The Spring Troll
A Beautiful Spring Day
Alffina was very happy when her mother told her she could go out and play. She had already finished all of her chores, and all that was left to do was start the supper. Her mother, Elina, had quickly learned over these past few months that her daughter was more of a burden than a help in the preparation of the day's main meal, and was therefore more than glad to release her from further duties. Before Alffina left, Elina, like all mothers, warned her daughter to be careful, and not to stray too far from home .
The mid - afternoon sun was warm and welcoming as it gently brushed up against Alffina's cheeks, and it added to the joy of being outdoors. Unlike adults, who had lost their sense of adventure long ago, every rock, flower, and tree was something to be explored by the inquisitive mind of a child. With each new distraction Alffina was taken farther and farther away from her home until she could no longer see the simple structure in the distance. Alffina was a very young child, this is true, but she was smart enough to always keep the road that led back to her home in sight so she would not become lost.
Everywhere she went she picked the beautiful flowers she found along the way. Alffina was careful to choose a variety of flowers, and by the time she reached the stone bridge, that allowed people to cross the small river that flowed across the countryside, she had gathered a bouquet of many different flowers, each with a different shape, color, and distinctive scent.
As Alffina was admiring her flower collection she caught sight of several bees flying near the water's edge just below the bridge. She had been told many times, by her mother, that bees collected a type of nectar from the flowers that these colorful little insects then turned into honey, which just happened to be her favorite food. So little Alffina figured that where there were bees there had to be flowers !
Alffina slowly and carefully made her way down the slope of the embankment to the water's edge. As with most children she was fearless of most things, but water, because she could not yet swim, terrified her. And today the river was especially high and swift due to the melting snows from the heights that surrounded the village of Nidaros. Alffina breathed a sigh of relief when she safely reached the level ground near the river's edge with nothing more than a few dirt stains on her dress.
With her fear of falling down the slope into the raging water lost for the moment she once again found herself searching for the gentle buzzing sound of bees flying from flower to flower. It was then that she spotted a large bee as it landed on a beautiful little white flower near the spot where the grass under the bridge met the mud of the river bank. And to her delight there was not one flower, but a small bouquet of four or five flowers growing very close together.
Alffina approached the flowers with wide eyes, and a huge happy smile which had formed her face. She had never seen such a beautiful flower before in her life. The center was as yellow as the sun in the noon sky, and pure white petals flared out from it's golden center as if they were the fingers of two hands that were cupping the sun disk.
At that point the river could have risen behind her and swept her away and she would barely have noticed. Such was the focus of her attention . Alffina clapped her hands together in sheer joy as she braved being stung by the annoyed bee to get a whiff of it's fragrance. On her knees, in the wet mud, she gently placed her hand on the stem of the flower, pulled it towards her, then placed her nose near the pretty little bloom, and inhaled deeply.
Alffina's joy turned to disappointment in the blink of an eye when she realized that the little flower had little or no scent at all. At first she was not deterred by the inadequacy of it's fragrance, and placed her nose directly up against the yellow center of the flower, and inhaled a second time. Once again, however, she was frustrated by it's lack of a sweet smell.
With a small pout on her face Alffina picked up her bouquet and took a whiff of each flower in turn. Most had a sweet fragrance, while a few had a slightly more pungent odor. All, however, had a scent that was detectable and unique, unlike this new flower she had discovered under the bridge. Frustrated, Alffina set the bouquet on the ground, and stood over the white flower with a perplexed look upon her face.
" How can a flower as beautiful as you not smell as pretty as you look ? " she asked the flower as though it could reply.
After waiting a few moments without receiving an answer, Alffina knelt back down and looked at the beautiful yellow flowers with the white petals more closely.
" I guess the bees find you with their eyes, because there is no way they could find you by your scent ! " she told the bloom in an annoyed tone.
After studying the flowers, and the plant below that produced them, for several more moments she decided that although it did not have a fragrance it would make a nice addition to her flower collection.
" I think four of you will look nice in my bouquet. " she informed the flowers as she reached down and broke the stem of the first one.
Alffina placed it carefully in her bouquet, admiring it once more for a moment, before reaching down to pluck another. She had just broken the second flower's stem when something reached out and grabbed her hand ! With terrified eyes she slowly looked down to see what had her in it's grip. What she saw made her tremble ! A great stubby hairy hand had her tightly in it's grip ! Then, from above her, she heard a gruff voice say in an angry tone :
" Do not touch Balder's Brow ! They are mine and adorn my bridge home !! " it scolded her.
Alffina had never been so scared in her whole life ! As she slowly lifted her head, and allowed her eyes to make their way up the creature's body, she thought that she might become sick. Her eyes first saw it's stubby little legs which met at a wide waist. It's chest was large, easily twice as big as a man's, and the creature's ugly hairy head seemed to set on it's shoulders without the help of a neck. But the one thing that made her tremble the most was the huge misshapen nose that protruded from the middle of it's hideous face ! As it stared down at her with red blood shot eyes Alffina, who had never considered her own mortality, began to fear for her life !
- End Chapter 2
- Next : Chapter 3 : The Troll
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.