Troll and Butterfly

 Trolls are just mean, nasty monsters that would shred a pretty butterfly between their long, jagged teeth just as soon as look at them ... right? Maybe. Maybe not.

Troll and Butterfly
Copyright 2008 by Heather Rose Brown

With traditional trollish patience, Chosa had been watching the tiny flower in his hand slowly opening. Even though the sunlight this far back into the tunnel entrance was rather dim compared to the blinding brilliance outside, the young troll still found himself squinting his large, expressive eyes.

Lifting the delicate blossom to a craggy nostril, Chosa took in a deep breath. Besides the damp, earthy smell of most slishastet*, he couldn't detect the mysterious scent his human friend seemed to enjoy so much. 

Chosa smiled as he thought back to his earliest memories of when the humans had found their way into some of the abandoned dwarf caverns near the troll settlement. Quite a few of his people said they were as much slishamal* as the dwarves, but enough of the council felt the humans should be judged on their own merits, which is why the settlement hadn't moved.

While contemplating the fear some trolls seemed to have of humans and regretting yet again the necessity of keeping his friendship with a human secret, something small and colorful fluttered down the tunnel and landed on the flower.   The troll ransacked his memory, trying to recall what his friend had called the the slishabstet*, until a name finally came to mind: butterfly.

"Stay very still," whispered Chosa's older brother, Bokuk. Chosa would have jumped at the unexpected sound of his brother's voice if he hadn't already been concentrating on remaining still so as to not scare the butterfly.

 "There's slisha* on your hand," Bokuk continued. "Don't worry, I'll squash it for you."

 Before his older brother could follow through, Chosa's jaws snapped closed on the butterfly and flowerhead, leaving nothing but a neatly sliced stem in his hand.

Bokuk gasped. "You ... you ate it?" For a moment, he just started at his little brother in amazement. Eventually, a chuckle rumbled deep in his chest. "You silly kid. One of these days you'll eat a slisha that makes your stomaches ache.  When you're done eating that thing, come back inside. Mother just brought home some proper food for us."

After shaking his head, Bokuk chuckled again as he lumbered deeper into the tunnel. Once Chosa could no longer hear his brother, he slowly opened his mouth and carefully removed the flower wedged between his teeth. A moment later, the butterfly fluttered from his mouth. After circling the flower a few times, it found it's way back out to the tunnel entrance.

Chosa followed the butterfly's flight path until his eyes ached. He closed his eyelids for a moment, trying to imagine what it would be like to be light enough to be able to float through the air and dance in the searing brightness of daylight.

Carefully setting the remains of the flower to the side so it wouldn't be accidently stepped on, the young troll wondered if it would last long enough to be given as a present to his friend. He smiled at the thought of the meeting, then turned to follow his brother into the welcoming shadows of home.


*Below are translations of some words I've used in this story.

 slisha: Basicly, this is something living that's soft an squishy. It's used equally for both plants and animals and is considered insulting when applied to a troll.

 slishastet: This is a word used to refer specifically to plants when trolls want to differentiate between them and other squishy forms of life. The closest literal translation would be soft-still.

slishabstet: This is a word used to specify animal life. The closest literal translation would be soft-not-still.

slishamal: This is most often used to specify dwarves, although it can also be applied to any form of life that's annoying and possibly dangerous. The closest literal translation of this word is soft-bad.


A few ideas I had about the reputation of trolls:

I see the trolls as mostly preferring to keep to themselves. For the most part, they've considered dwarves and other "squishy" things slightly repulsive, but not something really much of a big deal so long as they don't need to have much interaction with them. They've had what they considered long standing problems with dwarves. The dwarves considered the "problems" a war. 

Although a few trolls got fed up with the dwarves attacking and decided to fight back, most trolls preferred to find someplace else to move where they could find peace. Unfortunately, those trolls who chose to attack made the most noise, which gave the rest of the trolls a reputation for being violent and dangerous monsters.

Stories of trolls eating dwarves (which translated into eating humans when humans retold the dwarves' stories) are a complete mystery to trolls. Being a silicon-based life, trolls would gain almost no nutritional value from carbon-based life. To trolls, the idea of eating slisha would be comparable to how many humans view eating insects or dirt: disgusting, with the possibility of making you ill.


See even trolls can see and wonder about beauty. Very nice Heather!

I Like This Story

It takes what we have always believed about trolls and given them their own unique culture.
May Your Light Forever Shine

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