Krystie’s Kuriosities: Monster Under the Bridge

Krystie Morrison

kemorrison@lc.edu

 

Trolls, ogres and monsters….oh my!

We’ve all heard the fairy tales of the monsters that live under the bridge or in the forest, looking for valuables from the poor souls that they stop or, even worse, their life. But how did these stories come about? In this article we will explore the history behind these folklores and the characteristics of trolls and ogres.

 

We’ll begin with the legends of trolls. There are different origin stories about trolls depending on the region. In Scandinavian folklore, trolls were described as cave-dwellers that would live together in small families. They were considered to be very dangerous to human beings and people were told to avoid certain mountain ranges and burial grounds. As legend had it, trolls were at times described as man eaters and would turn to stone if caught in the sunlight. Scandinavian trolls were described as being very old and extremely strong. These Scandinavian trolls were considered much smaller than trolls that were thought to be found in the Norwegian areas. 

 

Just as Scandinavian folklore described trolls as dangerous and to be avoided, the same was true for trolls found in the Norwegian areas. These trolls were described as large and with human-like qualities, but also dim-witted. While Norwegian trolls could also be found in the mountains, they were more likely to inhabit caves versus the burial mounds where Scandinavian trolls could be found. 

Similar to the folklore of trolls, ogres were not far behind when it came to being described as large and dim-witted. Ogres were thought to frequent woodland settings such as forests and high mountain peaks. Despite the personality similarities between trolls and ogres, the physical characteristics of ogres differ vastly from trolls. Unlike trolls, ogres were described as large, human-like monsters. They were said to have a strong physique and a different skin tone that was often thought to be a greenish gray color. 

 

While trolls and ogres were both considered to be dangerous, ogres were considered to be more dangerous because of their insatiable taste for human beings, especially smaller children. According to legends they would roam the UK and harass the first human settlers. Just like the trolls, they were often said to hide under bridges to await the arrival of their victims.

Despite the many stories of trolls and ogres, they are just legends. Although, there are new discoveries each day about things we never thought could be possible. While trolls and ogres are just legends, it’s good advice to always be aware of your surroundings when hiking through the forest or near caves because you never know what could be lurking right around the corner or under that bridge up ahead.

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