Trolls by Gail Stewart

By Gail Stewart

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Iowa City, IA: Penfield, 2005, p. 128. lins and trolls discover him and taunt him. The end is dramatic, with the crashing of cymbals and the deafening roar as the trolls dance around the king’s throne. Though audiences loved the music, Grieg was unsure of its value at the time—convinced that the piece was too heavy-handed. ”57 Music lovers disagree, however. They praise the piece’s eerie minor key and bouncy, lurching notes that seem just right for the way trolls move. “In the Hall of the Mountain King” has become one of the most recognizable, exciting pieces in the history of classical music.

But in this story the mother cannot bear the thought of beating her child. She refuses— even though the beating might bring back her own child. Days and 46 weeks go by, and things do not improve. But one day, just as the woman is sure she will die of a broken heart thinking of her lost child, she is astonished to see a little curly headed blond boy running toward her cottage. She knows by his look he must be her son, and when she sees a troll-mother lumbering behind him, she is certain. The troll-mother tells her that because she has been kind to the changeling—never beating him even though she was advised to do so—she is returning her real child.

What he had thought was a dead sea otter suddenly “leaped and barked and spurted water as if it were crazy,”29 says Ekstrand. Elias kicks it as hard as he can, and when it rolls into the water, he realizes what it actually is. ”30 Elias immediately recognizes the creature as the sea troll he encountered while fishing years before. ”31 But Elias does not stay to listen. He rows his boat home as though his life depends on it—which it probably does. “Three Billy Goats Gruff ” Though there are various types of trolls, most of them share one great weakness—they are slow-witted.

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