The brothers were feeling rather like having an adventure this day, so they decided to hike over to the land of the Dwarves. Well, it should be said that the older brother decided on this, the younger boy just liked to tag along. As they walked along the path to the rock caverns that lead down to the domain of the Dwarves, the older brother began to tease the younger one. " What a pretty little boy you are", he said with a sly grin, "pretty like a little girl ! " " I am not ! " said the little one angrily. The eldest continued : " Your hair is too light for a boy, and your face shines like the sun itself little brother. " " Mother says you are only half a brother to me ! " , the younger boy said completely ignoring the latest insult. The eldest shot back : " Half - brother you twit ! " Pouting and holding back tears the little boy bellowed, " You are just angry because you have fire hair. " " Fire hair ? " the eldest questioned. The little one giggled and replied, " Yes it is so red it looks like a camp fire ! " The younger boy broke into laughter and started to run away as he made his bold insult, but his older brother could easily take one step to every two of the younger boys steps, so he quickly caught up to him. He playfully wrestled his younger sibling to the ground, and made him say he was sorry for insulting him.
Soon all was forgiven, and forgotten, and they continued on with their journey. Suddenly the younger boy saw the glint of the sun off of something shiny in the road, near a bridge. He ran over and picked up the heavy object off of the ground. " What is this half - brother ? " he asked. " Let me see that little one. " the older brother said with a tone of curiousity in his voice. The older brother took the object, and was amazed at what he saw. In his hands he held a beautiful, ornately engraved, shining gold warriors arm - band. The youngest asked impatiently : " What is it ! What is it ! " " It is the golden arm - band of a warrior, and a strange thing to be left lying around." the eldest replied. " I found it, and I want it back ! " exclaimed the little boy. " You are too young for a warrior' s prize, baby face." the eldest said with a more serious face. " It 's mine and I want it back ! " cried the little boy even louder.
Then from under the bridge came a grumbling sound, as though someone, or something, had just awakened. A voice then echoed as though it was far away, " It is mine ! I killed the warrior who was wearing it, " said the deep voice, " and that makes it mine ! " From under the bridge slowly emerged a large head followed by a much smaller body. Startled the boys looked at each other, then back at the creature. They had heard of Trolls but had never seen one in person. The Troll said proudly : " The warrior would not pay my toll to cross my bridge, and then he had the audacity to challenge me as well ! " He continued, laughing slightly, " He will cross no more bridges forever, that much I can tell you right now ! " He gave out a hoarse bellowing laughter, then glared at the red - haired boy who was holding his fairly won battle prize. The Troll gritted his teeth as he grunted, " Give me back what is rightfully mine ! " The elder boy smiled and replied : " Why should we ? We found it ! " The younger boy looked at his older sibling with wide eyes, and quietly said : " I think it would be best if we just give it to him ! " " No ! " shouted the older brother angrily, " I will not ! " "Then I will take it from you, and make a meal out of both of you as well ! " screamed the drooling Troll.
Fearing not the tiny boy, the Troll ran after the older red - haired boy. With his ungainly gait it was actually more of a waddling motion, that if not for the gravity of the situation would have been quite funny to observe. The older boy braced himself for the attack, his eyes glowing red. As the Troll was about to reach out for the insolent child he suddenly felt something catch his legs, and began to stumble. As he fell he saw that the younger boy, who he had lost track of, had thrown himself at his legs upsetting his balance. The Troll fell with a great thud. The elder boy quickly picked up a large rock before the Troll could recover, and with all his might, hit the Troll on the head. There was a loud cracking sound, a groan, and then silence as the Troll lay there completely still.
The younger boy was shaking and crying as he lay upon the ground. The older brother walked over to him and helped him to his feet, brushed him off, then quietly said : " Warriors do not cry. " He looked into his younger brother's eyes as he continued : " You are kind of a brave little squirt aren ' t you ! " " Lets forget our journey and go home now, we have had enough excitement for one day. " Looking at the golden arm - ring the eldest said : " By the way, you can keep the warriors ring for your bravery, my half - brother, Balder. Balder replied with a smile, " I was just kidding before. I think of you as my whole - brother, Thor ! "
Balder and Thor, the mighty sons of Odin, told and re - told the tale of their encounter with the Troll all the way back to Asgard. Each time the journey became longer, the gold - ring heavier, and the Troll larger and meaner. The two "whole - brothers" bonded on that day, and would fight side by side, in battle after battle, against Trolls, Dwarfs, Jotuns, and monsters....... some real and some imagined !
- Glenn Bergen, Copyright, 2011.