Legendary Giant Hominid of Northern Europe.
Etymology: Old Icelandic and Norwegian, "giant."
Variant names: Gryla (in Iceland), Jotul, Jotun, Jutul, Rise, Trold-folk, Trow (in Shetland and Orkney Islands).
Physical description: Originally a gigantic human, but later (especially in Sweden and Denmark), it was considered to be a small, dwarfish being. Dark skin. Hairy. Said to have as many as three heads. Large eyes. Long, crooked nose.
Behavior: Active at night and in the winter. Very strong. Turns into a rock if the sun shines on it. Naive. Said to eat human flesh. Not known to use handmade weapons, just trees and rocks. Wears animal skins.
Habitat: Mountains and caves.
Distribution: Scandinavia; Iceland; the Shetland and Orkney Islands, Scotland.
Present status: Probably extinct. The last Trolls are said to have been seen in Vestfirdir, Iceland, in the mid-eighteenth century.
PP'ossible explanation: Folk memories of a prehistoric European race, according to G. O. Hyltén-Cavallius.
Sources: Samuel Hibbert, A Description of the Shetland Islands (Edinburgh: A. Constable, 1822); Gunnar Olof Hyltén-Cavallius, Warend och Wirdarne (Stockholm: P. A. Norstedt, 1863-1864), vol. 2, pp. 127ff.; Torkell Mauland, Trolldom (Oslo: J. W. Cappelens Forlag, 1911); John Arnott MacCulloch, Eddic Mythology (Boston: Marshall Jones, 1930), pp. 205-206, 223; Jessie Margaret Edmondston Saxby, Shetland Traditional Lore (Edinburgh: Grant and Murray, 1932); Reidar Th. Christiansen, Folktales ofNorway (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964); Tor Âge Bringsvœrd, P^hantoms and Fairies from Norwegian Folklore (Oslo: Johan Grundt
Tanum Forlag, 1970), pp. 29-34; Katharine M. Briggs, A Dictionary of Fairies (London: Allen Lane, 1976), pp. 413-415; Joanne Asala, Trolls: Remembering Norway (Iowa City, Iowa: Penfield Press, 1994).
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