Beowulf - TROLLS

TROLLS (Illustration) Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Film Poetry Visual Arts Social Studies Geography Legends and Legendary People Fiction

John Bauer (1882–1918 created this illustration, circa 1915, for Walter Stenström’s “The Boy and the Trolls or The Adventure,” in a childrens’ anthology entitled Among Pixies and Trolls, a Collection of Childrens’ Stories, published in 1915. The illustration has this title: "Look at them," troll mother said. "Look at my sons! You won't find more beautiful trolls on this side of the moon." The copyright-expired image is online via Wikimedia Commons.


Scandinavian folk tales are filled with tales of trolls. Was Grendel, the monster in Beowulf, one of them? Before we answer that question, let's examine what folklore tells us about such creatures.

Trolls can be:

 Some trolls appear as fairly harmless, merely mischievous, or very tiny creatures - while others are huge, absolutely gigantic, frightening or downright terrifying. (This representation, in Copenhagen, was made by Niels Hansen Jacobsen in 1895-96.)

According to some tales, trolls only come out at night. If exposed to the sun, they could turn into stone - like when they're cursed. Does that theory explain "natural trolls," which are carved in stone, like one located at Hamarøy, Norway? Theodor Kittelsen, a Norse artist most known for his troll paintings, shows us what might happen were a mountain troll to see the sun.

It is said that trolls can be devious. In this 1882 drawing, one pretends to be a woman simply talking with someone in the forest. But if you look closely at the back of her skirt, you'll see a troll's tail!

Askeladden, a young boy featured in Norwegian fairy tales, was someone who could outwit a troll. Through his eyes (and those of other folk-tale heroes) we can see trolls in their natural surroundings - and at home with proud but scary mothers.

Maybe you disbelieve that trolls exist. But if you happen to be traveling on Norwegian roads, watch out. You just might see a "Troll Crossing" sign!

0 Question or Comment?
click to read or comment
2 Questions 2 Ponder
click to read and respond
0 It's Awesome!
vote for your favorite

Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Sep 17, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"TROLLS" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2007. Dec 09, 2019.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips