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The Princess and the Troll


Theodor Kittelsen – The Princess picking Lice from the Troll

Once upon a time there lived an eccentric princess by the name of Sarala. Each week a smelly old troll named Tohopka came to visit her in the castle veranda.

Princess Sarala was a young girl when she first met Tohopka. She had been searching for salamanders and pollywogs along the creek beds.

Tohopka had studied the princess and the gentle way she handled the tiny creatures. Though trolls are typically dim-witted, he managed to devise a scheme. He would use the princess to gain advantage over her father who sought to kill him and all the other trolls in the land.

Mustering every ounce of charm he had, a mere wiry ear-hair’s worth, he presented himself to her, meek as a lamb.

“Good day fair maiden,” he hissed from the shadows.

“Oh my goodness!” Sarala gasped, “you gave me such a fright! Are you not a troll? My father warned me about the likes of you.”

Before she could cry for help Tohopka appealed to her, “I am indeed a troll, just as you say but I have been much maligned by rumors. In truth, I long to live peaceably with one and all. But you see, I am beset by a most horrible infestation of lice! It is their constant gnawing and slithering that makes my skin crawl and my behavior so surly. If only I could rid myself of them.”

Feeling compassion for the beast Sarala replied, “Oh, how awful for you. Maybe I can help. Come closer so I can pluck these pests from your pelt.”

Tohopka was delighted to comply. It had been easier than he imagined to deceive the girl. Bit by nit, he weaseled his way into Princess Sarala’s trust.

When the people learned of this they appealed to her father, “Oh great king, you must do something! We fear for Princess Sarala’s life and our own for we have it on good authority that she has befriended a troll!”

Alarmed by this, the King summoned his daughter immediately. “Is it true Sarala? What is this I hear about you and a troll?”

“Oh father, you don’t know Tohopka as I do. He is quite gentle and harmless, not at all the raging beast you claim he is! I beg of you father, please believe me, he means us no harm. He is my friend. Please don’t kill  him father, I would miss him so!”

The King, though fierce in battle, was putty in his daughter’s hands. “Fine,” he said, “you may have your wish to remain friends with this Tohopka. But he shall be treated like a house pet and only under the watchful eyes of my royal guards.”

This turn of events played right into Tohopka’s plan. He was allowed access into the palace grounds. Years passed and the royal guard grew complacent to his presence. His evil ruse was working!

When he’d had enough of the princess’s nit-picking, Tohopka decided to end the wile. On that day, he sauntered through the gates nodding smugly at wary villagers and past the guards. But unlike the times before he did not purr when Sarala drew near. His back stiffened and he let out a terrifying howl that bellowed from his fowl mouth as he snarled revealing rows of sharp, green teeth.

“What troubles you Tohopka?” the princess innocently inquired, oblivious to the danger she faced.

“What troubles me, you ask? What troubles me Princess, is how stupid you are! To think you believed you could transform me from who and what I am by your kindness. I loath kindness. I loath you in fact! I am a Troll! What did you expect?!” he growled as he lunged toward her.

Just inches from overtaking her, the beast let out a bone-chilling scream, falling to his death in a heap at her feet. Behind him stood her father, crossbow in hand. With this last troll dead, there would be peace once more in the kingdom.

‘Twas nit-picking that eventually exposed the beast’s true nature. Princess Sarala learned an important lesson. Trolls make lousy house pets.

~kat – 27 March 2017

For Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Microfiction Challenge based on the painting above by
Theodor Kittelsen called The Princess picking Lice from the Troll.

A Confession 52 Years Late…

I have a confession to make…to the boy, I can’t remember his name…the one who sat next to me in the second grade.

I’ll just say it.

I’m the one who stole your Baby Jesus. Snatched him right out of the pencil tray in your desk. How could I not?

It’s no excuse, but I believe I needed him more than you did that day. Even your pitiful tears that made snot ooze over the crest of your lips and into your mouth…that made me flush from my neck to the tips of my ears…could not budge my resolve. I needed your tiny plastic Baby Jesus and I took it. And I told you eye to eye that I didn’t.

I’ve never forgotten this moment of lost innocence when at seven years old, I learned I wasn’t that good girl. Behind my twinkling eyes, freckled nose and curly locks a monster lurked in the dark recesses of my heart. I can think of nothing more heinous than what I did that day. Baby Jesus? That’s how hard core I was when I embarked on my maiden crime spree. It has haunted me for years.

And I don’t expect you to forgive me little boy, who is now a man. I hope you have forgotten it and me. And if it’s any consolation I’ve learned my lesson.

I needed to know about the darkness inside of me so I could choose the light, so I could learn not to judge.

I never stole again after that day. And when I have fallen victim myself to petty thievery I have learned to let it go. To say a silent prayer even, for the perpetrator.  Whatever it was that captured their fancy, I am convinced that they needed it more than me.

kat 31Aug2015

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