There is a place they say, up in those mountains, where trolls hide from the sunlight and dance to the tune of the wind through the trees on dark moonless nights. They hide from us, fearful creatures, so they say. But reason they have and that reason, so I’ve heard, is betrayal. The story goes something like this.
Once long ago, the trolls lived in the valleys, free from toil or strife. The played in the sunshine and laughed in the moonlight and never really thought about it. Their’s was a life of freedom and carefree play that is known only to a child.
The day the fairies came, they gathered in awe of the creatures’ tall slim beauty, greatly contrasted by their own short, plum beauty, a beauty not of feature but of spirit. This too was contrasted by the cold ugliness of the fairy soul. They were outcasts. The elves cast them off when their cold nature caused a rift so great that the fairies even sought to supplant the King of the Elves. They say they were once one and the same, but that is another story, one that even they can’t remember any more.
But, the Trolls knew none of this. In their innocence they could only see the beauty, for cruelty had no place in their history. The Trolls brought them gifts with the exuberance of shear adoration. But the Fairies cast them out and trampled upon their insignificant gifts. Devastated the Trolls sat down and cried. Had this been all, perhaps we would still see the Trolls and the Fairies among us still today, but alas, the simple Trolls could not understand and tried again.
This time he Fairies wanted them to understand that Trolls and their gifts were far beyond their notice or time. They simply left. But one stayed behind. She was more beautiful and cold than all the rest. Perfectly shaped in body, perfectly mangled in heart. She could not bare that such folly as to approach the Fairies with ugliness go unpunished. She stood before the creatures and smiled. They brightened at the acknowledgement.
“My little ones, are you not tired?”
The Trolls nodded, for all their tears had wearied them greatly. She opened her arms and gathered them together. She cringed within herself at their touch but she continued to caress and comfort them. Finally she stood and held up a bottle. It sparkled almost as bright as she in the moonlight, for it was night.
“Drink this,” she said, “and you will never be tired again. But don’t any one drink too much. It must be shared with all. I must go now,” She said, handing the bottle to the chief. “I will be back by say light. Wait here for me.”
As soon as she vanished, the trusting souls began, each sipping in their turn. It took them all night because the bottle emptied slowly and the clan of Trolls was large.
Sunlight began to creep over the mountain peaks and the Trolls waited. The rays began to caress the landscape and the Trolls clapped their hands and grinned in anticipation. Then the sunbeam touched the first Troll. With a scream, he turned to stone. One by one, two by two, whole groups cried out in pain and hardened before the cry could die in their throats. The few that were sitting within the mouth of a cave, turned and ran deeper within. There they hid waiting for the Fairy to return. Perhaps she would know how to undo this evil. They were so distraught that they did not notice how tired they were.
Then they heard a great cracking. They rushed forward to see what was happening now. There stood the beautiful Fairy with arm up raised holding a great mallet, a pile of broken stone behind her and a beloved brother turned stone in front. One began to cry out as understanding washed over him, and he could not hold his tongue. But then, a light flashed starting him into silence.
“What is this before me?” a deep soothing voice asked. A man dressed in simple cloth stood before her, holding out his hand to stop the blow. “I have been sent because King Tantaroon, King of all the Fiery Realms, heard one of His children cry out, and here I find you, oh daughter of the Fairies. You would not, after so soon having lost your home, turn again to destruction?”
The Fairy held herself aloof, “Who are you that I should answer your quiries? I AM a daughter of the Fairies. And you are not but dross.”
Then the man, not young , nor old, reached out his hand in one last warning, “Be it understood, should you still fail to return to your Father, you shall be rendered powerless.”
The woman sneered, her face turning ugly to even the Trolls watching silently. Then she lifted her arm and came down, crushing the stone figure into an innumerable pieces. Then she threw back her head a laughed. I still have the power to do whatever I wish, and so I will. The Fairy turned and walked toward the next stone figure, but with each step she grew shorter, and shorter. Noticing the change she panicked and called out. Another Fairy appeared but he too was growing smaller and smaller.
This is why the Fairies are so small today. They have no power, but their pride leads them to lie and tell stories of all kinds of powers great and small, from changing the seasons and granting wishes too collecting teeth of small children and leaving a gift.
The Trolls sat with their eyes wide trying to take in all that they were seeing. The man turned to them, his beauty was in his face. They could not tell if he was handsome or not, simply that he was full of love and wisdom.
“Stay there my friends,” he called. “The Fairy’s actions will not be undone, but you will learn to be wise. The sun will turn you to stone, but your hearts will continue to beat and when the darkness falls, you will be freed.”
It was as he said. And so you see, that is why the Trolls hide and the Fairies too. The Trolls to protect themselves, the Fairies to protect their pride.