"The Old Mountain Troll"
translated by Charles Wharton Stork in 1930:
The evening draws on apace now
The night will be dark and drear;
I ought to go up to my place now,
But 'tis pleasanter far down here.
Mid the peaks where the storm is yelling
'Tis lonely and empty and cold;
But 'tis merry where people are dwelling,
In the beautiful dale's green fold.
And I think that when I was last here
A princess wondrously fair,
Soft gold on her head, went past here;
She'd make a sweet morsel, I swear!
The rest fled, for none dared linger,
But they turned when far off to cry,
While each of them pointed a finger:
"What a great, nasty troll! oh, fie!"
But the princess, friendly and mild-eyed,
Gazed up at me, object of fright,
Though I must have looked evil and wild-eyed,
And all fair things from us take flight.
Next time I will kiss her and hold her,
Though ugly of mouth am I,
And cradle and lull on my shoulder,
Saying: "Bye, little sweet-snout, bye!"
And into a sack I'll get her,
And take her home with me straight,
And then at Yule I will eat her
Served up on a fine gold plate.
But hum, a-hum! I am mighty dumb,--
Who'd look at me then so kindly?
I'm a silly dullard--a-hum, a-hum!
To think the thing out so blindly.
Let the Christian child go in peace, then;
As for us, we're but trolls, are we.
She'd make such a savory mess, then,
It is hard to let her be.
But such things too easily move us,
When we're lonely and wicked and dumb,
Some teaching would surely improve us.
Well, I'll go home to sleep-a-hum!
by Gustaf Fröding (Swedish poet)
Painting by Rolf Lidberg.