(2/6/05 7:38 pm)
What do Ogres and Trolls Look Like in Classic Fairytales?|
What do ogres and trolls look like in classic fairytales, in a time before Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons?
I've been looking to find a physical description and have found none. There are many pictures, but none in written text that I can find.
From Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org):
[quote]According to the folklore and mythology of the peoples of Northern Europe, the ogres (related to the Latin Orcus, though it purportedly comes from 'Hungar' or 'Uigur', meaning 'Hungarian' or perhaps 'Hun') are a race of humanoid beings, fierce and cruel monsters, that eat human flesh; they are also shy and cowardly, and have little or no intelligence and cleverness, which makes it easy for men to defeat them. A female of this race is called an ogress. Ogres are said to be able to change their shape at will into animals or objects, and they often dwell in marvelous palaces or castles, sometimes underground. In art, ogres are often depicted with a big head, abundant and hirsute hair and beard, a huge belly, and a strong body.[/quote]
[quote]A troll is a member of a fearsome humanoid race from Scandinavian folklore, and its predecessor Norse mythology, as in "The Three Billy Goats Gruff  (www.surlalunefairytales.c...ygoats/)," the well-known Scandinavian folk tale in which a troll living under a bridge torments some billy goats that want to cross. Grendel in the poem Beowulf is a closely similar creature. The word "Troll" is possibly derived from an old norse word meaning magic, cf. Swedish "Trolla", Danish "Trylle" (Perform magic tricks).
According to a 1908 cyclopedia: "Trolls are Dwarfs of Northern mythology, living in hills or mounds; they are represented as stumpy, misshapen, and humpbacked, inclined to thieving, and fond of carrying off children or substituting one of their own offspring for that of a human mother. They are called hill-people, and are especially averse to noise, from a recollection of the time when Thor used to fling his hammer at them."
In Sweden there are many places that are named after trolls, such as the town Trollhättan (Troll's hood) and the legendary mountain Trollkyrka (Troll church).
Trolls are one of the most frequent creatures of Scandinavian fairy tales and more common than elves, dwarves, witches and giants (in the fairy tales, there is no clear-cut line between witches and female trolls, nor between male trolls and giants). They hoard gold. They come in any size and can be as huge as giants or as small as dwarves. They are however always regarded as having poor intellect (especially the males, whereas the females, trollkonor, may be quite cunning), big noses, long arms, and as being hairy and not very beautiful (except for certain females). In Scandinavian fairy tales trolls generally turn to stone if exposed to sunlight. (This weakness is shared by Norse Svartalfar (black elves) and dwarves.) They live in the forest and in mountains and sometimes abduct children that have to live with them (especially princesses). Occasionally, they even steal a new-born baby leaving their own offspring, a changeling, in return. Young Scandinavian children usually understand the concept of trolls, and a way to teach children to brush their teeth is to tell them to get rid of the very small "tooth trolls" that otherwise will make holes in their teeth. This is a pedagogic device used to explain bacteria by the Norwegian author Torbjørn Egner in his story "Karius og Baktus".[/quote]