The Troll and the Toymaker, Part 2

The Troll knew the ways of the woods.  He knew the plants and which
are best eaten and which are not.   He began to think of the
beautifully carved wooden horse and that those who chased him into the
sea must surely find such creations valuable.  The Troll found just the
vine he was after.  It had no scent or taste but, if handled, it would make one quite ill.  In his heart, he truly wished no harm, but his
mind was clouded with anger. He could not hear his heart.

He began carving all manner of
forest creatures and covering the carvings with the nectar of the
vine.  He had to use leaves of other plants to apply this nectar to protect his own hands lest he himself become ill from touching
it.  After he had made many of these wooden creatures, he filled his
bag with them and sought to make himself a disguise so he would look
more like those who had chased him away.  The Troll spun flax and made a
large weave to cover himself and to cover his head.  It was large
enough to cover his whole body so that he could stoop to be the size of
an ordinary human.  He covered his skin with white spores.  He looked
at his reflection in a pool, added more spun flax of a lighter colour
to cover his head, and was quite pleased with his disguise.  Still, he
was very wide, but he thought little of this and headed to the village
early the next morning.

The Troll came to the village and called
out in a sing song voice that he had wooden animals.  The children were very interested as the
disguised troll began to take out the wooden creations.  As the
children gathered, so did the parents.  They all admired the handy work
of this mysterious carver.  Even the Old Toymaker came to see and did
admire the creations.  When asked where did he come from, the Troll answered
in a high voice like a bird that he had come from beyond the forest. 
When asked if he had seen a troll, he said he had not.  The people of
the village hearing the high voice and the flaxen locks began to call
the troll an old woman.  The troll handed out all of the toys to the
village children and saw they were happy as they ran off to play.  The
Old Toymaker asked how the mysterious old woman had come to be such a
wonderful carver.  As the troll answered, his heart began to feel
heavy.  He knew the children would become ill from handling the toys but forced his mind to remember being chased by fire.  The Old Toymaker invited the troll to her shop, the troll became
more anxious with each step.  As he stepped inside the shop he was
amazed to see so many wonderful creations.  

It was full of
carved figures.  Some were in the shapes of animals he recognized and
some were beasts he'd never seen.  There were tools everywhere.  There
were even soft dolls that were wonderful to touch.  The troll marveled
at the wonderful creations and was unaware that with each step he was
treading upon his cloak.  With each step, his large green troll body
was becoming exposed.  The Old Toymaker was no fool and quickly
realized that this was the troll that had been chased away the previous
day.  Still, the Old Toymaker said nothing.  She only waited for the
troll to realize his cloak was on the floor.  The troll realized soon
enough and was unsure of what to do when the Old Toymaker asked what
the troll was doing with the bundle of the children's things just
before the villagers chased him into the sea.  The troll explained and
the Old Toymaker shook her head.  She knew the people of the village
were easily frightened and quick to judge.  She told the troll to put
his cloak back on and to stay in the shop.  She told him she would find
a way to help the people of the village to know that the troll was a
good soul.  Now the troll remembered the wooden toys he had given out. 
He began to feel terrible that the children could become sick because
of his anger.  He realized is folly and told the toymaker the whole
story.  She listened carefully and scolded him for letting his anger
get the best of him.  She asked if there was anything he could do.  The
troll knew what would turn back the effects of the sickening vine, but
he would need to leave quickly to make it.  They devised a plan and
the old woman quickly lead the disguised troll out of the village. 

Once
out of the village, the troll ran as fast as he could, leaving his
disguise in a hollowed tree as he could run much faster with out it. 
Trolls can run fast, very fast.  In the times of old, trolls used to
run and catch their horses by the tail.  In no time at all, the troll
had found the leafy green fragrant clump he was looking for and in no
time at all had made his special brew.  He carried it in an earthen jug
and ran to the village, putting on his cloak and flaxen locks along the way.   The
disguised Troll and the Old Toymaker called upon each of the
villagers in their homes.  Some children had began to feel ill and so
the old troll treated them with his healing brew and also took back the
toys with a promise to return them the next day.  And so it was for
each house they visited.  None of the children felt ill for long.  For
the healing worked just as the Troll knew it would. 

All the
carved toys had been accounted for and once back at the Old Toymaker's
shop, the Troll quickly began to make new toys.  He had such a joy
using the tools of the Old Toymaker and she marveled at how quickly and
finely the Troll could work with such large hands.  The Troll worked
all night until he had remade each carving.  He was particularly good
at carving horses.  The Old Toymaker suggested he rest  after each of
the toys had been redelivered.  This was good advice as the Troll had
not slept since the night before last.  After the toys were delivered, he lay down and fell into a
deep sleep.

