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You have probably heard of them and definitely have seen them in numerous souvenirs stores around Norway, but you actually don’t know what they are.

You know they called trolls and they’re specific for Scandinavian countries but you’re not sure what they represent. But to be honest, nobody does. Being a part of mythology that was handed down orally, it can be very difficult to get the real aspect on what trolls stand for.

The Old Norse noun troll (meaning “fiend, demon, werewolf) developed from Proto-Germanic noun *trullan. There’s some disputes on existence of four distinct classes of beings of unknown origins while others believe that troll is a catch-all for ‘mischievous creatures.

What everybody agrees on is there’re two types of trolls, the first one is known as the forest or mountain troll and they’re generally depicted as large, dumb, brutish creatures.

Theodor Kittelsen – Forest troll, 1906

It’s believed they use their connections with nature to uproot trees and to cause hurricanes and avalanches.

The cave trolls, on the other hand, live underground and are generally depicted as smaller than humans with big bellies and short stubby arms and legs.

John Bauer – Trolls, 1915

Both of the species, however, are not so friendly towards humans as they use their relations with nature to baffle and deceive them.

John Bauer – The Princess and the Trolls, 1913

No matter the type of troll, they do have some characteristics in common. Both type are, also, depicted as stupid and dangerous as they may come up with clever riddles that are usually very easy for the humans to overcome it.

So, no matter what type of troll you encounter all you need to do is keep your wits about you, keep a knapsack full of food, and hope there’s some church bells around as it’s believed the trolls go crazy if they hear them 🙂