A Troll's Heartbreak
In the far away land of the Realm of Wymsy there is a rock troll who lives under a stone bridge. Now everyone has heard the story about a troll living under a bridge who would eat any traveler crossing it if they could not answer the riddle asked by the troll, but this is not that troll. This huge shabby dressed troll was a gambler. He carried with him a small pouch of ruby red dice that he had tied at his waist and would offer the traveler a roll of the dice for his safe passage and his life. Would you trust your life on a roll of the dice?
As the troll waited under his bridge, occasionally he could see someone jump off of a rocky cliff by the bridge that had a sign posted there that read “Lover’s Leap”. He could not understand why they would do this. He could understand wanting to cross a bridge to get to the other side, but to jump off of a cliff and only go down to the bottom was inconceivable. There was no chance involved. “What was the point in that?” he would say as he watched another jump off of the cliff. “I must find out,” he decided one day.
So, the next time a traveler was trying to cross his bridge, he stuck his head out and told the traveler to answer his question to cross or be eaten instead of having the regular chance at the normal roll of the dice.
Now this sad traveler was a tailor who had just broken up with his girl. Coming across this troll was just another problem in his life of woes right then. He was going to Lover’s Leap but because he lived on the wrong side of the bridge, he had to cross the troll bridge first to get there. “Ask away,” was his answer to the troll, for by this point he did not care if he was eaten. “It would save me the walk,” he sadly thought.
“Why does anyone jump from the cliff called Lover’s Leap?” the troll asked. Surprised by this question, the traveler being sad and despondent, answered before thinking. “Because we want to take away the pain of a broken heart,” he cried to the troll. “That is why I am going there so I won’t feel this pain any longer.”
“How’s that for luck,” thought the troll. “I will get my questions answered on the first traveler. How lucky for me!” Thinking quickly (as this troll was much smarter than most – those things you hear about stupid trolls is all a fabrication started by the dwarves and gnomes – but that is another story), the troll decided to ask another question realizing that the traveler would probably answer more than the required one. “How did you get a broken heart? Did someone drop it?”
As the tears fell from the traveler’s eyes, he told the troll his story of how he was just a poor tailor in love with a girl who betrayed him and how he decided he could not live without the one that he loved. He went to explain that “I courted her as society expected. She was my sunshine as I was the flower in the field. Now without her, I wither and am no longer,” sobbed the traveler. “Which is why I just can’t go on without her in my life.”
Now the troll realized that he needed some time to consider what the traveler had said. Trolls don’t experience this problem as a troll is usually a solitary creature until the ‘urging’ strikes. Then they search for another troll with the 'urging'. This idea of ‘dating’ and ‘courting’ are strange thoughts and seemed unnecessary. “Why would they do this,” he wondered over and over again. Deciding this traveler was a trollmine (I mean goldmine) of information, he did something completely different than normal. “I will not let you cross the bridge today, but as tonight is a full moon, if you return at the next full moon I will then let you over,” he told the traveler. “In that time I will be able to tell if you are telling me the truth about this ‘Love’ you have told me about. Come back then and I will let you cross.” In despair the traveler turned back to his home, vowing to return at the appointed time.
As the traveler was leaving, the troll was deciding how to find out more about this word ‘Love’. The traveler had told him that it was a feeling that made the whole body tingle and caused confusion in the mind. “The last time I felt that was when I drank that stuff out of the barrel that said ‘Dragon Potion’… but I don’t think he meant that,” thought the troll. I must ask a Great Troll about this.
Now, most scholars know that the trolls do not have a form of government. They normally are loosely scattered and live under certain bridges but they do respect their elders. It is assumed that if a troll lived long enough to become an ancient one, then it must be worth respecting for it had great skills in survival and must know a lot about bridges and travelers. As luck would have it, our troll lived next to an ancient one who had a covered bridge which spanned a fast moving stream and so it was there he decided to ask his question about ‘Love’.
As the troll approached the covered bridge, the ancient one, whose name was Hretta, asked his business on her bridge. Trolls are very protective of their bridges and other trolls are not normally allowed under or on them. In troll fashion, our troll turned around and backed up to the bridge while asking his question. In this way, if things went wrong, the troll was ready to run. “Ancient one, a traveler told me about a strange magic called ‘Love’ and I wish to find out if what he said about it was true.
He said that it makes the body tingle, causes confusion of the mind, and when it is returned by another, it makes everyone with it a hero. Is this so?”
Hretta was indeed a very old troll. She had been around before the Dragons, elves, and most of the other Fae inhabited the Realm. With all of her years and all of her escapades, she was still surprised by the question of this young troll and decided to answer it. “Yes, it is true. It is like a disease that weakens the strong and makes them vulnerable but can also make the weak become invincible. It clouds judgment but can also remove all fear and make one courageous.”
