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Trolls and Ogres

It really shouldn’t have happened at all! It’s just that some creatures seem bent on making mischief and causing trouble for themselves and all about them. The Ogres are just such creatures. And the intended victims of the Ogres pranks seemed to have been the people of the village of Rivertown. No one knows for sure why the Ogres decided to wreak such havoc on the Rivertown folks, who were very pleasant and friendly. Maybe, it was true that the Ogres wanted to chase the Rivertown folks away, so they could take over the lovely little village.

It really was a lovely village, nestled in the cool green woods near the winding river. Yes, maybe the Ogres wanted the the area to themselves. Maybe. But the fact is, they suddenly began to act very mean.

The river ran swiftly between the tall mountain cliffs, creating a small valley, almost isolated from the rest of the country-side. This was Rivertown.

Although the people had nearly everything they could want, it was often necessary for them to go by wagon to the big city, far on the otherside of the river. So they built a sturdy bridge across the river and a road that connected to the city highway.

Some of the people, who crossed the bridge, soon noticed that a Troll had taken up residence under the bridge. Toll the Troll was his name. He had built himself a rather cute little house, with a small door and a single window in the front.

No one really minded that Toll the Troll had built his house there, until the bad things began to happen.

First, Willie the woodcutter, taking a load of logs to the city, had his wagon upset, and lost his entire load in the river. He hadn’t noticed a large pot-hole in the road, strangely, there were some leaves hiding it. Willie was lucky. He escaped with his life, by clinging tightly to his wagon, which happened to wedge against the railing and didn’t fall of of the bridge.

Then Tom, the farmer, had his whole load of pumpkins smashed into an orange mush, by huge rocks that rolled off of the hill and landed in his wagon. Tom went home very angry, and showed everyone the great bump a rock had made on his head.

“Something has got to be done about that Troll. I’m sure he is causing these accidents.” they all said.

Willie agreed. He was sure someone had cut a rut in the bridge. It must have been the Troll. As they talked, young Peter, the goat keeper came running, calling out for help. Something had frightened his goats, as they were on the bridge road, and they had all run away. Some of the people went to help young Peter find his lost goats, others gathered to complain about Toll the Troll.

Of course, we all know that the Troll was not the cause of the problems at all. The Ogres had done it all, but the people didn’t know the Ogres even existed. No one had ever seen them. Only the Troll, who lived under the bridge, had been seen by the people of the village. He must be the cause.

Sometimes even very good people, like the ones who lived in Rivertown, can be mistaken and do the wrong thing. So, when Fanny, the Flower Lady, tried to take her beautiful fresh flowers into the city to sell them, and found a large log blocking the way, she was very upset. By the time enough folks arrived, to help move the log, the flowers were all wilted.

A large angry group went to Sheriff Sam and demanded that he go out and capture the Troll at once. If we are to continue to live in this lovely place, the road to the city must be made safe.

Sheriff Sam decided that he would go straight to the river, bring the Toll the Troll back, and put him in jail. He hopped upon his bicycle, and pedaled quickly down the road. Just before he came to the bridge, his bicycle hit a large rock, that suddenly rolled into his path, and Sheriff Sam went flying over a bush, landing in a heap of grass. He would have been alright, if his head had not struck a large boulder, knocking him unconscious.

When he woke up, he was in a neat little bed, under a soft wool quilt. He looked around at the tiny, tiny room. It was bright and clean. Next to the bed was a small table with fresh flowers and glass of cool water. His mouth felt very dry, so he reached for the water. A knarled hand appeared, and Toll the Troll held the water to his lips. Sheriff Sam drank and leaned back on the soft pillows.

“How did I get here?” he asked Toll the Troll.

“I found you beside the road.” answered Toll. “I think you had an accident on your bicycle. The wheel was bent, so I fixed it. As soon as you feel better, you will be able to ride it home.”

Then Sheriff Sam remembered why he had come. “I have come out here to arrest you. Toll the Troll, and take you to jail.”

“But, what ever for?” Toll said in surprise.”What ever for?”

Sheriff Sam looked up at the Trolls kind face, and felt very unsure of himself. “The people think you have been causing accidents to happen on the road. They seem to have started just after you came.” He told the Troll about the things that had happened. And of course, the Troll was very surprised.

That night the two of them climbed up and hid just under the bridge to watch. Maybe they could find out what was happening to the road.

That is how they learned that the Ogres were living in the hills. They watched, as the ugly Ogres came creeping down, and gathered large river rocks, to toss down on the people. Some busied themselves digging ruts in the road and others hid logs in the bushes, to block the road later. Tired, the Ogres, climbed back up into caves in the mountains to sleep.

As soon as they were all gone. Toll the Troll and Sheriff Sam walk out onto the road and looked around. The mean Ogres had hidden the traps, so people wouldn’t notice them.

Toll took the bicycle from it’s hiding place and said to the Sheriff, “You can go back and tell the people that the road will be safe from now on. I will see to it.”

At first, the people were cross when they saw that sheriff Sam had returned alone. But, after they all heard the story, they understood. They were ashamed. They knew It had been unkind of them to blame Toll the Troll, so unfairly.

Toll the Troll spent the rest of the night undoing the damage the Ogres had done. Later, he moved his little house up closer to the side of the road, so he could keep a better eye on things.

Everyday, as they took their wagons to the city, the people of the village passed his little house. They would smile and toss a coin to him, to thank him for keeping the bridge and the road in such good condition.

After while, the road became known as the Toll Road.

Now, where-ever there are Ogres out trying to ruin the roads and bridges, other Trolls put houses at the side of the road and watch over them, keeping them safe for the people. And the folks who go by, smile and toss a coin in appreciation.

When you see a sign that says,


don’t forget to smile and toss a coin as you pass, because the Trolls work very hard for you.