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East of the Sun - Norwegian trolls and faerie tales

The beautiful, rugged Norwegian landscape conceals sprites and elves, goblins and trolls, talking foxes and a beautiful female troll called Huldra.
This is the land of Norwegian faerie tales; the land east of the sun and west of the moon.


For many generations, the minds of Norwegain children have been filled with pictures of goblins and huldras, of Askeladden who beat a troll in an eating competition and won the princess and half the kingdom, of the mill that stands at the bottom of the sea and grinds salt, and of the three billy goats gruff who were to walk to the mountains to get fat and had to conquer the ugly troll who lived under the bridge.

All these faerie tales and legends have travelled from mouth to mouth, from family to family, from generation to generation.



Click here to read the complete 'East Of The Sun, West Of The Moon' faerie tale.

Trolls have a special place in Norwegian faerie tales. They live in the forests and mountains, are enormously large, ugly and stupid, but can smell Christian blood from a long distance. They like princesses and keep them prisoner in the mountains if they have the chance.

Trolls cannot tolerate the sound of church bells and burst or turn to stone if they are exposed to sunlight. They are vanquished by the poor, inventive, good-hearted Askeladden, who finally wins the captive princess and half the kingdom.

But Norwegian faerie tales are about more than trolls. The main characters are often wild or domestic animals who talk and behave like human beings.
The bear, the fox, and the wolf feature frequently, as do domestic animals like cats, goats and hens.

The best known faerie tale in Norway is about the three billy goats gruff who are going to the mountains to get fat in the summer pastures.

Nevertheless, most of the stories are about witches, giants and trolls. Or about human beings with supernatural powers. The magic faerie tales tell of the boy with the seven league boots, tableclothes which constantly fill with food, golden castles and other fantastic objects. And about people who can turn into animals or other creatures.