Hey, Look at the Pussycat!

Collected by K. O. Tellander in Allmogelif i Vastergotland (1891).

Many trolls used to live in Brace Hill. The hill got its name because people put braces under the cliffs to keep them from toppling on people passing below it. Once someone saw a long train of trolls marching out of the hill. When people were mowing the field,s the trolls showed up on the hill and did the same.

In earlier days the farms at Lycke lay nearer the trolls' abode, and the trolls came to Lycke more often to borrow one thing or another. But they always returned everything in good order. Christmas Eve the trolls would go to a farm and drive out the people sitting down for their meal. They would set the table with their own food and feast far into the night.

One Christmas Eve a man leading a show bear arrived. He asked for lodging. The folks answered that they did not get any rest on Christmas Eve themselves, and they told him the whole story. But the stranger said he was not afraid of any trolls, and because he asked so intently, they let both him and his bear stay.

Everybody ate early that Christmas Eve and went to bed. The stranger lay down on top of the stove with the bear in front of him. After a short while, the door opened and a troll hag entered looked around. A great number of trolls followed her in. The hag set the table, and the trolls began their feast as usual. When they had finished eating and drinking, the hag who had come in first wandered around the room, until she discovered the bear on the stove.

"Hey, look at the pussycat!" shouted the hag. "The cat shall eat. We will give the pussy some food."

And she began feeding the bear. But the man lying in back of the bear nudged it from behind and thus provoked it. It charged after the trolls, who fled in fright.

A year later, at Christmastime, the folks at the farm heard the troll hag at the window. She asked whether they still had the angry cat.

"We sure do," they answered, "and now she has seven kittens."

Then we won't dare come to you again," laughed the troll, and they ran away.