A Story by Father Mojo

There once was a troll, who lived under a bridge, which sat on the edge of an enchanted forest and meadow.

Since some reading this may take issue with the word “enchanted,” insisting that it is promoting witchcraft, or paganism, or something that no one but them has ever thought about, the “magical” storyteller wishes to make it clear that the word “enchanted” is a literary devise, and not meant to be a substitute for any theological concept, religious construct, cosmology, ideology or lack thereof. It is just the way stories like this go. Nobody is trying to brainwash or influence their kids. It is just a story�"and it is even a meaningless story, so try not to get worked up over vocabulary.

If nothing else, perhaps everyone can agree that the forest and the meadow were enchanting if not actually enchanted. The forest was pleasant and peaceful; the meadow was warm and sunny. Both the forest and the meadow were filled with life. In the meadow, buzzing things buzzed, flying things flew, hopping things hopped. In the forest, birds sang beautiful songs, squirrels and other small animals scurried through the brush and trees, deer wandered aimlessly enjoying the day. 

Connecting the meadow and the forest was a bridge that extended over a wide and deep brook. The brook ran along the edge of the forest on one side, and the meadow on the other. There were places where the brook narrowed, and the water would speed up, singing worried and hasty songs; there were other places where it would widen, and the water slowed, singing peaceful, lazy rhythms. Under the bridge, lived a troll. He was not a mean troll. He was a friendly troll. But he was, whether mean or friendly, a troll.

“Occasionally, travelers journeyed down the path that cut through the woods, leading to the bridge; or they took the path that cut through the meadow, leading to the bridge. The troll always heard them coming. He had very good ears, and loneliness made his hearing more acute.  Whenever he heard the sound of travelers, the troll became excited. It was, to him, the sound of possibility. It was the sound of hope. It was the sound of the idea that maybe someone would stop and talk and allow him to forget for a moment or two, just how lonely he was. 

He heart pounded as he imagined what the traveler was like, what he would say, how the stranger would respond. He would then peek out from under the shelter of the bridge, and watch the traveler advance. When the person was close enough, the troll leapt out from under his bridge, and greeted the stranger. He would try to engage in small talk, ask questions about the wanderer’s travels, offer provisions and advice, and would often suggest that the bridge and the brook would be a good place to stop and rest for a while. He did all this because he was generous, and nice, and hospitable, but also because he feared if no one stopped, the oppressive loneliness would one day turn him to dust. 

“But the problem with the travelers is that they are always busy traveling somewhere.  They were always too busy trying to get to wherever they were going, that they never took the time to appreciate where they were. It was just a place on the way to where it was they were going. That is all it would ever be to them. So no one ever took a moment to stop and talk to the troll. Most simply ignored him. Others dismissed the troll politely: “I would love to stop and chat, but I have to be in the next village by sunset,” they would tell him. Yet, whether they were respectful, rude, or simply ignored him, the result was always the same: they would cross over the bridge, scarcely changing the rhythm of their footsteps, or the hoofbeats of their horses.

The hollow echo of their footfalls hovered toward the troll and perched on his heart, and as the sound settled upon him, he could feel himself sinking into the mud on the bank from the weight. To him, the sound of his bridge being crossed was the sound of desolation; it was the sound of tears that ripen in the corner of eyes, at that precise moment just before rigid fingers smear them across familiar cheeks in a vain attempt to wipe them away.

Not far away from the troll and the bridge and the meadow, on the other side of the forest, there was a castle.

The castle was the home of kings and queens, princes, and princesses. It was immense and bustling with people and activity. Knights, artists, scholars, and entertainers assembled day and night, recounting tales of slaying dragons, relating the newest learning, listening to wonders and adventures. Whenever travelers arrived in the kingdom, they always visited the castle and told of their journeys. It was everything that the troll's home was not.    

Inside this castle, there lived a princess, who, depending on one’s perspective, may, or may not, have been very beautiful.

One day, the troll heard the thumping of a horse racing down the forest path. The troll looked out and he saw the princess riding a white horse and wearing a long, flowing gown, bouncing atop the horse's stride. The instant that the troll looked at her, his heart was ensnared and he fell in love. 

The princess rode down the path like all the other travelers, but unlike all the other travelers, and much to the troll's surprise, she did not cross the bridge. She stopped. She didn’t stop, however, due to an invitation from the troll. He remained hidden. The princess stopped because she was not going anywhere. She was simply riding through the forest and thought that the bridge and the brook on the edge of the forest and the meadow was a wonderful place to stop.

  The princess dismounted from her horse and sat on the side of the stream. She spent hours in that spot, singing songs to herself, picking flowers and daintily dropping them into the water, watching with amusement as the current carried them away.