“How can I get this thing called ‘Love’?” he asked. “Can you gamble for it?”
Smiling, Hretta decided that she would help him to get his desire. “Yes you can, but it takes two trolls to make it happen. I have decided to help you young troll for you please me. Follow the river to the south and you will come to another bridge. My daughter lives under that bridge and tell her that you are looking for ‘Love’. Maybe she will help you find it.”
Quickly the troll set out on his search. This thing called ‘Love’ sure was elusive and the sooner he found it, the safer he would be. “She said I could become invincible and fearless when I found out,” he thought, forgetting already the ancient trolls warning of also becoming weak and defenseless. Shortly he came to the bridge and approached with as much noise as he could make.
Even if you are a troll, it is best not to sneak up to another troll’s bridge for the owner is very possessive as I have mentioned before. When a large boulder flew past his ear he knew that he had been heard. I have come looking for ‘Love’ was his reply when asked what it was he wanted.
Shortly a troll head peaked around the edge of the bridge to look at our troll. “My name is Hrortia. What was it you said?” she asked. Immediately our troll was spellbound. He had never seen a female troll except his mother and that was a long time ago when he was but a small pebble. Tongue tied, the troll tried to remember what he had said. “Your eyes are like sapphires,” he eventually told her, unable to think of anything else as he continued to babble. “The way one is blue and one green is like looking at the sky while waiting under a bridge for a traveler and while hiding in the bushes.”
Now, Hrortia had heard his original greeting and was slightly amused at this change in response. She too was looking for love, but with another troll who lived nearby. “Maybe I can use this troll to make the one I love jealous,” she thought. (Did I not say earlier that trolls were smarter than you thought?) She welcomed the troll under her bridge and they spent the day laughing and talking together for she knew that her troll would walk past her bridge every day to tell her about the travelers trying to cross his bridge. This day was no exception, but this time when he started to tell her about the travelers, she told him she was busy with another and he would have to come back a different day.
This continued for several days until it was the day before the full moon when the loveless traveler was to return so he could go to Lover’s Leap. On this morning our troll awoke after dreaming about Hrortia all night. His mind was confused as he only thought of her now. He did not worry about travelers crossing his bridge while he was away. He only thought of her and her green and blue eyes. He knew that if she asked, he would move a mountain for her. “Was this the power of love that he was told about,” he wondered as he walked to her bridge for he felt both powerful and weak. If she saw something she wanted, he would do anything to get it for her because he was powerless to say no. When he arrived at her bridge he heard her laughing and realized he greatly enjoyed the sound. That was until he went around the edge of the bridge and saw her with another troll. When he asked what the other troll was doing there, she told him that it was her true love and that now she had no further use of him. She had only used him to get the other troll jealous and was now time for our troll to leave.
Sad, broken-hearted and filled with despair, our troll started back to his bridge. By the time he arrived, he had decided to continue on to ‘Lover’s Leap’ and throw himself off the edge. “If I cannot be with her, then I don’t want to be anywhere,” he had decided. As luck would have it, it was at this time that the traveler who had vowed to return had done so and was sitting on the bridge awaiting the troll. Seeing the tailor, the troll told him that he could freely cross and that he was going with him to Lover’s Leap. “I will join you in your task,” he told the traveler as he finally understood what ‘Love’ was.
“Oh, my friend. Do not go. You have helped me, so I will help you. When you told me to come back at the next full moon at first I despaired. How could I live another day without my love let alone three times three times three more days? The first day was difficult, as I could not get her out of my mind. Then as time progressed, I realized that she had not loved me back. For ‘Love’ to happen takes two… not just one. I realized that I had not truly found love and that throwing myself off of Lover’s Leap was not right. But why would you want to do this now?” asked the tailor.
The troll told him his tale of searching for ‘Love’ and thinking that he had found it, but instead only receiving a broken heart. “Ah… that can be fixed for I am a tailor and can perform such magic,” the traveler told the troll. Opening his backpack, the tailor took out a heart he had made from felt and wool and gave it to the troll. “This heart will be in place of your broken one and as the clock on the front implies, in time yours will be whole again for love to fill.”
Finally the troll understood the meaning of ‘Love’ and how it was more powerful than a mighty Dragon and at the same time as fragile as a flower’s bloom. The troll still lives under that bridge, and the tailor is the only traveler who does not have to gamble to cross. He only has to answer one question from the troll – “And how are you feeling today?” He also carries the heart the tailor gave to him that day and every once in a while will look at it while he awaits his true love to appear.