It is a supernatural being in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore.
- Scandinavian trolls tend to be very big, hairy, stupid, and slow to act.
- Any human with courage and presence of mind can outwit a troll, and those whose faith is strong can even challenge them to mortal combat
- They are said to have a temperament like a bear - which are, incidentally, their favourite pets - good-natured when they are left in peace, and savage when they are teased.
- Trolls come in many different shapes and forms, and are generally not fair to behold, as they can have as many as nine heads.
- Trolls live throughout the land, dwelling in mountains, under bridges, and at the bottom of lakes. While the trolls who live in the mountains are very wealthy, hoarding mounds of gold and silver in their cliff dwellings, the most dangerous trolls live in lonely huts in the forest.
- While few trolls have female trolls, trollkoner, as wives, most possess a regrettable tendency to spirit away beautiful maidens, preferably princesses, who are forced to spin by day and scratch the troll’s head by night.
- The trolls have their own king, called Dovregubben, who lives inside the Dovre Mountains with his court. Dovregubben and his court are described in detail in Ibsen’s “Peer Gynt.” After the integration of Christianity into Scandinavian folklore, trolls developed a hatred of church-bells and the smell of Christians.
- Trolls are often said to be able to change their appearance and did so in order to trick humans into doing what they wanted. For example, Trolls may present a beautiful appearance in order to trick a character into following them into their mountain home, then hold the character captive for years.
Trolls are sometimes associated with particular landmarks, which at times may be explained as formed from a troll exposed to sunlight.
Numerous tales about trolls are recorded, in which they are at times described man-eaters and as turning to stone upon contact with sunlight.
A Scandinavian folk belief that lightning frightens away trolls and jötnar appears in numerous Scandinavian folktales, and may be a late reflection of the god Thor’s role in fighting such things.
Additionally, the absence of trolls in regions of Scandinavia are described in folklore as being a “consequence of the constant din of the church-bells”. This ring caused the trolls to leave for other lands, although not without some resistance; numerous traditions relate how trolls destroyed a church under construction or lunged boulders and stones at completed churches. Large local stones are sometimes described as the product of a troll’s toss.
Protection - The Troll Cross
The troll cross is an amulet made of a circle of iron crossed at the bottom in a shape of an odal rune. It was worn by Scandinavian people as a protection against trolls and malevolent magic.
Steel and iron were both thought to ward off many types of vættir (trolls, alfar, and huldufólk,) and also avert the power of witches. Steel and iron appear in a number of pieces of folk magic to ward off vættir, root them in place so they become harmless, or break enchantments (for example, by throwing a piece of steel or iron over the enchanted being or object).