Autumn in the Shire

Dear Dairy,

I got up at dawn as I always do. Brewing myself a hot cup of coffee and lighting the oil lamps around the house. I let the lampposts along the walk-up to the house burn all night now. We are in the depths of Autumn and darkness dominates our days as well as our nights.

Yesterday Rosie and I went into the Hobbiton forest to look for chestnuts. We need them for our Christmas baking. They also look lovely in the windowsill and on the mantle above the fireplace. Golden brown and toasty.

We walked a long way, but we didn’t mind because the forest was so beautiful and peaceful. All the leaves were still burning bright in reds and orange even though it’s almost winter. There was not a breath of wind, the only noise was squirrels playing in the trees and rabbits digging their holes. We decided to stop and picnic by the little river. I had prepared honey cakes and Rosie had brought oat biscuits and jam. We used water from the river to make blueberry tea.

When we finally came to Chestnut Grove all the chestnuts were gone! “It must be those darn squirrels!” said Rosie. But I disagreed because there were a lot hazelnuts on the ground still. “I think some of the other hobbits have been here before us,” I told Rosie. But she claimed that her husband, Samwise Gamgee, had talked to Radagast only a few days ago and he had just passed this place and seen the ground covered in chestnuts. Just then we heard a loud noise from the forest. It sounded like thumping! Rosie and I held on to each other tightly! We couldn’t even move, we just kept staring into the shadowy forest. Then a huge branch cracked and out walked a troll! Yes, a troll! I have never heard of trolls in the Shire before! But to our amazement the troll was quite small, just a little bit taller than us and it was crying! Or at least it made a sound similar to crying. “Why, it’s a baby!” said Rosie. And I think she must have been right because the troll just kept crying and reaching its arms out as though it wanted to be held. Rosie and I felt a little braver so we approached the troll carefully just to see what it would do, and you will never believe this, but the troll stumbled up to Rosie and put its arms around her! Rosie shook a little bit at first, but then she seemed to calm down (she has a bunch of children herself) and started patting the troll on its back saying “there, there,” very gently. I took out what we had left of the picnic and offered it to the baby troll and it started munching greedily. It was quite clear that that was not enough to still its hunger so I tried feeding it a handful of hazelnuts, but the troll wrinkled its nose and spat it out in disgust. “So that is why only the hazelnuts are left,” I said to Rosie. “So what do we do with it?” said Rosie. “We can’t just leave it here.” “ And neither can we bring it with us to Hobbiton,” I said. So what we ended up doing was singing it to sleep and while I remained babysitting, Rosie ran back to fetch her husband. Sam Gamgee had once been quite the hero after all.

When Sam and Rosie came back, Sam was absolutely delighted to see the troll! Reminded him of one of his adventures, he said. “Too bad mr. Frodo left with the Elves,” he mused, “he would have loved this!”. “Yes, yes, but what do we do with it?” said Rosie impatiently. “Well, someone needs to take it back to its mother of course,” said Sam, with a distinct twinkle in his eyes. “And that is sure to be some adventure…most trolls live far from here up in the mountains. How in the world this little guy has managed to wander off and not be burned up by the sun is a mystery to me…” Rosie poked him in the arm angrily. “ It might be an adventure, mr. Gamgee, but it is most certainly not your adventure. You are living quite a different adventure now.” Sam looked sadly at his wife and then glanced longingly at the sleeping troll. “ I guess you are right, my dear.” He shrugged as though he was trying to shake the whole thing off. “Best leave it to Radagast then, seeing that Gandalf has left middle earth.”

Sam used a special whistle to call on a rabbit, not just any rabbit but a Rhosgobel rabbit. Then he scribbled a message on a small piece of paper and tied it around the rabbit’s neck with a piece of string. As soon as the message had been fastened the rabbit set off in an enormous speed. “Well, all we have to do now is wait,” said Sam. “ Wait?” I asked. “ For how long? It could be days!” “Oh no,” said Sam, “not days. Not at all. You don’t know about Rhosgobel rabbits, you see…” He smiled mysteriously. I didn’t have any other choice but to trust him. He had once saved the world after all. Surely he knew how to save one little lost troll.

After a couple of hours we heard a sound in the forest. It was like something was swishing rather swiftly in the grass, and then in a formidable speed Radagast, standing on a kind of sleigh drawn by oversized rabbits, flew out of the forest. “Someone wrote about a troll…?” he said. “That would be me,” answered Sam cheerfully. He pointed in the direction of the sleeping baby troll. “Oh my!” exclaimed Radagast. “That really is a troll!” “Yes, it rather is,” replied Sam. “Do you think you can take it to its mother before the sun turns it into stone?” “Sure, sure,” said, Radagast, “these clouds should not break until the coming morning.” He looked thoughtfully up at the overcast sky. “Should be fine.” Radagast and Sam lifted the troll on to the sleigh and with a small wave and a lift of his green hat Radagast was off.