When he awoke, the Old Toymaker told him her plan. 
He was frightened but agreed.  Shortly after, the Old Toymaker went
into the square and called all the village people.  She reminded the
village people of the troll they had chased into the sea.  She reminded
them of the bundle the Troll carried.  She explained that he was
bringing the children's belongings back and that this was evidence of
the good in him.  Many disbelieved, but the Old Toymaker persisted.  She told them
that the troll didn't die in the sea and that the troll in great anger
had come disguised as an old woman intending to do harm to the
village.  Now upon hearing this, the village people began to shout and
roar.  The Old Toymaker had much work to do in calming the crowd.  She
quickly told of the poison and the change of heart.  Still the
villagers were angry and frightened, but they could not deny the
healing brew.  The Old Toymaker spoke of the good in the Troll over and
over.  The villagers trusted the old woman, but they did not trust the
Troll.  The villagers agreed that the Troll could stay, but only under
the care of the Old Toymaker.   A few of the villagers found this
agreement too unsettling and decided to keep the toymaker's shop under
watch that evening. 

The Troll was frightened at the presence
of the watchful villagers, but the Old Toymaker just told the troll to
do his good work.  The Troll wondered what he should do.  He remember
the joy on the children's faces when he put his carvings in their
hands.  He remembered how the children especially loved the horses.  He
decided to make a horse big enough for a child to ride.  He worked into
the night.  The Old Toymaker smiled upon his diligence and persistence.  He dreamed of
children riding the horse and just what kind of movement it should
have.  In his mind's eye, he pictured the movement of the horse rocking
and rocking.  On the bottom of the horses legs he carved two large crescent moons from the front leg to the back leg, one on each side, so that the horse rocked back and forth.  By morning, he had completed
this rocking horse. 

The Old Toymaker was amazed at the Troll's
work, so finely crafted and beautiful to behold.  The villagers who had
meant to keep watch had actually fallen asleep and where startled by
the Old Toymaker as she opened her shop doors and asked the Troll to
bring out his work.  The villagers were still frightened by the troll,
but they were also amazed at this beautifully carved wooden rocking
horse.  They had never seen the like.  One of the villagers went to get
his children and they rode upon the rocking horse with
great joy.  The Old Toymaker and the Troll were overjoyed.  The
villagers slowly approached the Troll.  They asked his name.  He said
he had never had one.  The Old Toymaker suggested Horace since it was
so close in sound to the wonderful horses the troll created.  The Troll
agreed and he was called Horace from then on. 

The people came
to find Horace to be quite handy and useful in the village.  Not only
could he carve beautifully, he could also easily lift a wagon or move
any number or large stones.  Of course, as the villagers called on him
to help, they also returned favors.  A seamstress made him a fine set
of trousers and tunic.  A cobbler made him sturdy boots, although
Horace preferred to be barefoot.  And so with all the villagers it
went this way.  The people of the village had become very friendly with
the Troll now called Horace.  Horace had become very friendly with
those around him.  What made him the happiest was helping the people of
the town.  He had been alone all his life.  He had never known
companionship.  He had never known the the joy of children laughing,
but now he knew it everyday.  He made a rocking horse for every child
in the village.  He watched them rocking back and forth and holding races
with each other and laughing the whole time.  Seeing this filled his
huge troll heart full of joy.  There was no doubt in the mind of the
villagers that Horace was a good soul.  In fact, they were so
convinced, they decided to rename their village Rocking Horse
village.  The Old Toymaker was quite pleased as you know, it could have ended differently.

Times were good for Horace, the Old Toymaker, and the villagers of Rocking Horse village until some villagers had come back frightened from a trip into the forest.  A fearsome creature that was quite large, similar in size to Horace, and looked to be mostly red had chased the villagers a great distance from the forest.  Some said it was a troll, but others disagreed.  One thing was certain, the villagers were afraid for their village.  After a discussion with the villagers, Horace agreed to seek out what this thing was to get a good look at it.  He was by far the quietest and had the greatest sense of smell and sight, not to mention the largest and strongest.  However, Horace was not fearless.  In truth, he was very fearful.  Given that he cared a great deal for the villagers and that they were such great friends, he would put that fear aside and sneak into the woods to find out just what this thing was.

Part 3 coming soon…

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