Olli and the Rich Old Troll
There was once a wicked, rich old troll  who lived on a mountain
that sloped down to a bay. A decent farmer lived on the opposite side
of the bay. The farmer had three sons. When the boys had reached
manhood he said to them one day, "I should think it would shame you
three strong youths that that wicked old troll over there should live
on year after year and no one trouble him. We work hard like honest
people and are as poor at the end of the year as at the beginning. That
old troll with all his wickedness grows richer and richer. I tell you,
if you boys had any real spirit, you'd take his riches from him and
drive him away!"
His youngest son, whose name was Olli , at once cried out, "Very well, father, I will!"
But the two older sons, offended at Olli's promptness, declared,
"You'll do no such thing! Don't forget your place in the family! You're
the youngest and we're not going to let you push us aside. Now, father,
we two will go across the bay and rout out that old troll. Olli may
come with us if he likes and watch us while we do it."
Olli laughed and said: "All right!" for he was used to his brothers and their ways.
So in a few days the three brothers walked around the bay and up the
mountain and presented themselves at the troll's house. The troll and
his old wife were both at home. They received the brothers with great
"You're the sons of the farmer who lives across the bay, aren't you?"
the troll said. "I've watched you boys grow up. I am certainly glad to
see you, for I have three daughters who need husbands. Marry my
daughters and you'll inherit my riches."
The old troll made this offer in order to get the young men into his power.
"Be careful!" Olli whispered. But the brothers were too delighted at
the prospect of inheriting the troll's riches so easily to pay any heed
to Olli's warning. Instead they accepted the troll's offer at once. The
old troll's wife made them a fine supper and after supper the troll
sent them to bed with his three daughters. But first he put red caps on
the three youths and white caps on the three troll girls. He made a
joke about the caps.
"A red cap and a white cap in each bed!" he said.
The older brothers suspected nothing and soon fell asleep. Olli, too,
pretended to fall asleep, but when he was sure that none of the troll
girls were still awake he got up and quietly changed the caps. He put
the white caps on himself and his brothers and the red caps on the
troll girls. Then he crept back to bed and waited.
Presently the old troll came over to the beds with a long knife in his
hand. There was so little light in the room that he couldn't see the
faces of the sleepers, but it was easy enough to distinguish the white
caps from the red caps. With three swift blows he cut off the heads
under the red caps, thinking they were the heads of the three visiting
youths. Then he went back to bed with the old troll wife and Olli could
hear them both chuckling and laughing. After a time they went soundly
to sleep as Olli could tell from their deep regular breathing and their
Olli now roused his brothers and told them what had happened. The three
of them slipped quietly out of the troll house and hurried home to
their father on the other side of the bay.
After that the older brothers no longer talked of despoiling the troll.
They didn't care to try another encounter with him. "He might have cut
our heads off!" they said, shuddering to think of the awful risk they
Olli laughed at them. "Come on!" he kept saying to them day after day. "Let's go across the bay to the troll's!"
"We'll do no such thing!" they told him. "And you wouldn't suggest it either if you weren't so young and foolish!"
"Well," Olli announced at last, "if you won't come with me I'm going
alone. I've heard that the troll has a horse with hairs of gold and
silver. I've decided I want that horse."
"Olli," his father said, "I don't believe you ought to go. You know
what your brothers say. That old troll is an awfully sly one!"
But Olli only laughed. "Goodbye!" he called back as he waved his hand. "When you see me again I'll be riding the troll's horse!"
The troll wasn't at home but the old troll wife was there. When she saw
Olli she thought to herself, "Mercy me, here's one of those boy who
changed the caps so that we slaughtered our daughters instead of them!
What shall I do? I must keep him here on some pretext or other till the
troll comes home!"
So she pretended to be very glad to see him. "Why, Olli," she said, "is that you? Come right in!"
She tallied to him as long as she could, and when she could think of
nothing more to say she asked him would he take the horse and water it
at the lake.
"That will keep him busy," she thought to herself, "and long before he gets back from the lake the troll will be here."
But Olli, instead of leading the horse down to the lake, jumped on its
back and galloped away, and by the time the troll reached home, he was
safely on the other side of the bay.
When the troll heard from the old troll wife what had happened, he went
down to the shore and hallooed across the bay: "Olli! Oh, Olli, are you
Olli made a trumpet of his hands and called back, "Yes, I'm here! What do you want?"
"Olli, have you got my horse?"
"Yes, I've got the horse, but let's agree it is my horse now!"
"Olli! Olli!" his father cried. "You mustn't talk that way to the troll! You'll make him angry!"
And his brothers looking with envy at the horse with gold and silver
hairs warned him sourly, "You better be careful, young man, or the
troll will get you yet!"
A few days later Olli announced, "I think I'll go over and get the troll's money-bag."
His father tried to dissuade him. "Don't be foolhardy, Olli! Your
brothers say you had better not go to the troll's house again."
But Olli only laughed and started gaily off as though he hadn't a fear in the world.
Again he found the old troll wife alone. "Mercy me!" she thought to
herself as she saw him coming, "here is that Olli again! Whatever shall
I do? I mustn't let him off this time before the troll gets back! I
must keep him right here with me in the house."
So when he came in she pretended that she was tired and that her back
ached. Then she asked him if he would watch the bread in the oven while
she rested a few moments on the bed.
"Certainly I will," said Olli.