Rosie, Sam and I walked back home without chestnuts and we forgot all about the hazelnuts, but Rosie and I have decided to bake apple pies instead, it is not quite Christmassy, but it will do. Sam peaked quite up when he heard. I suspect he ate too many nuts on his adventure.

Oh, there I see Rosie on the path right now. She is early just like me. I better brew another cup of coffee. I will write more in you tomorrow, dear Diary.

Cheerio!
Yours truthfully,
Miss Daisy.

*The first illustration is a by the amazing John Howe and the other is by Fairytale artist John Bauer. The photos are mine.

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Magic Faraway Tree

Who do you think you will find inside this tree? A whole community of fairies perhaps?

This magic tree is called a Banyan Tree and it is holy to Hindus.

When I found this door hidden under this magnificent tree it made me wonder if perhaps it housed a troll or a hobbit, or perhaps it is the entrance to a magic world!?

What do you think?

Trollhunter

Trollhunter is a Norwegian indie film from 2010 directed by Andre Øverdal. This film has already been given a Cult status in Norway. Mind you, this is not a movie for children, even though I would have loved it as a child, but its target audience is teens and adults.
It is filmed in a mock documentary style, a little like Blair Witch Project, and is a presentation of footage filmed by a group of young journalists. The actors in the film are all unknown, except for the trollhunter himself, and it adds to the feeling of it being a documentary. The film is not really scary at all, it’s more funny, especially if you have some pre-knowledge about Norwegian culture and Norwegian trolls. And the trolls themselves are just awesome!

The movie is about a team of students studying to become journalists who set out to make a documentary about this crazy man who claims that he is a trollhunter. The trollhunter is fed up by the government who conceals all traces of trolls, and he wants the public to know what is really going on in the Norwegian forests. Following is a hilarious and brilliant chase, where we get to know a lot about trolls and how they can still be alive!

What I love the most about this film is how thoroughly all the facts are explained, like why the trolls burst in sunlight, what they eat and how they live, all explained by a veterinarian troll expert! I love the descriptions of the different types of trolls, and I love how amazingly brilliant the trolls actually look on screen.

This movie might not be everyone’s cup of tea, as it is VERY Norwegian, but if you like to learn more about other cultures, folklore and the supernatural, then this movie is definitely for you, and I highly recommend it! I would say the movie can be seen by kids from 13 and up, but it depends on the child. I would not have found this movie disturbingly scary as a child, but all children are different. I’d say, if the child enjoys Jurassic Park, he or she can definitely watch this movie. 😊

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

For younger kids, or for all kids of all ages, I would recommend the Dreamworks/ Netflix Series “Trollhunters”. It is an animated series that is, I can’t help but think, slightly inspired by the Norwegian Trollhunter. The storyline is brilliant and the animation awesome!

Looking for the enchanted realm…

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Are you one of those who just wish, wish, wish you could see the folk of the enchanted realm, the ones many call “Fey” ? Well, I am! So I went looking for them! And see what I found! Can you spot them? 😀

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All the photos are of course taken by me in this one (since I was the only one there to spot them! :-D)

Creating your own Troll forest

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Real trolls are hard to come by, doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but they are shy things preferring to stay out of sight and far away from humans.

So what do you do then when you want a proper Troll forest, perhaps for a photo shoot or for a Safari for your friends, or just for plain fun! You make your own!

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I did exactly that! I might even use these photos to illustrate a book or a story!

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It’s pretty simple to do, you just find some figurines or toys in your attic or someone in your family’s or friends’ attic, then you go on an excursion to search for the perfect forest!

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Try to find a forest with lots of little holes or caves in it, somewhere with dense tree population and lots of shrubs and bushes. That’s a perfect place for trolls to live!

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Then you just position them where you want them to, and click away! It’s fun for younger kids to go on a safari and try to spot the trolls!

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And to all you teachers out there, this is such a fun school project! The kids get to go outside and use their creativity and imagination! Especially for younger kids, this will be such a fun thing to do! Perhaps they can even write a story about the troll(s) afterwards!

Have fun! 😊

The Trolls of the North

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Art by the amazing John Bauer

Most of you might have heard of these mythical creatures called Trolls. Some of you might even know that they come from the North, but very few of you will know that their country of origin is in fact Norway!
Most people think of trolls as evil, mischievous, dumb-witted, greedy and dangerous. And some trolls really are, but very far from all of them. You see, there are many species of trolls. The ones you have heard about are probably the mountain trolls, or “Bergtrollene” as we call them in Norway. The Mountain trolls are huge trolls living far away in the tall deserted mountain ranges, and very rarely do they come down from the mountains to interfere in the lives of humans.
The mountain trolls can be aggressive and they are very temperamental, if you ever encounter one you should do like Bilbo Baggins did in The Hobbit, you should play for time, because the mountain trolls burst in sunlight.

