. Perhaps he wakes up at night, clambers down from his perch, and terrorizes the cats? Do I have enough Norwegian imagination to believe that? I'll have to stay up one night and find out...