I like evil Trolls

I remember fairytales being magical when I was a kid. Fairytales were tales where anything could happen and I loved tales were normalcy got cast out the window and something surreal and strange took over (I still do!). I remember reading The Snow Queen as a kid and falling in love with it completely. The harsh environment, the loneliness and the little girl who went so far out of her way to do extraordinary things for someone she loved. 

Fairytales were about beating the odds, managing something against all odds and not only surviving but living happily ever after, despite it ALL. I loved that.

The first fairytale I read for my little girl was Little Red Riding Hood. We bought a 12 crown book in the supermarket and there I was with the gruesome tale of the little girl and her grandmother who get eaten by the big bad wolf. And suddenly there were parts of the story that I hesitated over. Can I really read this to my four year old? Is she old enough? *Gulp*

I must admit that I left some things out. In the version we read the wolf got killed when he fell into the river after he has the stones in his stomach but I left that part out. When the “hunter took care of the wolf skin” I quickly changed the line to “the hunter took care of the wolf”. 

There have been others since then. The evil queen who wants Snow White dead. Introducing the notion of murder to a young mind just seemed out of the question but isn’t that misplaced sheltering? It’s only a fairytale after all… 

There are so many – Hansel and Gretsel’s evil stepmother who wants to leave them in the forest because she doesn’t like to share her bread. And the fact that the kids father goes along with the whole ordeal at first just makes no sense at all… 

The cruelty in fairytales has little limits. Still there seems a difference between Cinderella’s evil stepmother (she does get to live!), Snow White’s and Hansel and Gretsels. 

All fairytales do not have innate cruelty. In Jack and the Beanstalk you have hard times and a grumpy boy-eating (!) giant but at least Jack has a mother who loves him and the adventure he faces is somewhat self-inflicted. Going up to steal things from a boy-eating giant once maybe acceptable, but doing it three times is just asking for trouble. 

Goldilocks and the three bears is also a fairytale without any real evilness. The bears are nice and live what seems like a quiet and calm life in the forest when Goldilocks enters their house and eats their porridge and sleeps in their beds. She is the real perpetrator and the crime is minimal. 

Since we started reading our way through various fairytales it has also surprised me how different they are. We have a Chinese version of Aladdin and his lamp which features a magical ring as well. We have versions of Little Red Riding Hood where they have tried to keep the tale a little less gruesome and then we have versions that seem set on being as vile as possible. 

I try not to “censor” the tales. I try to tell it like it is and explain things in a manner that makes things a little less shocking but still true. 

I loved fairytales as a kid and I don’t remember thinking about the gruesome part. Maim and murder is a part of the world of the fairytale and the more evil the villain the more satisfying the ending. 

Our favourite is the Puss in Boots and the Marquis of Carabas. I loved that story as a kid and albeit it does entail serious misleading, lying and the slaying of an evil troll. Evil trolls and giants are somehow less scary to me as an adult as the evil stepmothers! Of course the kid gets wide eyed and awestruck at the evil trolls – to her they are a lot worse. To her mother… they are a part of the more far-fetched elements of the fairytale and therefore not at all so bad.. I want more evil trolls in fairytales and less murderous stepmothers! 

One Comment Add yours

  1. I always loved fantasy characters in stories & fairytales! When my 3 boys (and also my 2 godchildren) were little, I changed every story around to what “I” thought they could digest more easily, instead of blood & terrible things I made everything funny & in fact I would perform numerous comical voices to accompany each story for them!

    They all loved it, the boys and my little goddaughter. When I would create the character voices it was like a live performance taking place right before them! So immediate & I could see it in their eyes how much they enjoyed me reading to them as long as I made it funny…

    When they got older & began to experience “video games” with their friends & such, though, then it all changed: they wanted wilder stories, more darkness, more action…

    It was a complete turn-around! The violence was a necessary thing, the terrible stuff that would occur had to be extreme! It was all in good fun, though, because I gave it to them (in spades!) but I “still” made it humorous because when I would give them the wildness & extremity they craved I always did it in a ridiculously overblown & humorous manner.

    When there was a need for killing, I made it beyond funny: the evil, crazy story-voices, the blood (which occasionally I would embellish with either splashes of water or pieces of sandwich meat thrown directly at them!) and the explosions and/or battles that would occur always involved me taking small objects and hurling them at them while I performed…

    It was always funny and it was always with the understanding that it was “supposed” to be funny, never scary & never harmful to them…

    They are all much older now (my 3 boys I never see because they chose to become unacceptable adults like their mother & that was something I could not stand for, so they are no longer in my life (which is a sad thing…for “them”);

    My godson & goddaughter I still see sometimes, but he is very busy with graduate school & his orchestral career (which I can safely say I was an influence upon, because we always had music in our lives when we played & read!) and my beautiful little goddaughter (who you see in pics with me sometimes) is also a grown-up young teenager now…we don’t really read or play much because she has her iphone I keep up for her & her friends & such…but sometimes, albeit rarely, I force her to bring out certain stuffed-plush animals (like our favorite chubby sheep!) which I then create a voice for & we eventually end up performing heart surgery on him because he eats a lot of very fatty fried foods & drinks too much alcohol (LoL)…and even though she is almost a grown adult, she still laughs like my precious little baby girl that I remember years ago when I would read to her…(and even when she was young, 7-8 or so) I began to read her Clive’s “Thief of Always” & she fell into a love affair with it…I made up voices for each & every character in that book…and she would demand (with an iron fist!) that I perform them all with vigor when I would read it to her!

    Whew! I didn’t know I had written such a novel here! LoL…(but, I agree, I love evil trolls too!)



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