“The troll desperately wanted to say something to the princess. Yet, when he tried to talk to her, he found that he was paralyzed. Someone had finally stopped, but the troll was too afraid to greet her. “What if she will not return my love?” he asked himself, “I am, after all, a troll. And she is, at least from my perspective, a beautiful princess.” He watched her some more. “What if she doesn’t even like me at all? What if my appearance frightens her away?” 

So the troll peered out from under his home, barely moving, barely breathing, straining to make no sound, afraid that if she knew he was there, she would run away and never come back.  So he just sat there�" motionlessly, soundlessly, breathlessly, until she rode off, back to her castle.  

Even as she was riding away, he remained paralyzed in a desperate endeavor to find some word, some phrase, some something, that he could say or do, which would catch her attention, possibly even dazzle her, allowing him not to seem so much like a troll. But those sort of somethings are rare, as are the opportunities to utter them, and she disappeared into the distance. He watched her as long as he could, but the forest eventually swallowed both her form and sound, and there was once more only the sound of the rambling brook, the scurrying animals, and the buzzing of the buzzing things.

The next day the troll was sadder and more lonely than ever. He knew he had his chance to make a friend, and who knows what else more she could have been, but he was too afraid to take it. Then to his surprise, he heard the sound of a horse trotting down the forest path. It was the princess. She was returning once more. Once more she stopped by the brook, and once more the troll was paralyzed. She returned home to the castle after spending a couple hours in her newfound spot.

The same thing happened the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. The princess arrived at the spot every day. The troll could no longer remember if he had been in love with the princess for days, weeks, months, or even years or decades. Every day she came to the brook, the troll knew that it could be the last time he saw her. He knew it could be his last chance to make her acquaintance. Every day he froze. Every day, as she rode away, he hoped that she would return. Each day he hoped that he would finally say something-anything! Each day he remained silent and alone. Whenever she left, he would tell himself, “Today is going to be the day that she meets her prince charming and she’ll never be back.” 

In his troll dreams he made the bold gesture, advancing out from under his stony sanctuary, falling into her gaze, singing with her, dropping flowers in the stream with her. In his troll dreams they fall in love and they both ride her white horse into the sunset, or some such place, living happily-ever-after. But each morning he awoke to once more face the grizzly truth:  his dream would never come true. It couldn’t come true! It was not because it was an impossible dream, it was not because princesses never fall in love with trolls�"they do you know�"it was an impossible dream only because the troll was convinced that it was impossible. He was too afraid to make the slightest effort to challenge what he thought was inevitable, so his impossible dream became an impossible reality. Every morning the troll was resolute in his conviction that “Today is the day!” Every day he faced the fact that “the day” would never come�"because he was too afraid to let it come.

The troll once told of his love for the princess to the brook, hoping that the brook would betray his secret and tell the princess about the troll and of his fear and of his love. But brooks are excellent secret-keepers, and the princess never knew of the troll or of his love�"and the troll never knew if dreams can come true

One day the princess rode away and never came back. The troll waited patiently each day for years, until one day he realized that she would never return. “Maybe she finally met her Prince Charming,” he would muse, “or maybe she just became too grown up to continue wasting her days by a brook, even if it is a particularly nice brook, near a charming bridge, on the edge of an enchanted (the troll’s word, not the storyteller’s) forest. Who knows why she hasn’t returned, and who knows what could have been if she had?” 

On that day when he realized that the princess was never, ever, going to return, he just walked off into the forest and never came back. There are those who say that when he found that he had nothing to lose, he found the courage to go to the princess and tell her that he was under the bridge all along. It is said that she fell in love with his sweetness and sincerity, and they lived happily-ever-after. Some do say this, but most say that he faded away to nothing, not even dust. He just wandered around alone and sad until there was nothing left of him.

The storyteller will leave the ending to the reader. He knows which he prefers, but he also knows that the one he would like to declare as the true end to the fable is the one that is most unlikely. But one can hope, and one can dream, that in a world such as this, a beautiful princess can find it in her heart to love a brave little troll who makes his love known to her. One can also hope that a beautiful princess can understand the fears of a lonely troll and that she can find it in herself to take the initiative. 

So to all the princesses in all the kingdoms, whether they border on enchanting forest and meadows, or whether they do not, whether they are in fairytales or whether they are not, whether they live in castles, or wherever they may be, take a moment to look under any bridge that you may come across. Take the time to investigate any potential troll lodgings. Send soft words into dark places, and invite the inhabitants who may be there, to come out into the sunlight. 


© 2013 Father Mojo

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the troll should have set the bar a bit lower maybe go for another troll or some creature would have had a better chance of getting laid.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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Added on May 11, 2013
Last Updated on May 11, 2013
Tags: princess, troll, fairy, forest, enchanted, tale


Father Mojo
Father Mojo

Carneys Point, NJ

"I gave food to the poor and they called me a saint; I asked why the poor have no food and they called me a communist. --- Dom Helder Camara" more..


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