Why do children love troll stories?

Taken from the introduction to The Troll With No Heart in His Body

Trolls! When I was a child growing up in Norway, just the mention of that word sent chills down my spine. Trolls were everywhere: in the mountains, in the forests, certainly under bridges, and even in our house. One of my favorite memories is of my father, pillows stuffed under his shirt to enlarge his towering 6-foot-3-inch frame, storming into our bedroom at night roaring, “I smell the smell of human flesh!” Trolls were even in the words we used. When I was bad my mother called me “en trollunge,” a troll child. And, of course, trolls were in the stories – the stories I adored and always begged for. Now, having been a storyteller for more than twenty years, I find American children also begging for “just one more troll story.” What are trolls and why do children love them so much?

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The Importance of Folk Tales

Fairytales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Happiness is like those places in fairytales whose gates are guarded by dragons: We must fight in order to conquer it.” ~ Alexandre Dumas Pere

Most of us never really grow up or mature all that much – we simply grow taller. O, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairytales.” ~ Leo Rosten

Deeper meaning resides in the fairytales told me in my childhood than in any truth that is taught in life.” ~ Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

“In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairytales should be respected.” ~ Charles Dickens

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.” ~ Albert Einstein

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The way to read fairytales is to throw yourself in.” ~ W. H. Auden

If you happen to read fairytales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other – the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition. This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of nurserytales.” ~ G.K. Chesterton

Sometimes fairy stories may say best what’s to be said.” ~ C.S. Lewis

If you see the magic in a fairytale, you can face the future.” ~ Danielle Steel

“Every man’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” ~ H.C. Anderson.

Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairytales again.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Storytellers make us remember what mankind would have been like had not fear and the failing will and the laws of nature tripped up its heel.” ~ W.B. Yeats

Lise Lunge-Larsen — Troll expert, Dragonslayer