The Spring Troll
The Story Of Creation
Alffina looked up at the grotesque little Troll with eyes opened wide in anticipation of what he would say. He, however, seemed in no particular hurry to begin as he stood watching the river swiftly flow by. Her lips curled up slightly on either side into a tiny nervous smile when Sirik took his time sitting down beside her. And like an impatient little ground squirrel Alffina fidgeted from side to side on the damp grass of the embankment while the Troll slowly stroked his beard and brushed off his clothes. But still he remained silent. Finally the impatient child inside her could not stand the excitement any more and she blurted out :
" Sirik ! Please tell me about these other Gods ! Please !! "
The Troll's bushy eyebrows seemed to raise all the way up to his hairline at the little girl's anxious plea. Sirik tried to hide the pleasure he felt from making the human wait for him to start, but he failed miserably. A wicked little grin appeared on his face despite his best efforts to control himself. Sirik had no reason to be in a hurry. While these humans counted their lifetimes in years, Trolls measured their existence in hundreds of centuries. Sirik considered himself to have all the time in the world, ... and yet there was something in the way the little human stared at him with her big blue eyes that made him feel uncomfortable with his hesitation.
" Alright ! Alright ! But I will not start the great tale with the old Gods ! " he told her bluntly.
Alffina's smile turned quickly into a frown.
" But you promised to tell me about the Gods and Goddesses ! " she quickly shot back.
" Well, little one, for your information the Gods did not exist in the earliest time. " he explained to his eager student.
Alffina looked shock. She leaned in towards Sirik as though what she was about to be told was a deep dark secret. Sirik in turn, and as a reflex, also bent forward as he began to speak.
" In the beginning nothing existed. There was no sand,... no sea,..., and no earth to speak of. Nor was there a heaven. Only the great void known as Ginnungagap existed. The first world to form from the power of the cosmos was Muspell in the southern hemisphere. It was a world of great light, where red hot flames burned upon it's surface like the glowing coals of a blacksmith's furnace. No one could live there for long in such a land who was not native to it's molten shores. And yet a Fire Giant, born out of this intense heat, forever stands guard over this volcanic region to protect it from any and all who might invade his sacred land. His name is Surtr, and he wields a sword of molten flame. " the Troll began.
" Our priest calls that place Hell, and the being that rules over that realm is called Lucifer, or the devil. " she innocently told the Troll.
Sirik furrowed his brow and narrowed his eyes as he shook his finger at the little girl.
" Do you wish to talk of the God of the desert peoples, or do you want to hear about the Gods of your Norse ancestors little one ?! " Sirik asked in a scolding tone.
Alffina pouted her lips and lowered her head.
" I am sorry. " she said apologetically.
Then she perked up and added with an air of excitement :
" Please tell me more ! "
The Troll pretended to be in deep thought for a moment before answering.
" Well, alright,... if you insist. " he told her.
" On the opposite end of Ginnungagap, and many, many millennium before Midgard existed, there formed a realm named Niflheim. This damp, cold, and misty land had at it's center a great spring named Hvergelmir, and from this source flowed the rivers known collectively as the Elivagar. Their names were the Svol, Xunnthra, Fjorm, Fimbulthur, Slid, Hrid, Sylg, Ylg, Vid, Leipt, and Gjoll. When these rivers came far away from their source the venom that flowed in them hardened like slag, and turned into ice in the coldness of Ginnungagap. Over time a drizzling rain came down upon this great void and cooled into a rime, and each layer of ice formed on top of the other throughout Ginnungagap. The north side of the void became covered in ice and hoar frost. Strong winds and freezing rain blew along it's surface both night and day. But on the south side of Ginnungagap it became light and warmer by the sparks and embers that were blown out of the fiery world of Muspelheim. " he told the human before pausing.
"Would you like a drink of root tea ? " Sirik asked the little girl.
Alffina looked up at the darkening skies before replying.
" I am very thirsty ! But if you leave to make tea will you have time to finish the story of the Gods? " she asked innocently.
Sirik laughed at the absurdity of the question.
" It will take many days for me to tell you of the great deeds of the Gods. If you wish to hear them all you will have to visit me often. " he explained to Alffina.
Alffina looked up at the Troll's misshapen face with wide eyes.
" Then you will be here tomorrow if I come back ? " she asked hopefully.
Sirik got up and began to walk back to his earthen dwelling. As he opened the sod door he turned and spoke to Alffina with a broad smile upon his face.
" I will be here until Sunna's summer rays force me deeper into the earth. " he informed her.
When the door closed behind the Troll Alffina could no longer hold back her absolute joy ! She jumped up off of the ground and danced around in circles. Not only did she have a new friend, albeit a strange one, he was a great storyteller who knew things that she had never been told before !
It was not long before the turf door opened again and the Troll emerged holding a tray made of stone. On the tray were two silver cups, and a type of biscuit that made Alffina's mouth water with anticipation.
" I hope you like this drink,...I made your tea weaker than mine, and I added a little honey to take away the bitterness, that we Trolls so love, but you humans seem to dislike. And I brought for each of us a honey biscuit as well ! " he told his little guest.
Alffina sipped the tea slowly at first, but when she tasted the honey she gulped it down much faster. As she was nibbling on her biscuit she looked around at the ever darkening skies.
" I will have to go home soon. " she told her Troll friend, hinting that he should finish the story he was telling.
" Yes ! You are right ! " he agreed.
" Hmm, .... let me see, .... Oh, yes ! The northern region of Ginnungagap remained cold and barren, but everywhere in the southern region that was touched by Muspelheim's radiating heat became warm and light. By the might of this great warmth the frost thawed and melted into streams and rivers. And it was within these drops of running water that life began, and it grew into the likeness of a man. This being was called Ymir by some, but the first Frost Ogres remember him as Aurgelmir. " he informed her.
Alffina grinned hopefully as she asked :
" Did he have a wife ? "
Sirik's face became very serious.
" No ! One night Ymir fell into a deep sleep, and he began to sweat profusely. Under his left arm, within this sweat, a man was born, and a woman was born on his left. And from his leg he conceived a son. All future generations of Frost Giants descend from them. " he explained to her.
Alffina frowned as she took another bite of her biscuit.
" Did the Frost Giant Ymir eat snow ? " she asked.
Sirik laughed more heartily this time.
" No ! He drank rich milk from a cow named Audhumla which appeared out of the thawing frost . " he explained.
Alffina gave the Troll a puzzled look.
" Then, .... what did the cow eat ? " she asked.
Sirik leaned forward and whispered.
" She licked the ice blocks which were salty. And by the end of the first day a man's hair appeared out of the ice. On the second the man's head could be seen. After the third day the whole man had been released from his ice womb,.... and he was called Buri. It was this " man " who would be the first of the Aesir Gods. " he happily told her.
Sirik stopped and looked up at the first bright star that appeared in the northern sky. With his mitten - like hand he reached out and patted Alffina on the head.
" Tomorrow I will tell you about the family of Buri, and how his grandsons created the earth and the heavens, .... but now it is time for you to go home little one. " he said pleasantly as he lifted the tray for her to put her empty cup on.
Alffina did not want to go, but she knew that she could not stay any longer. She gently set the silver cup upon the stone tray, and then ran up the river bank. Before leaving she stopped at the top, turned, and shouted to the Troll.
" I will come again tomorrow ! " she shouted to her new friend.
Alffina waited for Sirik to wave back at her before turning and hurrying home.
- End Chapter 4
- Next : Chapter 5 : The Tale Of The Gods
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.