Troll Magic: Hidden Folk from the Mountains and Forests of Norway by Theodor Kittlesen and translated by Tiina Nunnally
Hardcover – University of Minnesota Press – Jun 2022 – 91 pages
Across the stillness of the sprawling mountain heath, the shadow of the mighty forest falls, its wildness calling to the child in all of us. Here the Hidden Folk assemble: the stalwart little nisse, farmyard spirit and irrepressible prankster; the seductive hulder, with her crown of flowers and cow’s tail; the fiddling fossegrim, summoning the music of wind and water; and most fearsome and enchanting of all, the one-eyed troll, head high above the treetops. A veritable bestiary of Nordic folk creatures was conjured by artist Theodor Kittelsen, whose late nineteenth-century paintings and illustrations gave these macabre and magical figures their enduring forms.
In this book, first published as Troldskab in 1892, Kittelsen spins tales of wonder around creatures rumored to haunt the fields, forests, and waterfalls of Norway. Striding, gamboling, and slithering across these pages are witches and gnomes and sea monsters, fiery dragons waking from their stiff-winged slumber, mermaids rising from the deep, and the sly, shapeshifting nøkk. But first and foremost are the trolls, hapless, horrible, or just plain silly, working their spells and making their mischief to the terror and delight of the presumably human reader.
Tailoring his whimsical artistic style to each tale, Kittelsen’s stories, in Tiina Nunnally’s nimble translation, reveal a Nordic world of wonder, myth, and magic as real as the imagination allows.