So the old troll wife lay down on the bed and Olli sat quietly in front
of the oven. The troll wife really was tired, so before she knew it she
"Ha!" thought Olli, "here's my chance!" Without disturbing the troll
wife he reached under the bed, pulled out the big money-bag full of
silver pieces, threw it over his shoulder and hurried home.
He was measuring the money when he heard the troll hallooing across to him, "Olli! Oh, Olli, are you there?"
"Yes," Olli shouted back, "I'm here! What do you want?"
"Olli, have you got my money-bag?"
"Yes, I've got your money-bag but let's agree it's my moneybag now!"
A few days later Olli said, "Do you know, the troll has a beautiful
coverlet woven of silk and gold. I think I'll go over and get it."
His father as usual protested but Olli laughed at him merrily and went.
He took with him an auger and a can of water. He hid till it was dark,
then climbed the roof of the troll's house and bored a hole right over
the bed. When the troll and his wife went to sleep, he sprinkled some
water on the coverlet and on their faces.
The troll woke with a start. "I'm wet!" he said, "and the bed's wet, too!"
The old troll wife got up to change the covers. "The roof must be
leaking," she said. "It never leaked before. I suppose it was that last
She threw the wet coverlet up over the rafters to dry and put other covers on the bed.
When she and the troll were again asleep, Olli made the hole a little
bigger, reached in his hand, and got the coverlet from the rafters.
Next morning the troll hallooed across the bay, "Olli! Oh, Olli, are you there?"
"Yes," OIli shouted back, "I'm here! What do you want?"
"Have you got my coverlet woven of silk and gold?"
"Yes," Olli told him, "I've got the coverlet, but let's agree it it's my coverlet now!"
A few days later Olli said, "There's still one thing in the troll's
house that I think I ought to get. It's a golden bell. If I get that
golden bell then there will be nothing left that had better belong to
So he went again to the troll's house taking with him a saw and an
auger. He hid till night and, when the troll and his wife were asleep,
he cut a hole through the side of the house through which he reached in
his hand to get the bell. At the touch of his hand the bell tinkled and
woke the troll. The troll jumped out of bed and grabbed Olli's hand.
"Ha! Ha!" he cried. "I've got you now and this time you won't get away!"
Olli didn't try to get away. He made no resistance while the troll dragged him into the house.
"We'll eat him, that's what we'll do!" the troll said to his wife. "Heat the oven at once and we'll roast him!"
So the troll wife built a roaring fire in the oven.
"He'll make a fine roast!" the troll said, pinching Olli's arms and
legs. "I think we ought to invite the other troll folks to come and
help us eat him up. Suppose I just go over the mountain and gather them
in. You can manage here without me. As soon as the oven is well heated
just take Olli and slip him in and close the door. By the time we come
he'll be done."
"Very well," the troll wife said, "but don't be too long! He's young and tender and will roast quickly!"
So the troll went out to invite to the feast the troll folk who lived
on the other side of the mountain, and Olli was left alone with the
When the oven was well heated she raked out the coals and said to Olli,
"Now then, my boy, sit down in front of the oven with your back to the
opening and I'll push you in nicely."
Olli pretended he didn't quite understand. He sat down first one way
and then another, spreading himself out so large that he was too big
for the oven door.
"Not that way!" the troll wife kept saying. "Hunch up little, straight in front of the door!"
"You show me how," Olli begged.
So the old troll wife sat down before the oven directly in front of the
opening, and she hunched herself up very compactly with her chin on her
knees and her arms around her legs.
"Oh, that way!" Olli said, "So that you can just take hold of me and push me in and shut the door!"
And as he spoke he took hold of her and pushed her in and slammed the
oven door. Olli let her roast in the oven till she was done to a turn.
Then he took her out and put her on the table all ready for the feast.
He also filled a sack with straw and dressed the sack up in some of the
old troll wife's clothes. He threw the dressed up sack on the bed and,
just to glance at it, you'd suppose it was the troll wife asleep. Then
Olli took the golden bell and went home.
Well, presently the troll and all the troll folk from over the mountain came trooping in.
"Yum! Yum! It certainly smells good!" they said as they got the first whiff from the big roast on the table.
"See!" the troll said, pointing to the bed. "The old woman's asleep!
Well, let her sleep! She's tired! We'll just sit down without her!"
So they set to and feasted and feasted. "Ha! Ha!" said the troll. "This is the way to serve a troublesome sneak thief!"
Just then his knife struck something hard and he looked down to see
what it was. "Mercy me!" he cried, "if here isn't one of the old
woman's beads! What can that mean? You don't suppose the roast is not
Olli after all but the old woman! No! No! It cannot be!"
He got up and went over to the bed. Then he came back shaking his head sadly.
"My friends," he said, "we've been eating the old woman! However, we've
eaten so much of her that I suppose we might as well eat the rest too!"
So the troll folks sat all night feasting and drinking.
At dawn the troll went down to the water and hallooed across: "Olli Oh, Olli, are you there?"
Olli who was safely home shouted back: "Yes, I'm here! What do you want?"
"Have you got my golden bell?"
"Yes, I've got the golden bell, but let's agree it it's my golden bell now!"
"One thing more, Olli: did you roast my old woman?"
"Your old woman?" Olli echoed. "Look! Is that she?" Olli pointed at the rising sun which was coming up behind the troll.
The troll turned and looked. He looked straight at the sun and then he
burst. That was the end of him. And after that no other troll ever
dared settle on that side of the mountain. They were all too afraid.