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Art by the magical John Bauer

But there are some trolls, the forest trolls, or “Skogstrollene” as we say in Norway, who are not particularly dangerous. They do keep to themselves and do not like visits from humans, but they will not attack you if you should meet one of them. They are not exactly shy, they are just not so fond of humans, because in their opinion humans just bring ruin and decay with their machines, hotels and shopping malls. And you can’t blame they really, we have destroyed most of their habitat. In Norway though, the human population is still very small and the forests are vast and deep so there are still big clans of forest trolls dwelling in the deep evergreen forests.

The Forest trolls live peaceful lives. They like to live together in big family dwellings, and most of their time is spent fishing, playing, building things and looking at the stars.

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Art by the wonderful Rolf Lidberg

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There is a also a third type of troll called the marsh trolls or “Tussetrollene” in Norwegian. These trolls are tiny, not longer than your middle finger. They live on marshland in what we call in Norwegian as “Tusser”. Nobody knows much about these trolls, but we know that they are still there, and that they can live close to humans as there has been several sightings of these trolls. I have myself seen one once when I was seven years old. These trolls are very shy and even quite jumpy! They like cones and pine needles and little streams. That is what we know about the marsh trolls.

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Art by the amazing John Bauer

In Norway we love our trolls very much! We make troll figurines to keep in our houses, we write books about trolls, we decorate our cities with statues of them, and we even have an amusement park dedicated to trolls!

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You can see that there are trolls everywhere in Norway!

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Even in the city!

If you ever should come to Norway, make sure you look for the trolls! It is very likely that you will meet them!

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Images from Hunderfossen.no

These are photos from the Fairy Tale Amusement Park called Hunderfossen.

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To know more about the park please visit: http://www.hunderfossen.no

Norwegian Fairy Tales

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Norway has a rich history of storytellers, folk tales told on little farms in the darkness of winter evenings with only a blazing fire for light and warmth. These tales were full of trolls, elves, nisse folk, witches and other creatures lurking in the darkness of the deep forests. In the tales these creatures are either wicked, luring people into harm, or wise and helpful aiding humans through challenges and helping them solve mysterious riddles and seemingly impossible tasks.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Typical for Norwegian fairy tales is that the hero is always the underdog, the youngest son or daughter, the one who is humble, honest, kind, helpful, quiet, and often a little different than others. The villain, often a troll or a witch is the opposite, dumb-witted, loud, greedy, and selfish.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

The hero of the tale has to go through different challenges or tasks to prove himself worthy of the prize or reward promised to the one who solves the quest. This prize is often the princess and half the kingdom. The challenges include tests of the hero’s kindness, cleverness, perseverance, humility and bravery.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Our favorite hero is the “Ashlad”, who bears similarities to Cinderella. He is the youngest son of three brothers, he sits by the hearth poking the fire with a face full of soot and ash. He is unappreciated by his family who often judge him as a little stupid and a “good-for-nothing” kind of lad. He is the eternal dreamer, never caring much about money or material possessions.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

Norwegian fairy tales also features talking animals, like polar bears, foxes, brown bears, hares, mice and birds. Some of the most famous fairy tales are: Soria Moria Castle, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and the Polar Bear King or White-bear King Valemon.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

The Norwegian fairy tales are full of folk humor, and they are not as romantic and fantastical as many of the other fairy tales from more southern countries. Many of the tales are made to solve everyday problems or explain things in nature. The tales belong to the people, and rather than celebrate kings and queens, they honor the ordinary folk, farmers and cottagers. People who live ordinary lives but who have extraordinary things happen to them.

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Art by Theodor Kittelsen

It was two men called Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe who, during the national renaissance in the middle of the nineteenth century, decided to embark on the gigantic task of collecting these folk tales, tales that up till now had only been perserved orally, told to children by parents and grandparents through generations, into one big volume. The first volume of Norwegian folk tales, collected by Asbjørnsen and Moe, was published in 1848.
The book became so popular that Asbjørnsen and Moe ended up publishing several additional volumes of tales.

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Jørgen Moe. Image credit: skoletorget.no

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Peter Christen Asbjørnsen. Image credit: skoletorget.no

One of the most popular as well as loved illustrator of Norwegian fairy tales is the Norwegian painter Theodor Kittelsen. He is still the most popular fairy tale illustartor today, even 100 years after his death.

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Theodor Kittelsen

Asbjørnsen and Moe’s volumes of Norwegian folk tales can be found in almost every Norwegian home, and Norwegian children still grow up with these magical tales of trolls, elves, witches and brave kind heroes who always win the prize at the end of the tale, not just because they are the hero of the tale, but because they have proved themself worthy by showing extraordinary kindness, wit, and generosity.

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An old volume of fairy tales

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A modern collection of the same folk tales. Image credit: dagbladet.no

All the images, unless informed otherwise, are sourced from wikimedia