Mountain Troll by Theodore Kittelsen

Aka : Trolds (Sweden), Trows, Hill Men, Berg People (Denmark), Rise, Jutul, Tusse (Norway).

Race: A dwarf or giant inhabiting caves or hills.

Function: Legend places them as guardians of bridges and byways, though their help seems arbitrary and dubious.  They are sometimes psychopump (passers-by) like Caron and the Ankou.

Origin : Germany and Scandinavia where they are omnipresent. Trolls are also found in the countries of Finland, Russia, and Siberia. 


In Scandinavia, Trolls were believed to be giants, and the biggest of them all was Dovregubben (their king in the mountain Dovre). They were shaggy and rough-haired, with trees and moss-like growth on their heads and noses.

Their noses were long and they would stir with it when cooking broth or porridge.

Some even had two or three heads, some only had one eye in the middle of their foreheads. Their features differed from humans with four fingers and four toes and a tail resembling that of a cow. The trolls lived hundreds of years old, but the sunlight turns them into stone.


Their supernatural powers consisted of :

  • Shape-shifting, for instance into rain and storms, fierce animals or beautiful young ladies.
  • Forecasting the future
  • Superhuman force


Other faeries and wild animals tend to avoid them if possible. They are carnivorous as well as nocturnal, but are not known for eating human flesh (the Ogre does). They rarely steal human mates or human babies, whom they regard as worthless and smelly. Goat and mutton are their favorite meats, and they are noted for having abysmal table manners. In some less frequent stories, the troll is similar to the Ogre and would devor humans and babies, its favorite phrase being “hum, hum, it smell Christian’s blood …”


They might have looked frightening, but were actually often good natured and terribly naive, so sly peasants would successfully trick them. One of their favored acts is to throw stones at creatures unfortunate enough to have passed them. In later folklore, trolls committed specific acts of malice, such as stealing maidens and princesses, and also began to develop semi magical powers such as prophecy and shape-shifting.


Trolls usually live in mountains, forests and near lakes.In children’s stories, trolls often live beneath bridges, harassing passersby and exacting tolls. When travelling, they tend to run in packs.


Huge, hard-skinned, and virtually indestructible, trolls could only be vainquished by sunlight, which would either turn them to stone or make them explode.